Companies looking to use organic search as a way of boosting their online profile have been warned of the dangers of "over-optimisation".

Writing on Search Engine Watch, Eric Enge said sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo! consider a variety of factors when ranking pages, including spam detection.

In some cases, sites that have been over-optimised – by for example having key phrases repeated in identical page titles and subheadings – can actually fall down their listings because they appear to be using "keyword-stuffing practices" associated with the old days of online marketing services.

Websites could also look over-optimised to a search engine if they have large blocks of keyword-filled text below the fold or content that is crammed with key phrases, which looks bad to the user.

To avoid falling into this trap, marketers should focus written content at the user and instead concentrate on maximising conversions.

"There’s little reward – and possibly even a negative penalty – for doing too much to try and support ranking for a particular key phrase," Mr Enge wrote.

In his My Small Business column for the Sydney Morning Herald, David Wilson said using blogs that naturally incorporate keywords can be a "great rankings booster".

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