In our previous two posts we looked at some of the changes seen in the world of Search Engine Optimisation so far this year.  This final post on the topic looks at a few others.


Last March, Matt Cutts announced an upcoming over-optimisation update.

We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect.

What is in the over-optimisation penalty? In truth nobody outside Google knows , but the SEO community has ideas. When he made the announcement, Matt mentioned too many keywords on a page, something he has described before.

This month (November 2012), Matt spoke about site-wide backlinks and compared how Google counts these to how Google counts keywords. We suspect site-wide links are also part of the over-optimisation algorithm.

Keyword density on a page has always been important.  Overuse of any primary keyword phrase is not to be recommended. On a typical web page of say 250 – 350 words, one instance is good, two is better, three or four is great, and then each additional mention becomes less and less important until you over-optimise. At some point, your optimisation will trigger alarm bells.

For the sake of clarity the keyword density levels suggested above are what we feel to be correct. The real Google algorithm formulas for keyword frequency and repetitive links on your web pages are unknown. The number of instances will vary too depending on the page length. The point is, do not try to outguess Google. Be natural.

What is especially interesting is that Google has created a safety net for some things. If you have legitimate site-wide links, like a blog roll or links to subsidiary companies, Google is unlikely to penalise your domain. Also, we believe that some things may not trigger an algorithmic penalty, but could be disastrous if a manual review of the site were undertaken by Google.

Exact Match Domains

In September, Google announced they would crack down on low quality exact match domains. While this is not related to Panda and Penguin, it does target exact match domains that rank well because of their domain name and not because of their content or external link quality.

Too Many Ads Above The Fold

Sites that have too many static advertisements ‘above the fold’ and force readers to scroll down the web page to see content also risk incurring a penalty. This does not affect too many websites, Google says less than 1%; but worth bearing in mind nevertheless

Infographic & Guest Blogging Links

We do not know of any actual update, but in July, Matt Cutts warned that infographic links are getting abused and may become a target of the webspam team in the same way widgets were discounted and penalised.

In October 2012, Matt Cutts  gave a similar warning to blogs and guest bloggers. White hat guest blogging can be a terrific win-win, but shady guest blogging may have negative consequences.

Pirate Update

We will finish my examples of reputation and trust with the Pirate Update. It is a penalty against domains that receive too many DMCA “takedown” requests. These are requests from other to remove content from a website due to copyright infringement.  This appears to be a straight-forward tie-in between Google’s webspam algorithms and its DMCA request database. There are some important exceptions, so check out the link above.

Coffee anyone?

It has been a couple years since the Caffeine infrastructure rolled out. Last year, we got a deep-roasted taste of Caffeine, thanks to Panda. This year, the Penguin, site-wide links, and ads above the fold algorithms have also taken advantage of Caffeine, most likely in collaboration with increased crawling, data storage, and processing capacity.


A year ago, Google launched its freshness update, affecting 35% of search results. This much improved ‘query deserves freshness’ algorithm identifies recent or recurring events, hot topics, and queries for which the best information changes frequently.

With so many changes already and more in prospect it is essential that you keep yourself up to date if you want to gain or retain a good ranking for your website in the search engine results.  GB Web Marketing are Internet Marketing Professionals and specialist SEO experts serving UK Businesses.  If you would like more information about how we can help you please leave a comment below, or if preferred call us today on 01293 822755


Chris Griffin
Chris Griffin
Chris has been a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2005. Since 2007 he has specialised in Search Engine Marketing, both Paid Search and Organic SEO. He has an excellent record of helping businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and overseas, to achieve their online marketing goals.

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