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Fixing Over Optimization Penalty

     
3:19 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So I have a client. For some subpages the title tag, h1, filename (url.com/brightshinybluewidget) , internal links (and half of external links) all have the same keyword.

And you guessed their subpages all have penalities.

The allinanchor shows them in the top 10, actual ranking is between 50-80.

So far I have changed the internal links from "Bright Shiny Blue Widget" to the more generic "Blue Widget". I have also worked on getting external links with other phrases.

I was wondering should my next step be to change the phrase in the h1 tag or change the filename (doing a 301 from url.com/brightshinybluewidget to url.com/thewidget). Or maybe something different. Has anyone experienced this and successful moved out of the penality.

9:09 pm on Sept 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The most common penalty reason I've seen is repeated the same keyword in many different anchor texts on the same page.

If you've already fixed that, plus taken all the other actions you listed above, I'd say way and find out how Google responds to just that much.

9:42 pm on Sept 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I would agree with Tedster, but emphasize the on-page de-optimization as a whole rather than 301s or even off-page but on-site changes.

Exhaust as many on-page possibilities (from keyword density to title to tags to headers, etc) as possible before moving to off page changes.

With the new Caffeine Infrastructure, you'll also be able to track these onpage change results with 24 hours.

Off page changes are both more subtle and more powerfully likely to throw off your whole "natural" balance as the allinanchor indicates.

Off page changes could actually range from
OOO (Over Over optimization) ie. forcing the same anchor text until Goog submits,
to,
the traditional diagnosis ie adding more diverse anchor text.

Very last option would be to use 301 unless you know specifically how that new page is going to rank from previous testing.

Keep us updated

2:47 pm on Sept 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is there a way to see if you got an (O)OOP?

Background: I still have one site which is optimized for "widget" and "widgets", which is gone for "widgets" but still ranking for "widget". In the last 4 month I removed "widgets" from the internal linking, from the description and from the content, so that it's only 1x in title and 1x in the content. This all helped nothing.

I then started to carefully wipe-out the external links using "widgets" as anchors, but now I think if I do more, the page will not rank for "widgets" at all because of UOP (under optimization penalty - meaning: It's not relevant enough anymore for "widgets"). By the way: The page was much more over-optimized for "widget" (which still ranks) instead of "widgets" (which got kicked back).

11:00 pm on Sept 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have a similar case: a co.uk domain with home page optimised for 'blue widget' and up to three weeks ago it ranked for more than 6 months as #1 on google.co.uk and #4-#7 on google.com for this phrase.

Then three weeks ago the domain dropped to #3 on co.uk and #78 on google.com. So we thought we must have been hit with OOP, especially as in the last couple of months we have done some link building with anchor being 'blue widget'.

However, the strange thing is that we still rank #3 on google.co.uk and that, if I search for "blue widget" in quotes, then we rank #7 on google.com.

But when searching for 'blue widget' with no quotes then we are jumping between 6th and 8th results page.

If this is OOP penalty, wouldn't then "blue widget" in quotes be penalised too? And would the site be penalised on both, google.com and google.co.uk domains? Has anyone had a case where you drop 50+ places for a phrase, but still rank fairly OK if searching for the same phrase enclosed in quotes?

11:13 pm on Sept 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I gotta say, this is one reason I'm hesitant to answer specific questions in forums.

Romerome's issue was text book OOP.

I can't say the same for you, cangoouu and aakk9999(lol is this a poker reference? love it)

I would give you two, the best, classic, most generic answer. ;)
"Get better, more authoritative links."

It's the medicine that cures all ails.

note - OOO is my term for "over over optimization" to correct OOP.
It's not a penalty.
It's a solution to the OOPenalty and should only be used under the supervision of a licensed physician. ;)

11:29 pm on Sept 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm wondering if goggle .com might have a "time in serps" algo, ie. "Been at #1 for six months, getting stale, substitute newest same widget, rotate"

Only reason I ask is most of these threads all seem to follow a similar pattern... "ranked well for six months/year, now booted".

Merely speculation as some long time #1s still remain at #1...

11:32 pm on Sept 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm wondering if goggle .com might have a "time in serps" algo, ie. "Been at #1 for six months, getting stale, substitute newest same widget, rotate"

It's more a case of #1's having some of their backlinks devalued via changes in the algo.

Especially as once one gets to the top, many webmasters are reluctant to "mess it up" and stop/reduce the same tactics that helped them gain that spot in the first place.

It's a fine balancing act.

11:34 pm on Sept 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Whiteknight, what you are saying is to keep going with 'blue widget' anchor in quality links until Google says - "Uhm.. this site really MUST be about 'blue widget'... because if it was not, they would tone that particular anchor down..."

Well.. to play the game this way I will need my aakk9999 poker hand, lol.

BTW, have you ever done this and it worked?

11:37 pm on Sept 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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BTW, have you ever done this and it worked?

:) Don't know many people who test more than i do...

Whiteknight, what you are saying is to keep going with 'blue widget' anchor in quality links until Google says - "Uhm.. this site really MUST be about 'blue widget'... because if it was not, they would tone that particular anchor down..."

Indeed, it sounds like something I might say.

2:29 am on Sept 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It's more a case of #1's having some of their backlinks devalued via changes in the algo.

Can happen to sites who depend to heavily on social media backlinks - those often seem to decay in value much sooner than links. Solution? Work for better overall balance in the backlink profile - don't be a one-trick pony.

3:01 pm on Sept 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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ok, i'm all in

tutoring in physics needed here...

12:59 pm on Sept 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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BTW, have you ever done this and it worked?

:) Don't know many people who test more than i do...

Thanks for all the insights. If you get "cured" from a OOP, is it more like an instand thing (you see the new links in google-cache and some days later you are out) or is it more like a penalty (no matter what you do, you have to stay 3 or 6 month in it)?
5:13 pm on Sept 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That depends on what kind of "optimization" was causing the ranking problem - how manipulative Google feels it was. It is possible to regain rankings right away (note, even before the cached page changes), and it is possible to see rankings start to climb back slowly and stepwise, and it is possible for release from the penalty to happen on a certain date, months later.
8:44 pm on Sept 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Are penalties applied stepwise as well or are they only released stepwise?

And is the way that the penalty is applied the same way it will release?

9:06 pm on Sept 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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sometimes also applied stepwise yes imo
11:40 am on Sept 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Just got rid of my penalty, bitter-sweet however. I thought my rankings would have returned to what they were previously or higher (considering the addition of links) but they are all over the place. Some returned but by a page down, whilst others are all the way back at page 30 (From page 1 before the penalty).

I think it is a case of google losing 'trust', as I am on page 1 for my domain name, but not at #1. (#2 or #3 infact).

What are my options? I am not sure what to do from here, build links or sit and wait?

11:45 am on Sept 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What did you do?
1:48 pm on Sept 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Changed anchor text on my backlinks, added new backlinks with anchor text I wasnt optizing for, but on topic and also removed backlinks. Got my sites back in 2 and a half weeks.

No reconsideration requests filed either.

1:56 pm on Sept 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for this information. Can you tell how much links you changed (10%? 20%?) It seems to me that 2 1/2 weeks are a pretty short time - for me, google actually needs 2-6 weeks alone to spider new links and some more days to fit them into the ranking.
 

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