Latest Google Updates in Japan – SEO, Over-optimization and Aggressive Anchoring

So, this is the time of the year where website owners freak out seeing their sites’ rankings go down and up and disappear and come back (maybe), the time of the year where webmasters question themselves “What did I do wrong?”.

After the infamous Panda Update, Google again came with a number of algorithm updates, trying to penalize sites that broke (a number of) its guidelines. And this time, implementation in Japan was quite fast, compared to our dear Panda.

More specifically, two types of penalty got a number of sites are starting to be kicked out of the SERPs:

-Aggressive anchoring: having 99% of your links anchored with the very keyword you are targeting is, well, suspicious. Most of the time this penalty seems to be automatic, so the best way to recover from it is to either update your old links with more natural anchors, or build new links with new linking texts.

-Over-optimization: do you need to have your keyword repeated 4 times in the title tag, even if the 4 versions are slightly different? Short answer: NO. It is unnatural, and Google is apparently getting good at detecting these types of things. So, make sure you don’t use your keywords more than needed. How to know whether or not it is the case? Well, if your copy doesn’t read very naturally, you certainly have the answer in hand…

These are the two big updates from Google for March/April and the effects on search engine results have already been very significant here in Japan.

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