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Google Sets Out to Penalize Overly Agressive SEO – No Worries

During this year’s SXSW media week in Austin, TX, Google did something out of character. It was something so big that we must all take heed. You have to understand the history before I announce what it is. previously, Google was usually closed lipped on algorithm changes and became more so after BING proved to be a possible threat. However, this big over the shoulder statement flowed as easy as poison in the ears of many SEO companies.  They announced the impending launch of a new over-optimization penalty to “level the playing ground.” The disclosure came during an open panel — entitled “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!” — with Google’s and B’s heavies on the start studded panel (For us geeks). Google’s goal for the penalty is to give sites that have produced great content a better chance to rank and drive organic search traf. It seems Google felt the rankings were heavily dominated by those with big SEO budgets.

While most of the SEO world is collectively shaking in their boots, we are salivating. This plays right into what we have done with local search. We have always preached to our clients that optimizing the website is only a portion, nay a foundation of SEO. We have always treated onsite optimization as a foundation – kind of like building a house. The foundation is necessary but doesn’t make a home. For us all of the external factors are what make for SEO. Those factors are external links fo all types and sizes in a natural manner. MY prediction is that when Google seeks to level the playing field, they will heavily weight the things we always moved for… consumer driven, useful content and “votes” of confidence from other sites

We have all come across at least one site that just shouldn’t be allowed to rank because it has poor content but they obviously focused extra hard on their search engine optimization efforts. They usually have a keyword driven domain, lots of keyword-rich internal linking, and heavily optimized title tags and body conten – but their content is weak. Over doing SEO got them there and now, that will be there undoing. With the upcoming over-optimization penalty we expect our full SEO clients to thrive.

Google has always said content is king. And now, loudly, they have put their money where their mouth is. SEO is not dead, it’s gotten better and local business that do it right will thrive!

Direct from Google’s Guru, Matt Cutts, “Normally we don’t preannounce changes, but there is something we’ve been working on in the last few months and hopefully in the next couple of months or so, you know, in the coming weeks, we hope to release it. And the idea basically is to try to level the playing ground a little bit. So all of 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 website, the Googlebot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive so that if 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’re doing to sort go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area. And 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.”