How your site can get penalized by Google for over-optimization?

Earlier in March we had written an article about how Matt Cutts had warned that Google will start penalizing websites that indulged in over-optimization practices.

In this post, we will guide you through few critical points where over optimization will get your website penalized and the precautions that you should take during the optimization process.

Firstly, like they say “a book is judged by its cover”. So, it is important that your titles should be absolutely original and ‘inviting’. It is advisable not to stuff too many keywords or phrases in your titles, just to get ranking. This will only result in low click through rates.

Instead be more assertive and effective, so that users don’t think of them (your titles) as spammy, misleading and manipulative, especially if you are targeting high end and sophisticated technology customers. Hence, it would be effective to put primary keywords in your post. This will also help in bringing potential visitors to your website.

Secondly, using manipulative internal links should be avoided. That is, a lot of times, people take a particular word and use it repeatedly throughout the same bar or in the footer (inside the content). These words navigate users to the same page over and over again.

This makes the site look spammy, manipulative and the credibility is often questioned, in turn, hurting conversion rates. It should be noted that the first anchor text link counts and only one on the page is going to pass that value. Also, linking the page (of your website) which has related content (you want people to see) to the blog post will help. But, if you are keen on using anchor text, remember to make it more effective by modifying it (longer, shorter or neutral) to get same results.

Thirdly, avoid having link filled footers. Having too many links in the footer does not really help. Use your footer wisely. Use your footer for linking things that people are actually interested in seeing (useful and effective). If you really need to get anchor text on pages, find ways to modify it, to put it in the real menu at the top (in the content).

In the fourth place, get rid of any spammy blocks of text (junk) in your pages. Seriously, this is going to cost you far more than it’s going to help you. They have no purpose other than to get your keywords or some keyword into the text. It’s neither a good call to action, nor it’s helping your conversion rate; in turn, it only drives people away from you. This is dangerous for all of those reasons and staggeringly dangerous when it comes to being penalized for over-optimization. So, how will you rank, if you are not doing good to the people?

Furthermore, are you using backlinks from penalty- linked sources? This is the toughest one because it’s really hard to control if you’ve already got links from these sources. Be careful and avoid doing the following to prevent penalization:

  • Link networking
  • Comment spam
  • Automated software
  • Forum signature links
  • Reciprocal lists
  • “Article- Marketing” sites
  • SEO – focused directories

Lastly, avoid using large amounts of pages that target similar keywords with slight variations. Do not just build a bunch of spammy anchor text. Building too many pages with same or slightly modified keywords will only leave users thinking, that there is something fishy, something manipulative. This kind of thing will surely get you into trouble.

So, all you webmasters and SEOs, we hope, with these points you will be more diligent so that penalization can be avoided. And don’t forget to leave observations & comments below!