Google Penguin Update - Over Optimisation - Hallam Internet SEOSimply, yes. According to Google you can over optimise your website. A new update from Google (called Penguin) has been released which will penalise websites that do too much Search Engine Optimisation. Websites that are guilty of over optimisation are likely to see their rankings drop dramatically or disappear altogether. Some websites are already starting to be affected HUGELY by this update so my advice, ACT NOW, before it’s too late.

Ultimately, this update from Google is all about enhancing the user experience. You should always first and foremost create content for humans, the actual people that will visit your website, buy from you, share your content and keep coming back for more. Creating your website solely for Google and other search engines is a mistake. Why would you want to do Search Engine Optimisation to rank for a keyword if when someone lands on your web page they can’t understand what you’re selling or telling them anyway? Visitors will leave your website as quickly as they arrived and all your SEO work will be pointless.

Is my website OVER optimised?

As ever with Google, they aren’t telling us exactly what will result in websites being penalised but here’s a list of five things that could flag your website as being over optimised –

1. Titles Tags need to look authentic

Title Tags are the blue text that appear at the top of your listing in search engines. They should contain some of your keywords without it looking like you’re trying to cram them in. Here’s an example of how not to do it. Yes, we get it, you’re a ‘hotel’ and you’re in ‘Nottingham’. Don’t keep repeating your keywords, it looks spammy and doesn’t help the user experience.

Over optimisation - Google Penguin - Authentic title tags

2. Link Filled Footers

We’ve all seem them, the boxes at the bottom of webpages that are full of the keywords that they want to rank for. Nobody’s really going to click any of these links, they’re not helping the visitor in any way. There are much better uses of your footer, put information in there that is helpful and that people would expect to see instead.

Over Optimisation - Google Penguin - Link Filled Footers


3. Blocks of ‘spammy’ text

The top of your website might have informative titles, great benefit led copy and a prominent call to action but then, wait, what’s this? A block of text that makes little or no sense to visitors that’s clearly been put there just so they keywords and different permutations of the keywords can appear on the page. This is an extreme example but don’t try and do at all. It’s not helpful to anyone. You’ll confuse visitors and risk damaging the credibility of your website.

Over Optimisation - Google Penguine - Spammy Text Copy

4. Links from other websites

Links are essential for Search Engine Optimisation but not all links are created equal. Building good quality links to your website from other quality, relevant sites takes time and effort. If you’ve ever opted for a ‘quick fix’, however long ago that was, you risk being penalised for it in Google’s latest update. The links you want to avoid (and even look into getting removed if you have them already) are the ones from websites like the ones we’ve mentioned above. Theses websites are likely to get penalised and your association with their site won’t doing anything positive for your SEO.  You don’t want bought links from link networks or SEO focused directories, comment spam links, some article marketing sites or even lots of non-genuine reciprocal links (where you swap links with other websites).

Over Optimisation - Google Penguin - Bad Inbound Links


5. Lots of pages targeting very similar keywords

Over Optimisation - Google Penguin - Similar Internal PagesIt’s good practice to have specific pages for each product or service that you provide so you can put lots of informative and helpful text on that will encourage visitors to stay on your site and maybe make a purchase or send an enquiry. What you want to avoid are pages that are very similar. By that I mean pages that target modified versions of your keywords with only slight changes.
Look at this example. Are visitors going to know what the differences are between all these ‘different’ pages? I doubt it. It’s obvious the pages exist in an attempt to increase where they appear in search engines. It’s not helpful for the user so don’t do it.

Google’s mission has always been to serve the most relevant and useful results for searchers. If the results that appear at the top when you do search don’t contain the information you want, the websites are hard to use or look ‘spammy’ you’re likely to feel disappointed. Google doesn’t want that, it wants to delight its users and you should to! Make sure your website it up to scratch before Google Penguin takes effect on your website and avoid any nasty surprises that might be a result of over optimisation.


4 responses to “Over Optimisation – Can you do TOO much SEO on your website?”

  1. Has your site been unfairly slapped by the Penguin update? Or do you think it still hasn’t managed to squash the spam?

    Google has created a form for you to provide feedback if you don’t think your site should have been affected:

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  3. Frederik says:

    Great post Sarah!

    I find it very hards not to overoptimze my title-tags, do you have some examples of penguin proof title tags 🙂

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