What is an Over Optimization Penalty

An Over Optimization Penalty – the penalty for over-optimization – is then imposed if unauthorized SEO measures are recognizable in the on- and off-page areas of a website, which manifest themselves in the form of over-optimization. This can affect the keyword distribution and unnatural link growth, for example. For the website, the Over Optimization Penalty means a massive loss of ranking. In the worst case, the page can even be excluded from the search engine index.

Regular algorithm adjustments

Google regularly adjusts its algorithm in order to provide users with the pages that are relevant to their search, that provide them with added value. This is exactly what is usually not the case with over-optimized sites. Here, certain SEO techniques were simply used excessively, which should only have an influence on the ranking, but disregard the user interest. Through algorithm adjustments such as the Penguin update, websites were accordingly punished with an Over Optimization Penalty.

However, the changes to the algorithm only ever affect individual optimization areas. So it is quite possible that a website will be penalized for one SEO technique, while the other over-used technique is not (yet) affected. In the meantime, however, the Google search algorithm is so “mature” that hardly any measures to over-optimize a website bring a better ranking.

What can over-optimization look like?

Too much of a good thing – this saying had no meaning in the early days of SEO, because there simply wasn’t too much. In other words: Over Optimization worked, so it was implemented, good rankings were achieved with it and accordingly further over-optimized.

Some examples of over-applied SEO techniques:

Keyword stuffing: The website has a very high keyword density, ie the keyword occurs unnaturally often on the page and is intended to increase the relevance for the keyword. In the early days of SEO, high numbers of non-topic keywords were also incorporated into the website in order to generate more visitors.

Keyword links: Also, excessive use of keywords in the link text, both internal and external links can lead to an over optimization penalty. That does not mean that the keyword in the link is completely excluded, but one should bring in as much “variety” as possible, for example using long phrases as link text.

Hidden text: This method belongs to the Black Hat SEO area and refers to the integration of text on the website that is not visible to the user and is only available for the search engine to read. As with keyword stuffing, this text is often peppered with many keywords. The text is hidden, for example, by using the same font color as the background.

Rapid link growth: If a page suddenly receives a large number of links, while there was always only a slight link growth before, this indicates unnatural link building, e.g. through the massive purchase of links.

Link exchange: This type of link building was very popular for a long time because it was very simple: Webmasters simply talked to each other and exchanged any links, regardless of whether they were thematically related to the exchange site or their own. This resulted in extensive link exchange networks in which the distribution of the links was, so to speak, professionalized.

Additional information:

How to avoid over-optimizing your website

Adhere to webmaster guidelines and optimize for the user

According to PERCOMPUTER, the problem with over-optimization is not only the overly applied SEO techniques, but also the strong focus on technical SEO – the attempt to bring the page forward in the search results on Google through technical measures alone. A technically clean page is important to show the algorithm-based search engine what it is about and to show its robots the way, but it is just one aspect that influences the ranking and not a panacea.

If the visibility want to influence your side is positive, in addition to the needs technology and the usability agree. The aim of website optimization is not only to get more visitors, but also to encourage them to convert, for example to send an inquiry form, to make a purchase or to leave an email address for the newsletter.

Anyone who adheres to the webmaster’s guidelines for website optimization and uses SEO techniques to a reasonable extent (both for the search engine and for the user) will not have to fear an over optimization penalty. In terms of the user experience, in addition to on-page and off-page measures, it also makes sense to improve the quality of your site with the help of other online marketing measures such as conversion optimization or content marketing or to increase awareness through social media activities.

What is an Over Optimization Penalty