View Full Version : I really hope this doesn't happen...

11-22-2003, 03:58 PM
Read on another forum that google maybe penalizing those sites who target a keyword too much...


1. Google is depreciating pages/sites that are over-optimized for certain keywords or keyword combinations. It does this by looking up search terms in a dictionary of target keywords or keyword pairs that it has compiled. This dictionary is Top Secret, because if you knew what was in the dictionary, you could avoid these words in your optimization efforts.

2. If the search term or terms hit on a dictionary entry, the search results for that user's search are flagged. This means that before the results are delivered, the order of the links, or even the inclusion of links, are adjusted so as to penalize pages that have overoptimizated for those terms. Most likely the title, headlines, links and anchor text are examined. It's possible that external anchor text pointing to that page has also been pre-collected and is available for scanning, but this is much less likely. (Besides, external links are not something within your immediate control, so don't worry about it right now.)

Now I know it's only a rumour, but I really do hope that this doesn't happen...


11-22-2003, 06:02 PM
Hmmm. I'd like to know the source of these statements. If it's a google employee, then fair enough. If it's just a roumer then it should be taken with a pinch of salt.

I don't think this is the case anyway. I can't really see how it would work effectively. Too many sites that are genuinely "on topic" with respect to the search term and that have had no SEO would be penalized as well. It would result in a lot of bad SERPs. But then, we're getting those anyway, right? :)

... who knows ...

11-22-2003, 06:36 PM
Every update results in another theory from WebmasterWorld. People post their ideas who no proof, no empirical evidence, and only a couple days of observation.

I'm not saying it is is impossible that Google has some sort of "over-optimization" filter now. But anyone who makes up specifics that would be impossible to know just brands themselves an idiot.

11-22-2003, 08:22 PM
This does seem to go beyond the usual knee jerk, post update reaction you get on some Google forums.

At the risk of spreading gossip, there's an article about it on the subscription site searchengine-news.com and being discussed on the few Google forums I've seen - more over that Google have started (no doubt been going for longer :rolleyes: ) dropping specific pages that are over cooked (anchor text, h1, title, strong etc.) for an exact phrase.

11-22-2003, 08:45 PM
Just because something is in an article doesn't make it true.

For every time you could chalk up a site dropping due to over-optimization you can find another site equally as optimized that is still ranked well.

11-22-2003, 09:17 PM
True its a theory, like almost all things SEO related :)

From my own experience (and this seems to be mirrored by several other posts i see, excluding WW) is specific pages that previously had long term high rankings for competitive terms have dropped without a trace for the SERP's - PR and other pages on the site are unaffected - only the page(s) that are optomised for an exact phrase are dropped.

11-22-2003, 09:36 PM
Yes... but those are the symptoms, not the cause.

Some pages are inexplicably immune as well.

11-22-2003, 10:21 PM
Some pages are inexplicably immune as well.

As far as a potential cause - from my own observations the page in question used only that term for all external and internal anchor / alt text and the term appeared once within the pages <title> and <strong> tags and a link within the page.

11-23-2003, 09:31 PM
LOL Chris. I agree -- people on WW are so full of sh** sometimes. They are more speculative than any other kinds of people on this planet.

11-25-2003, 06:51 PM
A very good read on this subject: http://www.searchengineguide.com/lloyd/2003/1125_bl1.html

11-26-2003, 04:23 AM
Totally agree with what's been said. It's not the fact that they've made observations, the problem is that they come to a conclusion and it suddenly becomes a "fact" in their head.

Just passing along my observations... I have a site that was very heavily optimized for a key phrase. It has a pretty high keyword density and lights up like a Christmas tree when the highlight button on the google toolbar is clicked :) Since this last update the page has completely disapeared from the SERPs. However, all the other subpages that are less optimized are still showing up just fine.

That site's pretty new though, which may have something to do with it. Like I say, just an observation - not drawing any conclusions. Just something to think on.

11-26-2003, 07:26 AM
More anecdotal evidence:

If I do a search for my target keywords: Northeastern State University, and limit it to my site only:

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:www.nsuforum.com+northeastern+state+ university&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=0

You'll see that the first two results are
www.nsuforum.com/index.php and

If you look at Google's cache (google's cache, not the current content of these pages) for these 2 pages, you'll see that www.nsuforum.com is littered with keywords in the body, and in the alt and link title tags, and has a higher pagerank. www.nsuforum.com/index.php has fewer keywords and lower pagerank.

Yet www.nsuforum.com/index.php is ranked higher.

I know that many other variables come into play here and this doesn't prove anything, but maybe this example and more like it will help everyone figure out what's going on. In the meantime, I'm going to reduce the number of keywords on my homepage, resubmit to google, and see what happens.

11-26-2003, 08:39 AM
I'm tempted to aswell, but I'm not sure to what extent to decrease the kw density. I'll probably just wait until the next update before doing anything. We'll have a clearer picture of what's going on then.

11-26-2003, 09:58 AM
If it is to do with how many times a keyword is mentioned, I for one do not think it is right.

Say if your doing a big review on a product, your gonna have to mention the keyword a lot aren't you?

11-26-2003, 10:12 AM
Yeah. As I've said before, I can't see how it would work without google inadvertently dropping perfectly good on-topic sites that haven't even had any SEO.

I don't get how the divide would work between "a site that's had lots of SEO" and "a site that is naturally very much on topic"

I would think the two are too similar for any heavy SEO discrimination to work realistically. Maybe that's what google are now discovering.

11-26-2003, 11:52 AM
Something i've just thought of...

If google does implement this, if you mention words such as "I" etc a lot will it penalize you? :)

11-26-2003, 04:21 PM
What new filter? :rolleyes:

Google has a new patent (http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/15073.htm) which goes a good way toward explaining the new filter.

The crux of which seems to be based around LR (oh joy, another acronym) Local Rank which is a devise constructed to yield better results and (repeat quote): "prevent any single author of web content from having too much of an impact on the ranking value. "

11-26-2003, 04:36 PM
A patent does not equal implementation. People have been bringing that patent up to explain things for a long time, long before this most recent update.

Besides, there are some glaring problems with it.

11-26-2003, 04:47 PM
Not the least are class C IP's eh ;)

As much as i hate to admit it having just finished reading it your right although some large chunks of it do seem relevant.

11-26-2003, 05:46 PM
I'm trying to decide on the best keywords for a new site. I'm looking at reasonably competitive terms. The #1 site for the keyword term I am interested in has NO keywords in the on page content at all!

I just wish they would just sort all this out one way or the other. I can't make any new sites because I can't work out which phrase to go for as everything could completely change within the blink of an eyelid.

11-26-2003, 07:22 PM
The problem I see with that patent is that it deals with ranking sites more than pages and pages are what come up in search results, not sites.

12-21-2003, 08:13 AM
More rumours, supposedly told from a google employee...


According to this, google thinks the new results are better.

12-21-2003, 08:45 AM
I can't see how google can think the results are better. Only yesterday I picked up a magazine where the editor had written a whole article about alternatives to google, because the results were so bad.

12-21-2003, 08:49 AM
From reading that, the google person says that affiliate sites have been penalized. Is this supposed to be true?

12-21-2003, 11:02 AM
I didn't read the whole thread. Penalizing all affiliate sites is too "general". So I doubt it's all that important really. I still find tons of affiliate sites in the results too.