#Stop #Optimizing #Everything #Please

I said it as a joke the other day on Twitter:

I got a lot of funny (and mostly appreciative) responses.

Then I realized I wasn’t joking.

#It #is #annoying #when #you’re #so #concerned #about #search #optimization #that #your #content #becomes #illegible.

Not to mention so transparently optimized to the point where your content, however valuable, is perceived as self-serving.

“Great news! OMG! I have discovered the cure for cancer!” looks and sounds a lot more genuine than “#discovery #innovation #news #cure #cancer !”

The people who read your content want to be treated as peers, not receptacles.  If your content is truly great it shall be shared and found, regardless of how well you’ve optimized for the search engines.

Posted on: October 26, 2012 at 10:38 am By Todd Defren
20 Responses to “#Stop #Optimizing #Everything #Please”


  • Hashtags can be relevant to your topic, and help you reach beyond your followers – in fact, #hashtags are powerful on over 45 social networks and even places to sell, like ebay, etsy, and istockphoto. At RiteTag, we call this #SSO: social sharing optimization. And we hope you’ll look at http://www.ritetag.com – a bootstrapped startup and tool that I founded.

    RiteTag lets you search words to get tags that reach topic-following people, those interested in your blog posts, videos, artwork, photographs, and even offers in eBay and Amazon, shows you the when, who, how many times, and what in the content that has been tagged with a tag related to your query, and lets you do a few more things as well. RiteTag is not an SEO tool, its a SSO “social sharing optimization” tool: for optimizing your content in social media to reach more, with relevancy.

    G+ Hangout and let me demo RT for you soon?
    Google+: http://iplus.im/saul

  • Ashley Moon says:

    This is a great post! I agree LESS is MORE. Trying to decipher lengthy hashtags takes away from the real message the Tweet is trying to convey. As a PR student, this article was fantastic! Thanks for pointing out that you should treat your readers like peers and that SEO, although important, does not need to be the only goal of a Tweet and your message, most importantly, needs to be heard.

  • THANK YOU for this post. I cannot agree with you more about the over hashtagging of posts. Not only does it make them annoying, you’re only going to get one shot and making me want to read the rest of your 140 character message. NO WAY will I spend more time than I have to reading junk posts with too many tags!

  • Luke says:

    I do kind it really annoying when you see people actually putting a hashtag infront of EVERY word in their Tweets, makes it quite hard to read. A limit of one hashtag wouldn’t do very well for me, where I use hashtags such as #technology in all my tweets.

  • Rachel says:

    I completely agree with this post. I have tried multiple time myself to use twitter and I have steered away from it for this exact reason. With individuals, I feel as if they are only trying to get attention. That is fine by me because all individuals do want is a little bit of attention. But still there is no need to hashtag every word. As for corporations, it feels as if they are just pushing content on their followers. From what I have seen from twitter, it is very refreshing to see a tweet that has absolutely no hashtags. It seems as if an individual is just sharing information with another individual with no ulterior motives.

  • Jennifer says:

    It was so refreshing to read this post. I encounter so many people, both personally and professionally, that overuse hashtags. Before I even begin to read a tweet or look at a photo, if there is an surplus of hashtags scrambled over the screen, I won’t bother with it. #lessismore.

  • Olivia says:

    No surprise here– I agree, too. It’s easy as a journalism student to overlook the simplicity of Twitter and a hashtag. I think we need to look at it just as the offenders do; What is the purpose of a hashtag?

    I remember when I first got Twitter I had no idea what I could and could not hashtag. It almost seemed foreign. How do you know what to hashtag? Most people don’t take the time to see what Twitter has to say about it, nor any other online source. #AndThusWeGetThisMess #Oh #My. I like to stick with no more than two hashtags per tweet for the sake of clutter and 140 characters.

  • I totally agree with this post and get really annoyed when every word in a post is a hashtag. Before I got into PR I was a TV news reporter and lamented last week that I am surprised that I was able to cover natural #disasters and #breakingnews such as #hurricanes without #hashtags. But somehow, the news still went on without hashtags back in the day.

  • Maggie HIlty says:

    I could not agree more. Using hashtags as a tool for searching has a time and a place. The overuse of hashtags makes me want to skip over your tweet completely. Not only is it hard to read, but incredibly self-serving. Your line “if your content is truly great it shall be shared and found” could not be more true. People will find your content with only one hashtag versus 50.

  • Casey Liu says:

    The title grabs my attention right away. It is true that many people overuse hashtags these days. It makes the sentence chunky and also makes it hard to read. So I think limited hashtags per tweet is a good idea.

  • I’ll admit, I do have a hashtag problem. Mostly in speech – where hashtags aren’t recognizable by search engines – but I find them comical. On Twitter, they are incredibly useful for bringing people together during events: at a conference, a Twitter chat or even during natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Twitter recommends using no more than 2 hashtags per tweet, and generally, I stick to that rule, but I had accepted the hashtag as a natural ‘punctuation’ of a tweet, like a comma or apostrophe in writing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and leading me to re-evaluate my usage.

    Have a good day, and I hope your NY staff are recovering well.

    • Joe says:

      I understand the importance of optimizing a web-site, but I guess I’m too much of a newbie at Twitter to understand the full relevance of so many hashtags. Is the idea just to get as many followers as possible?

  • Great post, Todd. It’s the little things that seem to drive us crazy!

  • too funny- and I always feel guilty right after I hit “tweet” that i didn’t include enough hashtags!

  • Great content will always find its way to users regardless of whether it has been optimized for search engines or not.

  • Thomas Maynard says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I am a senior in college and this is an epidemic among my peers. Every tweet and even Facebook post is filled with unnecessary hashtags.

  • Alex McClure says:

    I completely agree. Over use of hashtags defeats the purpose when the hashtags become the focus of the tweet rather than your actual message. With only 140 characters to use, wasting half of them on hashtags means that you are losing content. Getting a strong message out is the most important part. Your last sentence sums it up perfectly, if your content is truly great it will be shared and found, it will not be because you used seven hashtags.

  • Daniel says:

    Amen. When publishing tweets as a professional or on behalf of a group I limit my message to one hashtag most often. Two in case of emergencies – or a punchline.

    • Stacia Baguio says:

      Twitter content should be about generating conversations and making connections. A sea of hashtags just alerts me that there really isn’t much of value to the content of the tweet. It seems pretty obvious that the tweeter is trying to optimize search engine opportunities -even though Twitter isn’t even known as the best platform to maximize SEO. I like the two hashtag per tweet rule myself.

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