Are You Ready for Google's Over Optimization Penalty?

If you go out to an expensive restaurant and sum up your gastronomical experience as “over the top” that’s a good thing.

However, if Google looks at your webpages and determines that your search engine optimization (SEO) is “over the top” that’s a bad thing…a very bad thing. In other words, if you have been employing specific SEO strategies just for the sake of SEO, it’s likely you’re loosing valuable search engine ranking status.

But, what should you looking for? How can you change? Let’s examine the main things you need to do to make sure that you’re ready for Google’s over optimization penalty.


Let me start you out with a solid first principle: Your site should be written by real people for real people. Authentic “authorship” is critical to avoiding the over optimization penalty. Look at your pages from top to bottom and make sure that every element looks like it was legitimately written to convey information and not just pack in some keywords.

This applies to the title of your page, the headlines, the footer, every copy block and any sidebar. Over the years many SEO specialists have tried to game all of these areas on webpages. I’ve seen footers that contain something like this: “Important Searches: Where to buy cell phones? What’s the best place to buy cell phones? Sites for cheap cellphones…”

You get the idea. Avoid copy blocks inserted anywhere on your pages that are only there to hit a keyword home run with Google.

This is of course why programs like the Google +1 are important. They help identify web content that appeals to real people.

Linking Habits

In a similar way, both internal and external links need to be legitimate. SEO “professionals” have designed sites where certain pages are linked to repeatedly for really no reason at all except to create links. Google recognizes the manipulation game that’s going on here and if this has been a tactic of yours, you’re going to pay an over optimization penalty.

The same thing is true with external links. We’ve all received the emails promising boatloads of backlinks to our websites and blogs. These backlinks are placed in networks that Google has identified as having little or no real value to Internet users.

Google is also sensitive to comment span. Much of this is generated through automated software. With all the computer power Google as at its disposal, it can recognize repeated signature links and figure out that the comments to which they are attached are illegitimate.

Maybe you haven’t gone the comment spam route, but you’ve been posting with article marketing sites. These sites are basically worthless in terms of elevating your search engine placement. If the only “pay” you’re getting for submitting an article is a link, Google knows exactly the value of your content: zip.

Now, if you already have copious amounts of scurrilous backlinks out on the web, there’s probably not much you can do. But at least don’t go down that path any further.

Quality is Everything!

Finally, you need a site that is deep in content, but it has to be good content. If your site has several pages built around the same keywords and you’ really just spinning the same information over and over again, you’re going to pay a Google over optimization penalty. Feel free, no feel compelled to add content, but make sure it is solid content written for real human beings.

With these principles in mind, take a long, hard and honest look at your site. Determine if it’s written, organized and built for users or for what you used to think Google was looking for, then dig in and make the necessary changes. In the long run, you’ll be far better off.

Dean Saliba

Dean Saliba is a freelance writer, professional blogger, media enthusiast, dirty football player and huge professional wrestling fan who covers a wide range of subjects and niches including, making money online, traffic generating, pro wrestling, blog reviews, football, how-to guides, music, internet marketing and more.