What is over-optimization of a website?

We know that a site is penalized for over-optimizing the content for search engines, but when do we know if a site is over optimized?
Black hat: Over optimization of a website

In fact, most of the advices that we can give to a webmaster to make its content better indexed or ranked higher, can be perverted and misused, here come over optimization.

  1. The page should contain all the keywords that are relevant to describe the topic and the information it provides. Engines operate on the basis of keywords, are not they? Over optimization comes when the page is stuffed with keywords intended solely to the engine, without bringing anything new to the user. Engines are perfectly able to distinguish originality and relevance of a page.
    We over optimize again by using the same anchors in links on the site too often, putting the same keyword in the title in the URL, subtitles, alt tags, etc.
  2. Backlinks are a way to ensure the popularity of a site. There over optimization appears when creating self-links in directories without visitors, in forums, with unnatural anchors intended clearly to engines. In fact, the Penguin filter is precisely directed against it.
    Link exchanges are also abuse that it is easy to detect for search engines.
  3. Redirects can be a black hat technique. When buying or building sites for the sole purpose of placing links to the main site, we still triggers a negative signal.
  4. Hidden text in order to deceive engines is an old black hat technique that is part of what is considered over-optimization.
  5. H1 tags, H2 are required to organize a text and make it more readable. They are taken into account by the algorithms. But if there are too many tags and not enough text, it is still over-optimization. In fact blogs now tend to make pages without subtitles for fear of penalties, which actually makes them unreadable.
  6. Similar pages with the same keywords. Or text added only to place keywords. There are a number of signals that the algorithm can use to judge the value of content.
  7. Can be generalized to all aspects of the site. Is it optimized for visitors or search engines?

It is not always clear when a site is over optimized or not. When are there too many keywords, similar anchors? It is best to compare your pages with those produced by the reference sites in your domain to judge. Finally the optimization part should be very small compared to the amount of work on the content and the ideal algo strives to reflect that.