---- A close look at what over optimization really is
deadsea - 3:04 pm on Apr 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
What are your thoughts about the over-optimization signals that Rand Fishkin suggested in his whiteboard friday today?
Keyword stuffing in titles (gives an example with three similar phrases each repeating the same word)
Exact match anchor text on all internal links.
Blocks or links of internal links, especially in the footer and colored to be non-obtrusive.
Text content on pages written only to introduce keywords
Bad backlink profile
Multiple similar pages targeting synonyms (user cars seattle, used autos seattle, preowned cars seattle)
In my opinion:
#1 Keyword stuffing titles hasn't been effective for years, maybe google will start penalizing for it, but I haven't seen a benefit from it for long enough that I don't see many people doing it now.
#2 Was an issue for a local site that I was working on a few years ago. People searched for "<city> <service>" eg (seattle widgets) but on the website when you were in the context of the city it made no sense for users to use the city in the link anchor text. Some of the SEO advice we got was that exact match anchor text was so important on internal links that you should be putting the city name in every link. Very repetitious and spammy looking. Google could get some mileage out of penalizing sites that hurt users like this for seo gain.
#3 Blocks of links seem to be a necessity on large sites to get the entire site crawled. I know that users don't use them much, but I think they help googlebot crawl the site enough that Google can't live without them. I was told by Yahoo many years ago that they saw any list of links with more than 10 elements as spammy. I would hope that Google would try to look at whether blocks are site wide, what the colors are, how prominent the links are and such to make a determination rather than just penalize for this across the board. I also suspect that Google already started penalizing for large lists of links (or at least discounting their effectiveness) in 2008.
#4 I'm not sure how Google would write an algorithm to detect that a particular block of text isn't written for users. They may penalize too much keyword repetition in the body. They certainly already user user satisfaction metrics to try to determine that a site isn't pleasing search visitors.
#5 Bad backlink profiles already have so many penalities on them, I'm not sure how much more Google would be able to do in this area.
#6 Multiple similar pages seemed to be a signal in Panda already. Maybe Google will start rolling out specific penalties for this. The fact that they are penalizing for this is one of my pet peeves. If you ask me, one page per keyword was a great way of telling Google what you wanted to rank for. Users got a very customized landing page with exactly what they were looking for. On your site it didn't hurt useability if you did it right: users wouldn't even know you had multiple pages targeting similar things. The only drawback to it was that the SERPs were getting very similar with many of the top results having titles that completely matched the search.