It’s been rumored since SXSW this past March that Google will be cracking down on sites guilty of “over optimization”. Over optimization generally means things like keyword stuffing title tags, keeping multiple webpages that target only a very slight variation of a keyword, and cramming your footer full of unnecessary links.
The tactics that Google is looking to stop really don’t do sites any favors anyways when it comes to rankings, and can only hurt rankings to an extent, so it’s best that you take the time to evaluate your site objectively and make changes that will help you avoid any penalties. This practice will ultimately give your website users a better experience too.
Rand Fishkin does a great job in his latest White Board Friday as he illustrates what Google may categorize as over-optimization: