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Monday, 18 February 2013

Too Much SEO? Google’s Working On An “Over-Optimization”

Google’s Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on a search ranking penalty for sites that are “over-optimized” or “overly SEO’ed.”
Matt announced this during a panel Search Engine Land’s Editor-In-Chief, Danny Sullivan and Microsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager of Bing at SXSW named Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!. The audio for the session has been published where I learned that Google has been working on a new penalty that targets site’s that overly optimize for search engines for the past few months.
Matt Cutts said the new over optimization penalty will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month or next few weeks. The purpose is to “level the playing field,” Cutts said. To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but do a better job with SEO.
Here is the audio clip, you can find Matt saying this about 1/3rd the way in. (Note: We’ve expanded it from what we originally posted,
The way that I often think about SEO is that it’s like a coach. It’s someone who helps you figure out how to present yourself better. In an ideal world, though, you wouldn’t have to think about presenting yourself and whether search engines can crawl your website, because they’d just be so good that they can figure out how to call through the Flash, how to crawl through the forums, how to crawl through the JavaScript, how to crawl through whatever it is.
And, for the most part, most search engines have made a lot of progress on being able to crawl though that richer content.
Now, what’s interesting about your question is you went a little bit deeper and you said, “Well, what about all the people who are sort of optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO?” And, uh, normally we don’t sort of pre-announce changes, but there is something that we’ve been working on in the last few months. And hopefully, in the next couple months or so, in the coming weeks, we hope to release it.
And the idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.
And so that’s the sort of thing where we try to make the web site, uh Google Bot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive so that people don’t do SEO, we handle that, and then we also start to look at the people who sort of abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on the page, or whether they exchange way too many links, or whatever they are doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area. So that is something where we continue to pay attention and we continue to work on it, and it is an active area where we’ve got several engineers on my team working on that right now. 

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