I’ve been badly hit by an over-optimisation penalty (also called OOP) by Google on one of my sites. This affects only certain URLs of my website and not the whole website. The symptoms are as follows:
- certain pages of the site are not indexed anymore (been deindexed and removed from google index)
- the affected pages show PR N/A ( PageRank Not/Applicable – grey toolbar) although they have been published and online for a while and witnessed Google PR Update (shame they didn’t get any though)
- obviously you are no longer ranking for these keywords on those web pages (other sites less relevant but having that keyword shows up but not your site url)
On the 8th of December 2008, I filed a Re-Inclusion Request through Google Webmasters Tools hoping they would sort it out but after 5 weeks of no reply, i’ve made myself realise that there was definitely a problem with my site’s pages. I previously thought they had unfairly banned these pages through undeliberate algorithm problems but now i think it’s something to do with over optimisation.
I don’t do blackhat – but i know what i want to target and how to write good information on that particular topic. However I may have triggered a red flag and have got penalised for it. Here are the things that you need to look for when dealing with OOP:
- title, url and header tags being too tightly aligned
- anchor texts of backlinks being unnaturally aligned (internal links count as well)
- alt tags and other elements that are over optimised
- keyword stuffing
I’m in the process of tweaking one or two affected pages to see if the ban if automatically lifted now. I’m pretty sure it will though because when GoogleBot will next crawl the penalised page, it will see that it is no longer over-optimised and will re-evaluate its importance and hopefully index and rank it again.