News

Latest news from the team at Totally

Google Targets Over Optimisation During Announcement

Tagged in:  SEO
Comments:  0 comments

There’s been quite a lot of conjecture this week in the SEO world about a comment Matt Cutts (Head of Google’s Webspam team) let slip a week ago at the SXSW conference. Before I give you my two bob’s worth, this is exactly what Matt said:

“We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we’ve been working on for the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great sites. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect."

The comment seems to have divided the SEO/Search community. I’ve seen numerous articles titled ‘The Death of SEO’ or something similar while others have brushed it off as natural progression of Search Engines. I think the most measured response is a combination of both view points. Google is constantly trying to serve up the most relevant pages to give the best user experience. The multiple Panda updates released last year clearly indicate the importance of quality content in achieving this; it was always a natural progression that Google would eventually crack down on people over-optimising to serve up poor quality content that may have escaped Panda. If you’re carrying out SEO to help these types of poor pages rank higher than great pages then you’re doing a disservice to the web community in general.

We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect

Matt Cutts
Head of Webspam, Google

On other hand I can understand why some SEOs are unsettled by this announcement. SEO has often been called an art with a little bit of science and many feel this update will take away some of the artistry. There is a concern that if you’re doing SEO for a site that has relevant and informative content  then you could still get penalised if you unintentionally use too many keywords or accidently get linked to from a few spammy sites. What we should remember is that Google has done a great job in the past and there’s no reason why it won’t do so again. The ‘Death of SEO’ articles are predominantly written by those immersed in the dark art of black hat SEO; in some industries such as gambling and pornography these ways will always be practised as the reward is worth the risk. These industries are few and far between though. There is always going to be SEO but the definition of what that means is constantly mutating.

In the past, all of us in the Totally Communications search team have dabbled with black hat ways; in most cases yielding extremely quick and positive results. These experiences were invaluable to my development and I think it’s important to try and keep up to date with all SEO practices both black hat and white hat. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a thrill to game Google but I’ve learned it can often take just as much work to rank and maintain rank on page 1 through black hat SEO as it does to do it according to Google’s Guidelines. Doing it Google’s way may be tough but the risk with black hat SEO is that as quickly as you go up, a small algorithm update later, you can plummet further down the rankings than where you started. Quick fix algorithm changes and black hat SEO don’t allow for a sustainable position in the rankings.

With Google having approximately a 90% market share of Search Engines in the UK, as SEOs we are always going to live or die by the sword of Google. The different reactions to this announcement should be measured according to SEO practices; those practicing white hat SEO for sites that deliver authoritative content don’t have anything to worry about.

 


Comments
  • There are no comments yet, why not be the first to post?
Post a comment