Over optimisation on site

3 replies
  • SEO
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I remember seeing a video some time ago where Matt Cutts very briefly mentioned that webmasters "may want to optimise their site slightly less" in light of some new changes that were implemented in the ranking algorithm. Reading between the lines, I took from the video that Google have an on-site optimisation threshold that, when breached, sites may be penalised in the Google SERPs.

I was just wondering if anyone had any experience of being penalised for over-optimisation and if so, what caused it?

The reason I ask is that my hotel booking site (http://www.swindon-hotels.org) is highly target for the key phrase "swindon hotels", including on-site, backlink anchors and even in the domain name. I used to also have the key phrase as the title a month ago and was even further down the rankings so changed it to "hotels in swindon" for experimental purposes. Yet, having spent an hour or so this morning looking at sites ranking way above mine for the key phrase at http://www.opensiteexplorer.com, I'm finding many sites ranking well above me despite having seemingly inferior backlink profiles.

For instance, consider this: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/www.swindon-hotels.org/www.swindon.com/a!comparison

It would appear that my backlink profile is stronger and more relevant (I have sought as many relevant backlinks as possible), yet my site ranks lower for the key phrase (Swindon Hotels).

I'm not really an SEO nut, this is the only site I own that really depends on having a decent listing, but having put a months work in to build the site, I'd really like to get it ranked!

Do the SEO experts here think that I am guilty of over-optimisation? How would you recommend I improve the rankings?

Many thanks in advance,
#optimisation #site
  • Profile picture of the author Pixel
    Matt Cutts told that overoptimization causes so called -950 penalty, check here: seroundtable.com/archives/013473.html
    I would say you should be patient and build some quality links to it.

    From GOOGLE US I see you at 100+ position, GOOGLE UK - 100-110 so its all ok.
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  • Profile picture of the author spanisheye
    You're not penalised. The site is indexed.

    The site is relatively new and with hotels there are many strong sites which huge history which will always rank well.

    I would perhaps check your backlink profile. Are there any links in there that could be hurting you? I saw a few which looked really spammy. I would look to address those.

    I do think you have over-optimised the site. You need to tone it down a little. You don't need to go so far with it as you have done.

    Tidy it up and keep getting good links, don't get spammy ones, they always hurt you when a site is new.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexander CPA
    Hey Paul,

    I'll start by telling you this very plain and simple, backlinks are not everything to do with SEO, the fact your competing with a domain which is over 13 years old, might suggests some problems, you might find that changing your websites title to "Find Hotels In Swindon" would work a bit better.

    You shouldn't optimize your title so it makes less sense but carries a better SEO value, I can see "Find Hotels In Swindon" getting more clicks then "Hotels In Swindon", but that's down to you to change.

    Just carry on building backlinks and updating your website, carry on checking your current ranking, look for a increase, figure out what your doing that's working and what isn't working.
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