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I have tried to crank back a bit to no avail but their SEO guidelines still basically tell us to do what could be causing the damage.
These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here.... Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.
I think the main problem for me may have been too many internal links using KW anchor text, which the guide tell us to do.
Think about anchor text for internal links too
You may usually think about linking in terms of pointing to outside websites, but paying more attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users and Google navigate your site better.
- using excessively keyword-filled or lengthy anchor text just for search engines
- creating unnecessary links that don't help with the user's navigation of the site
what else can anchor text helps us navigate better mean?Precisely!
Links on your page maybe internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you're linking to is about.
<a href="http://www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/articles/ten-rarest-baseballcards.htm">Top Ten Rarest Baseball Cards</a>
[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 8:43 am (utc) on Jul 17, 2012]
So i ask what does over optimizing really mean?
There is some evidence that this has gone slightly too far, in that [some SEO is] getting hit, regardless of the underlying content. But that is an inherent feature in the sensitivity/specificity [en.wikipedia.org] trade-off.