Senior Member from GB
joined:Aug 11, 2008
very prominent SEO tools
Yeah, tools don't really work. They were predicated on "rules" that have not been true for a very, very long time.
Google is not running a ranking competition, whereby the cleverest optimisers win as long as they don't get caught breaking ill-defined rules. All tools, and many webmasters, work on the premise that this is exactly what google is / should be doing.
Google doesn't strictly care about your attempts at optimisation. What they care about is returning the best results for a query (as modified by Google's assumptions about the user - AKA query intent). SEO tools ignore this, and treat everything like a ranking competition. Using them is not likely to give you actionable information on improving your site, although they may stop a newbie from making horrific mistakes.
In general, hard penalties no longer exist, except for extreme manipulation (which typically cannot be an oversight, or otherwise "by accident").
Conceptually, my experience of Google and optimisation has changed over the last few years- as Panda, Penguin RankBrain propagated through the index and matured. I'm sure it did not really work like this, but in the early Panda days it was as if Google did one pass of the index to find the sites that appeared
to satisfy the query, using the secret-sauce algo. Then it did a second pass of that subset for evidence of manipulation, using signatures or pattern matching from known manipulators, and deducted points for pattern-matches. This caused a number of consequences, including that professional SEOs got hit, because they all used the same conventional wisdom about "making a site rank".
These days, it seems more like "tricks" do not work- which could be either they get detected at indexation and so do not ever give you a boost to start with, or that the second-pass anti-manipulation process is better calibrated.
I'm rambling so will just conclude; H1-Title matches are the sort of easy win that purveyors of FUD can use to convince you that they know what they are taking about. Their product needs to have a perceived value, or they will cease to exist. A large percentage of UGC sites will have matching H1-title with no ill effects. A reasonable percentage of CMS tools will do the same by default. Many times, hand-crafted pages will naturally match. All of these cases are valid examples of why a blacket "penalty" would be ludicrous.
Put the SEO tools away!