1script - 3:02 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
As if it ever stopped them from implementing whatever change they see fit to their algo or from handing a penalty to a site of their choosing. If there might be a reason something is done or not done by Google, we have to look at what purpose it serves for Google, and not whether it makes a logical, moral, political etc. sense. I would also assume that in any large system there are things that the engineers want the system to do and things that the system actually does and they are not 100% the same. In other words, "insane" does not make it "not true".
they've effectively put anyone selling boiler plate documents, or giving them away for that matter, out of business
In the spirit of "everything is possible" I'd like to throw an idea in the hat to see if anyone thinks it makes any sense: it seems that the theory that over-optimization for a keyword leads to the page no longer ranking for that keyword also seems "insane" (see above !== false) to me.
Almost every CMS in existence (certainly WP) has an option to "prettify" URLs. Meaning , if the page is about "blue widgets in the morning", its URL would have some kind of a combination of the words "blue widgets in the morning", like www.example.com/blog/archive/blue-widgets-in-the-morning/
URL of the page is by far the most common way to link to it. So, your anchor text is guaranteed to have in most instances the exact title, which, if you gave the title any thought, would be a short summary of what the page is about. If you wrote the page well (not for SEO, for clarity) it would most likely have "blue widgets in the morning", "blue widgets", "morning widgets" and all sorts of combinations thereof. This sounds exactly like the over-optimization people at talking about ever since Penguin.
It seems "insane" to me to presume that this type of straight forward and benign use of keywords very important to the page (alas, it's about that exact subject) in links, title, h1 and in the text would lead to automatic demoting of the page to the back of the queue. This approach (pretty URLs) has been in use for about a decade now and is incredibly wide-spread. Penalizing it seems to be exactly opposite to Google's own interests (keeping SERPs relevant so people come for more).
So, is this another example of (insane !== false) or am I not seeing something obvious in the case against over-optimization?