4 Keys To Benefiting From Google’s Over Optimization Penalty

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4 Keys To Benefiting From Google’s Over Optimization Penalty

Google Turns The Slap-Stick
on Heavy SEO Abusers

A couple of months back, I raised the question of whether the biggest non-content quality factors in SEO were about to change…

If you didn’t read “3 Google SEO Changes Rattle SEO Experts & Bloggers Alike!” you really should… it’s highly relevant to where the industry is going today.

Understanding those changes is the key to understanding why Google’s newest announcement was both expected and celebrated!

Google has now announced that it will soon be penalizing those individuals who are making excessive use of heavy-handed SEO tactics.

This information comes from a SXSW conference session and the audio recording is available here. This is a sharp change from 2009 when they insisted over-optimization was safe.

This is of course leading to a lot of crazy blog posts on all sorts of tangents… but let’s look at what’s important!

A quote I made in the prior post is deeply reflected in this change:

“It seems that Google may have finally realized than much of the best content is produced by writers, not link builders”

4 Ways The Over-Optimization Penalty Affects You!

bullet #11. No negative penalty for the average SEO using blogger. It’s important that we first understand that the penalty being discussed is for the “worst-of-the-worst” heavy-users. I estimate that I personally know four people who will be impacted and these people already knew they were toeing the line. But don’t, however, be going around doing known no-no’s such as using extreme keyword density and artificial tactics.


bullet #22. SEO remains important for bloggers and content creators but what changes is the degree of emphasis and amount of money thrown around needed to rank well today vs “old school” SEO tactics. If you’re SEO’ing your blog it’s still a good thing. All of the basic SEO foundation skills you have learned for your blog go right on working. (In fact, Google is currently more dependent on “schema” and “video sitemaps” and other whiz-bang than it was a year ago. Don’t let this fool you into thinking SEO is dead.


bullet #33. Quality Content PLUS relationship building remain in lock-step as the driving factors of SEO. Nothing else matters if your content sucks. Get the content right, unique, fresh and awesome and build a community around it. You can never ever go wrong writing kick ass content and you can never go wrong building relationships with people who are looking for you!


bullet #4

A variety of new social signals are now highly important (but they’re not just the backlink, backlink, backlink) of the old days. While backlinks remain important so to do social signals (pluses, likes, tweets), social influence (your social network on Google+), site speed, site navigation, high quality unique branding and more. What’s changed is that these are not things that are easy to throw money at (except speed & branding art) and expect to win unlike the old days of buying thousands of backlinks.


Google is working very hard to begin to, bit-by-bit, level the playing field for the average person that produces kick ass user experience.

They’re doing this because their ability to produce quality search results for their visitors (people searching) depends on it. These changes are slow but cumulative and when adding this to the ad-heavy penalty and the “Panda” algorithm stuff are beginning to move things in the right direction.


SearchEngineLand made a paraphrased transcription of the important part of Matt Cutts (head of Google SEO) speaking in the audio…

Fountain Pen, representing an author or writerWhat about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.


Google does not hate SEO or SEO users – it simply hates spammers and I agree!

I personally call this change a win!

Have you been impacted by the changes in Google’s algorithms in either direction? Have you taken the time to work through setting up verified authorship through Google+? How do you feel these three things impact the average Google search visitor?

Look forward to sharing your thoughts below and thanks in advance for the tweet, like and plus love!

~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing

PS: If you haven’t already read it, be sure to bop over and check out “3 Google SEO Changes Rattle SEO Experts & Bloggers Alike!


Other Related Links:

* Over-Optimization vs Optimization (via Yoast.com)
Stop Over-Optimizing SEO on Your Blog! (via Blondish.net)
* To SEO or not to SEO? Who are you kiddin’ (via OnlineIncomeStar.com)

* Search Engines vs Humans: Who Do You Work for? (via TrafficGenerationCafe.com)

* Is An Over-Optimization Penalty Coming For You? (via OutspokenMedia.com)

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  1. says

    I also totally agree with the new algorithm change of Google. Many people rely too much on SEO and they still have good rankings with poor content. This is really not fair for average SEO bloggers.
    This will benefit both searchers and normal bloggers, so people should stop complaining about it.

  2. says

    Kim thanks for the heads up on more SEO changes, just when I think I got it down! Just having changed the url on the site I haven’t noticed too much of a difference either way but I am grateful that I have a heads up on what direction they are going and trying to give the smaller and regular bloggers a chance to reach some SEO goals out of the millions of site on the internet!

    Thankfully I have had a great teacher….YOU! Thanks for all you do Kim!

    “Dream, Believe, Become…”

  3. Kenny Fabre says


    key umber three is super important, quality content is the most important factor to profit from the search engines and website visitors

  4. says

    This update is what we all needed to keep posting quality content, without worrying about spammers. Nevertheless, I will continue to do on-page optimization as before, taking into account I use only white hat techniques. I just hope that the sites with quality content will benefit from these changes.

  5. says

    It’s true that SEO can benefit your website in many ways, but that doesn’t mean you should abuse it. There are other strategies you can use in order to rank for a keyword.

  6. says

    Yeah, it feels good that those real spammers are fought back now. I hated when I had to close my comment section depending on thousands of spam comments a day!

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us, Recently my site was affected by Panda update and i was badly in search of way out. Hope your tips will help me improve my blogs condition.

