Avoid Over Optimizing Your Site For Google

This article is guest posted by David Nance.

Up until recently, most people would try to optimize their sites as much as possible to try and jockey their sites to the top of the search engines. While this may have worked for a while, it has recently been announced that Google may actually penalize you for “over-optimizing” your sites. In March of 2012, Matt Cutts, who works in the search quality group at Google, announced at South by Southwest that Google is trying to level the playing field somewhat by people who are over-doing SEO.

While this may be a frustrating announcement for many SEO companies or people who are well-versed in SEO, this was to be expected. Since the beginning, Google has always stated that they want to have the best search engine in the world. And because of this, they are constantly reworking their algorithms to only rank sites that have quality content associated with them. Now let’s take a further in-depth look at this over-optimization penalty and find out the best ways to avoid it.

What Type of Penalties Come Along With Over-Optimization?

Unfortunately, instead of simply dropping in the rankings like many sites did after the Panda update, if you are accused of over-optimization, your site will be de-indexed from Google entirely. In effect, this is the same as the popular Google “sandbox” where bots stop crawling your site and you are completely invisible to the search engine.

How Do You Know If You Have Over-Optimized Your Site?

There are plenty of factors that determine whether or not a site has been over-optimized but if you’ve done plenty of white hat linking or had your site ranked by a professional company, then you should be entirely fine. Google is using this penalty to go after those who have engaged in far too many black hat tactics.

Here are some of the strongest signs that would lead Google to de-index your site:

1. Domain name is the keyword you are ranking for: While this won’t automatically de-index your site, it looks entirely too spammy to Google

2. Duplicate Content: This is somewhat of an old SEO rule but Google hates seeing duplicate content on your site.

3. Too much keyword density: The general rule when utilizing keyword density is to never go over 2-3%. If you’re trying to rank for a keyword and are shoving the same one inside the title, description, meta tags, heading, and body tags, you are doing it completely wrong.

4. Too many backlinks using the same url: People used to get away with this dirty trick in the past but Google has quickly caught on. If you’re linking to the same main URL using the same keyword text, you are playing with fire. In order to look great to Google, trying building natural and organic backlinks with unique variations of anchor text

5. Non-Creative Content: This relates back to the duplicate content rule in that you should never ever do it. So many new website creators make the silly mistake of copying all of their information from Wikipedia and slapping that into an article. Google’s bots can see that this information has been copied and won’t give your site a higher ranking because of this.

What do I do if I am Penalized?

If your site has been penalized and you have lost all traffic, the first thing to do is to try and see if you’ve committed any of the mistakes listed above. Keep in mind that the ones listed are only some of the most important factors but there are hundreds of different factors that Google will look at.

If you believe that your site has been wrongly penalized or if you have seen the mistakes you have made and have fixed them, you can submit a request to Google for them to reconsider adding your site back to their search engine.

Is SEO Dead Now?

For those marketers that are ready to hide in a corner and cry, SEO is nowhere near being dead. Google’s updates are simply created to weed out the sites that provide no valuable content and those that were ranked using black hat tactics. By providing great quality content and following proper SEO practices with your site, your site should be entirely fine and you may possibly see a jump in the rankings for your site as the bad sites become de-indexed!

This article was written by David Nance for the team at 522 Productions, who are committed to helping your business shine through the use of Internet and social media.

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  1. says

    Yes, SEO is not an easy job these day’s. You have to be very careful while optimizing any website. Over optimization can also be a reason your website lose ranking in search engine. You have mentioned almost all points in this post. Thanks..

  2. Adrian says

    Why is it that in the keywords I’m trying to rank for I see sights in the top ten that break most of these rules, especially the first three. I just checked again and almost all of the top ten sites do this. It’s hard to believe that Google is applying this consistently.

  3. Maekel says

    Hi! I’m a warriorforum member (I invite you there)…somehow you have a point but I completely disagree with some of your views more specifically below…it’s still working.

    “If you’re trying to rank for a keyword and are shoving the same one inside the title, description, meta tags, heading, and body tags, you are doing it completely wrong.”

    SEO is a guessing game. That’s all!

  4. says

    Nice article here. Yes knowing the realities makes us net marketers worry more on SEOs effort. Make the wrong move and we may get what we dont want. Thanks anyway.. nice blog :)

  5. says

    Great post. I am glad that I have nothing to worry about because I am not a fan of blackhat search engine optimization techniques anyway. I used to have an automatic article submitter. I do not even use that anymore. I rather submit my blog to article directories manually that is simply the best policy. Thanks for sharing. Really informative article. I think blackhat techniques are okay for people who do not care about rankings and free traffic. I think bloggers can not afford that because we rely on rankings.

  6. says

    People are still spinning their articles to thousands of blogs or forums and not knowing the consequences of their action. When i started i was one of them because this internet guru said it was the right thing to do well maybe back then.

    But Google is right punish the greedy and reward the good and honest.
    Frank Z.

  7. says

    The title says it all. It’s definitely a mistake when website owners and bloggers optimise their site for search engines. It only results to a robotic and inorganic presence that Internet browsers will detect right away.