crobb305 - 8:32 pm on Apr 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
Most websites are over optimized from the birth
This is true. And for older sites that have never really tweaked their title, many backlinks over the years utilize the title as anchor. I am finding that over and over as I go through my backlinks, studying the phrases I have been penalized for. The phrases appear in my homepage title and as the anchor text many in bound links. Maybe tweaking the titles to reduce exact match will help?
Furthermore, one thing I am seeing is that other webmasters in my industry tried boosting their site quality by linking to other quality resources (we've all heard that linking to quality sites can help your ranking; and when done properly, it's true). Unfortunately, in some cases, these webmasters linked to sitewide in a blogroll or "Resources" section. This doesn't appear to be malicious in anyway. It just so happens now those links may appear unnatural. What I am talking about is completely different from the speculation of malicious negative SEO. Quality websites will deliberately link out to other quality websites, but sometimes they aren't done properly (based on our speculative view of "natural"). I see this most on the handful of competitive phrases that I have been penalized for. I am not penalized on longtails -- just certain one or two-word phrases. Now the unnatural links that I am responsible for, I have been able to contact some of the webmasters, but thousands of links I have no control over. I'm just worried that natural, unsolicited links that were done improperly (sitewie) could be hurting some of us.