Google Over Optimization Penalty

Google Over Optimization

Over Optimization has been the recent craze of those who were unfortunate enough to be hit by this Google algorithm change. It’s not an easy thing to deal with over optimization. So how do you get back on track once you’re hit by Google?

Black hat has gone a bit further

Over Optimization has just been added to the list of ‘don’t do’s’ by Google. I thought only black hat techniques were placed in this category but obviously now that is no longer the case. Even natural, white hat SEO now has a fine line that it cannot cross. That line is named just enough optimization.

Seriously, you can no longer be aggressive in your SEO to be good. Things are going to slow down from here on for Google to pass over your site and let your SEO grow.

The Factors Behind Over Optimization

Over Optimization is optimizing your website far beyond how it would be naturally done so in an off-page perspective. It is a content-quality check to enforce the Panda update.

The defining, common factor is an ‘if statement’. If your website does not have quality content AND:

  1. You have a lot of exact-match Anchor Text coming into your website – signaling unnatural link building
  2. You are practicing Obvious Link Exchange – link exchange pages already signal spam to Google. Setting up a link exchange page is a no-no. Right now, in-content link exchanges are the best way to go.
  3. Your website has a Fast Link Acquisition Rate – again, signaling unnatural link building
  4. Your Social Signals vs Links Ratio is far from each other – if there are a lot of links coming in, there should be people coming in from those links. If those links are quality, the people coming in from there should most likely engage in a social activity in your website. If your social signals are not consistent with your links, there must be something wrong.

“It’s widely believed that keyword stuffing and link exchanges are already spam signals in Google’s algorithm, so either Google intends to ratchet up the amount of penalty or dampening that those spam signals merit algorithmically or they have new over-optimization signals in mind as well,” – Matt Cutts

Perhaps Over Optimization can be simplified to optimizing your website for the search engines rather than for people.

The bottom line is, a site can only be considered over optimized if it is filled with SEO techniques – whether good or great, and the content does not live up to the site’s SEO level.

“All those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.” – Matt Cutts

One thing’s for sure

Over Optimization PenaltyIf you have great, quality content that focuses on people and not search engines, you have nothing to worry about.

Here are 23 guidelines from Amit Singhal to ask yourself in verifying content that the Google Panda Update will consider ‘quality’

  1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  5. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  6. Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  7. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  8. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  9. How much quality control is done on content?
  10. Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  11. Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  12. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  13. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  14. For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  15. Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  16. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  17. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  18. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  19. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  20. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  21. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  22. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.