    • says

      Hey Jim, glad I could help. On a side note, I’m not sure if it might be something you’re interested in but I just bought a copy of this yesterday and it looks geared towards your Panda situation. I haven’t read it yet so can’t really say (nor do I have a site to test it on) but thought you might be interested.

  8. says

    Yes! If one buys backlinks from cheap backlinks provider he may be the victim of Google panda Update 3.4 or the upcoming one. I always try to build backlinks through guest posting and commenting.

  9. says

    Hi Kim,

    I believe that if you provide high quality articles that your readers want to read, you won’t be penalized by Google. Can you explain better what you mean heavy-handed SEO tactics? Thanks.

  10. says

    Thanks so much for sharing the logic behind these changes Kim. From what you’ve shared, and what little I’ve read elsewhere (other than “the sky is falling” theatrics) leaves me feeling pretty positive about the changes for the long haul.

  11. says

    I have full commitment with the variable behavior of the algorithm but It is my experience quality base contents always keep your site ranking consistent.

  12. says

    HI Kim,

    As always, you give so much content in your posts. I just took a look at some of my ranking keywords on Google and strange things are happening. Day to day I see wild swings in ranking positions. One day my videos rank at the top, then a day later my website has first position.

    It really is getting crazy with so many things you can do now.

    On the other hand it would be lovely to see those pages stuffed with keywords and no content except affiliate links off the google map! They are really annoying.

  13. says

    I also do some SEO stuff and hearing about this over-optimization penalty alarmed me a little. On the second thought however, I realized I have nothing to worry about. I can consider what I do as only average SEO so no problem. And the points you’ve discussed here made me feel even better and relaxed.

    • says

      You’re spot on Rai, as long as you’re in the average box – and not doing anything that is blatantly against the rules like buying links or using link networks – this change actually HELPS you!

  14. says

    Hey Kim,
    Since the market is really very competitive so more businesses are using lot of artificial tactics to rank higher. This is really a great news that Google realized this and start penalties for wrong doer. Thanks for sharing.

  15. says

    I’m with you Kim….

    Really interested to see how all this pans out over the coming months. We’re part of the ‘Google S’ENGAGE avec les Agences’ in France and certainly when it comes to local search and the mobile web Google are all abut serving up relevant content to the user.
    This a good thing as you point out :)

    After all no one ones to be served up a pile of crap unhelpful results when they’re are staving hungry and searching for a local restaurant on their mobile phone with only an hour to eat and get back to a meeting do they?
    {Or is that just me that looses their sense of humor when hungry?!!}

  16. says

    I know that I think this is definitely a good step in the right direction, especially as you said for the real and everyday blogger that has great content and great engagement versus the spammers. I find a lot of people still are not familiar with SEO other than very basic information, but never why and what are best practices.

  17. says

    Yep, the changes they’re making are most likely a wonderful thing for legitimate marketers and bloggers I suppose. Considering that people who look for shortcut and attempt to SEO crappy content won’t succeed, just means another layer of fat cut down for us.

    Quality, quality, quality.

  18. Julie says

    These are really good news! Google must have rationalized that the optimization helps people to find what they are searching for, and that fits into the company’s goals. These processes could work in symbiosis and help each other.

  19. says

    This is really a great thing. Google is opening up and leveling the playing field. this is going to make the quality of blogging more important to get rank and will week out those who are always attempting to win by short-cuts. Thanks, Kim, you have once again brought to the reader’s attention that good content will win.

  20. says

    I agree too, so much content that is utter rubbish, the fact that it looks like a 6 year old wrote it bothers me the most, the content wont always be informative too me and peak my interest but making flowing sentences, spelling and grammar is important too me. I have read about googles penalty, but most of the posts regarding people that have experienced it are from many years ago, do they still do it?

  21. says

    “It seems that Google may have finally realized than much of the best content is produced by writers, not link builders” – more likely this will happen on the Google update, even before the update announced we always say content is king. For me, over optimization reflect mostly on black hat SEO.

  22. says

    The SXSW speech is great – thanks for linking to that.

    Using bounced links seems a good idea in theory (it should stop the spam blogs, anyway), though I’d worry that craftier SEOs would send lots of fake traffic to quickly bounce in and out of sites in order to penalise their competition.

  23. alex says

    nice post about how to prepare for SEO over optimization penalty but my question is If I have high quality site ranked high on Google and somebody from competition using negative SEO to hurt my ranking so for example somebody sent 20K backlinks to single page using same anchor text will Google penalize my site for over optimization ? If yes then it’s mean that I can sent thousands backlinks with same anchor to any site and Google will penalize those site for over optimization…

    • says

      Alex those are things that are always possible but that Google also looks for signs of. If that would be flagged it would be a velocity penalty (too many links too fast) or a failure to give credit to all the same anchor text links. An over optimization penalty is most likely (my best guess) looking for multiple signs including too much keyword density, and other in-post objects. Google has had to deal with malicious link building for a long time but this is the first time they’ve really gotten strict about what we do to the content itself.

  24. says

    “Get the content right, unique, fresh and awesome and build a community around it.” Definitely. Content is will always be king. Without it, there really is no purpose in visiting a site.


  1. […] Kim Castleberry noted, “Perhaps not much at all.”  SEO, she writes, isn’t dead — it’s still important — and for most business bloggers, it won’t change anything, as the penalty is aiming for the “worst of the worst” — the keyword-stuffers, the thousands-of-backlinks-purchasers, the spammy content-millers. If you’re focused on creating targeted, quality content and a great experience for your prospects and readers, you needn’t worry. […]

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