Google’s threat of penalising ‘over-optimised’ content is no longer a threat; it’s clear that already certain sites are being flagged for what is deemed to be too optimised. While the definition of what is meant by over-optimisation still appears grey, Matt Cutts did mention that anything deemed to ‘go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area’ would be considered as a negative.
Still, that doesn’t really give as clear a definition as many would like for what exactly constitutes ‘over-optimisation’ but already examples are rolling in of companies being cited for the issue. It’s clear from the notices that have been sent out that once spotted you should make adequate changes and submit your website for reconsideration. So far it seems that penalties haven’t been fully levied and these notices serve merely as a warning, but given a few days I’m sure these websites can expect to find a negative reaction to their ‘over-optimisation.’
According to SEO savvy bloggers though, it’s recommended to ignore using the reconsideration option via Webmaster Tools since it opens up a site for even more scrutiny and is only best used when you’re absolutely sure your site is 100% organic and spam-free.
However given that the next few weeks will be a stressful balancing act of over-optimisation fears with ineffective under-optimisation due to unsure terms of Google’s definition, one should definitely not ignore the new situation. By all means make an effort to keep your link natural, balanced and sound because with the notice already circulating across the web it is clear Google intends to make good on their war against over-optimisation; whatever they mean by that.
The best way to stay out of the way of the runaway train is to ensure that whatever SEO solution you chose, it’s understood what it means to have an organic or holistic approach to the discipline; this includes avoiding keyword spamming, avoiding bad links and ensuring natural or excellent content structure for your site.