Tonearm - 9:50 am on Apr 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
How on earth do you tell whether you have an OOP or you're just ranking in your rightful place?
What exactly does an Over Optimization Penalty look like to you guys?
I'm struggling with the same questions. For competitive terms, my site's pages rank across the board from bad to truly stellar. My site has been online for longer than I've been a member here and, based on my stellar rankings, I seem to have earned a lot of trust from Google. On the other hand, many of my pages rank much lower for less competitive terms than other pages do for more competitive terms.
I have keywords in the URL, title, h1, and (sparse) on-page text, but not moreso for my low-ranking pages than for my high-ranking pages and it's not to the point of stuffing or spam. I have not spent a single moment on any kind of link building except for acquiring a DMOZ link many years ago.
One aspect of my site I've been suspicious about for a while is the way I display subcategories and products. Multiple subcategory display pages have up to 30 text links like "Green Widgets, Round Widgets, etc" and multiple product display pages have no anchor text but do have up to 30 text snippets like "Tall Green Widget, Short Round Widget, etc".
I'm not sure if I should remove all of the anchor text and text snippets and turn them into images, or if I should only remove the offending nouns such as "Widgets" and "Widget". A third option would be to remove the nouns and turn the remaining anchor text into regular text. Which way do you think I should go with this?
After I make the change, what should I expect from Google? Will there be a temporary drop in rankings, and if so, how far and for how long?