Over Optimization

The algorithm for the so-called over-optimization penalty which sparked fear and murmurings all over the web has now gone LIVE. And now most people can breathe a sigh of relief, except for of course, the ones being penalized. Not to rub it in the faces of those who do their SEO the shortcut way, but “We told you so!” OK, maybe I’m rubbing it in their faces a little bit. The official statement from Google is titled “Another step to reward high-quality sites.” Referring to white-hat SEO and black-hat SEO as the good and dark sides, respectively, Google explained the intent of the new algorithm to reward the sites that take the high road. Google is officially calling the update the Webspam Algorithm Update. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the search experience for Google users, which as an SEO professional AND a consumer, I appreciate. Something I found especially validating was this statement from Google:

“We also want the ‘good guys’ making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded.”

High-Quality Content

But moving on to the important stuff, this is how the algorithm will work…the change will decrease rankings for sites that are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines in order to reduce webspam and promote high-quality content. Of course, Google isn’t releasing too much info on specific signals to keep from people figuring out a way to work the system. Their advice for webmasters is simple: Create “high-quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.” Examples of aggressive webspam tactics are keyword stuffing and unusual linking patterns, (placing outgoing links that are completely unrelated to the actual content). From looking at various webmaster forums, there are already many reports of sites being affected. I mentioned in my last post that shortcuts and shady tactics may bring people to a site, but only high-quality content will keep them there. Now we see the tides are changing.