My take on google over optimization penalty and unnatural link building
Here is my take on the buzz generated recently regarding google penalties for over-optimization, unnatural link building, blog networks, Matt Cutts comments, etc. (yeah, getting in there as many related keywords as possible lol)
As in real life, you have to differentiate:
A) Are you a new site trying to link bomb your way to the top for a specific keyword?
You don’t rank anywhere. Meaning you do not have any competitors yet.
Say ‘hello’ to your webmaster tools notification and google penalty.
B) Are you an established site, already ranking in good position for a keyword (page 1-2…3…?, see ‘Summary’ below) and trying to get an even better rank?
Don’t believe the hype. Have no fear. There is just no way that Google can penalize sites for getting too many links (or any other off-page optimization technique for that matter) in this case, exactly due to the ‘competitor-issue’.
I could buy software to link bomb my competitors for a few dollars. I could even download it for free through torrents.
The same applies to more sophisticated solutions, such as autoblogging software. I could set up 100 auto-blogs in 1 hour, all with low quality auto-generated content and links pointing to my competitor. Then submitting a google spam request within a week, to make it look more ‘natural’.
C) Beware: If you are an established site trying to rank for a completely new (or ‘somewhat new’ etc., see ‘Summary’ below) keyword, A.) may apply to you as well
To sum it up, the better your site’s status for a given keyword gets, also considering the overall competitiveness for that keyword, the less likely it will be for you to receive a penalty.
All google can do is getting better at detecting unnatural link patterns and simply ignore them when ranking an already established site.
The buzz und fear they generate every once in a while is just making their life a little bit easier in this regard. Penalty notifications are going out a lot, but they are usually for new site/kw issues or on-page issues.
Attention: Regardless of your site status in search engines, they can and will penalize you for everything you do on-page (doing too many keywords, linking out to sites that themselves engage in the shady on and off page tactic mentioned here and offer no real value to the user) since you are in full control of your own site.