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Saturday, March 31, 2012

On 10:03 PM by Roderick Allan Baylon
Google's Over-optimization Penalty

Google recently announced the impending launch of their new "Over-optimization" penalty for websites. This penalty will ensure that Google's results will not only be relevant but the listed sites will have great and unique content.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become highly competitive and some SEO professionals and webmasters have been overdoing their websites' optimization.  Sites with poor content but over-optimized are easy to spot. Keywords stuffed in their websites' Title, Meta Description text, Meta Keyword text, and body content are what I'd call "over the top".  For example, I saw an Indian Web Development company website with a Title that is like a kilometer long or something. =)

Even checking the footer links becomes a dead giveaway.  I've seen a lot of corporate SEO sites with footer links that linked internally or to the home page using questionable links. An example is a site with the text "SEO Asia", "SEO China", "SEO Philippines", "SEO Vietnam", etc. but actually it's an Indian SEO company.

Others buy a lot of keyword-relevant URLs and redirect all of these URLS to one single website.

Jeez... I hope your sites are not one of these questionable sites.

Anyway here's my short list of tips on how not to "over-optimize" for Google:

  1. Avoid keyword stuffing - Use a short and content relevant Title text with about 70 characters or less. Your website's Meta Description text should be readable to a human and is formed in complete sentences. Your web page's body content should have about 3% to 7% keyword density to be on the safe side.
  2. Don't use duplicate content - Content on your site's pages should be unique. Don't create similar pages on the same site or don't link to a site with similar content. Check for duplicate content on other sites using an online checking tool.  If you notice that another site has copied your content or worst copied your whole website (Happened to me before!), report this duplicate content issue to Google immediately.  
  3. Don't use hidden text and/or doorway pages - Some sites employ these "black hat" techniques thinking that they can escape Google's ranking algorithm.  Your site might escape Google but can you escape this? Google Webspam Report
  4. Don't highlight all keywords with Bold or Strong tags - Use Bold or Strong tags only on important keywords but use it only on every unique occurrence.  Don't highlight every keyword or key phrase.
  5. Stay away from the "Dark Side" - This is a no-brainer.  Why would you try to trick Google into ranking your site highly thru "black hat" methods?  The long-term penalty on your website far outweighs the benefits of short-term keyword rankings.
Finally, just continue on publishing quality content and follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines and Google will notice your site and rank it accordingly.