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Google to target over optimized sites

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization (SEO)' started by ozsubasi, Mar 17, 2012.

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  1. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    I came across this by accident this morning. It is an audio recording made a week or so ago, during which Matt Cutts of Google talks about sites that go too far with SEO, and how Google is launching an update in the coming weeks or months to combat this.
    The following is not a word-for-word account of what was said, but if you listen to the recording it is pretty much accurate:

    "What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don't normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in 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 site. 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. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now."
    (Source: http://www.seroundtable.com/google-over-seo-update-14887.html)

    A lot more than the above is said, so if you have the time listen to whole thing so that you can put it into context. He does not say that we should not do SEO, this is specifically about over optimization.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  2. coderzone

    coderzone Super Moderator

    This would mean you should now focus more on building sites and worry less about SEO
     
  3. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    I think that for most people, it is a case of trying to build a good quality site, and then doing SEO for it, i.e. it isn't an either/or option.
    Unless techniques are being used on a site that stray too far away from their guidelines, it isn't going to be affected.
    Also in the recording is an explanation that Google is not against SEO and reference is made to Matt Cutts video on the subject in which he explains the benefits of it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS75vhGO-kk
    I dont think it is a matter of "worrying less" about SEO, but about using it to the best advantage without over doing it.
     
  4. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    How do you define over doing is the question or rather what Google defines as overdone is the question.

    Recent Google updates took into account ads above the fold but if you search Google you would only see ads in Google above the fold. Try HD Television as terms or something similar.
     
  5. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    This is very true. Guidelines talk of not doing things "excessively" but no-one knows what excessive is.
    In fact, if anything the recommendations have got more vague. For example, back in 2009 Matt Cutts said that Google's recommendation was to “Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).” (http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-many-links-per-page/) and he actually linked that statement to Webmaster guidelines. But if you go there (http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769) the first part of that statement is still shown but the "(fewer than 100)" has been dropped.
    So all we are left with now is guessing what is "reasonable".
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  6. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Being a market trader I think price action is what tells you everything and here analytics should tell you what is the definition of being over SEOd.

    Sites being hit by it can have some elements added to undo SEO or something in that line.
     
  7. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    Those that do their own SEO or are fully aware of what has been done on their behalf (which should cover everyone but probably doesn't), will already know if they have "stretched" certain guidelines.
    I had a paragraph in a side bar above my menu which was just a list of keywords with an opening and closing statement (I placed it there because it was crawled before my main content). This was something I did when I first started with my site, and although I found out later that it was something specifically advised against and amounted to keyword stuffing, I left it there because it wasn't doing me any real harm.
    However, I changed it today:) I did not have too many reciprocal links (in my view) but before I read this had begun reducing what I did have because I didn't believe that they were all of benefit to me.
    I think it is better to take an objective and sensible look at a site now rather than wait and see if it suffers as a result of what Google are planning.
     
  8. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Yes as you grow, you tend to do things that please Google as well as your users.
     
  9. Apoorva

    Apoorva New Member

    Hi,
    This is true. Google penalized over optimized sites. I think, this will surely help to punish those who are misusing SEO processes. Ethical submissions and quality link building is always appreciated by Google.
     
  10. jhonden

    jhonden New Member

    I am aware of this and this will be a great help for the websites which are new and unique and don't follow the practices of exorbitant link building.
     
  11. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    Decreasing backlinks but increase in SERPs.

    Something I have been noticing over the last six weeks or so is that the number of domains linking to my site (as reported by Google Webmaster Tools) has been decreasing every week. There used to be 832, but today there are 670. That means that over the period I've lost around 20% of the sites which used to link to me. All the sites that have gone provided irrelevant, low value links and they weren't ones that I'd placed ( I have been deleting some reciprocal links that I had but I have excluded them from the figures).

    But during the same period my SERP has been improving, and today when I checked I got the most consistent results I've ever had. Since last week, of the 30 keywords I am tracking 16 moved up and the other 14 stayed the same, and I have never before had a week without at least some words slipping down. On looking at my nearest competitor, I was pleased to see that they had dropped down for a number of keywords.

    I have done a little updating of the site, but nothing major and in fact have removed more than I have added, so it isn't because of site improvements, and both mine and the competitor site have the same last cached date of March 24.

    Of course, nothing can be concluded from what has happened to just one site, but I am wondering whether Google's re-evaluation of links is rather more far reaching than I imagined from the little they said about it. For the site to actually improve in the rankings at the same time as links have fallen suggests three main possibilities to me:

    1) Perhaps not only did these links have little or no value anyway, but other lnks have been given more value.
    2) Rather than it being an improvement for my site, it has moved up because my competitors have moved down, i.e. if they have also lost links they were ones which were important to them.
    3) It is just coincidence, and something else entirely different has been given more weight as a factor.

    So, what I'd like to know please is whether anyone else has experienced a similar loss of linking domains, and if so what has been happening to their SERPs during that time?
     
  12. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Re: Decreasing backlinks but increase in SERPs.

    Lot of things are concluded out of this and so let me share what all I have read and understood.

    Lot of your sites that were linking to you are being de-indexed by Google and blog networks are being de-index by large number. BuildMyRank.com has officially declared as shutting down their service. See http://www.buildmyrank.com/news/its-been-a-great-run

    SERP increase means now Google is valuing valuable content. My assumption of reducing the impact of links is not what Google opted for but it is de-indexing content or sites that don't add any value to their users and customers.

    I think this is very related to Matt Cutts statement of over optimization and assumption of working on the links for over optimization rather than content.
     
  13. jhonden

    jhonden New Member

    Re: Decreasing backlinks but increase in SERPs.

    There was a fluctuation in rankings few days back may be that is the reason why it happened.
     
  14. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Re: Decreasing backlinks but increase in SERPs.

    Fluctuation is an ever happening phenomenon in SEO and I am yet to see a day when that does not happen.
     
  15. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    Re: Decreasing backlinks but increase in SERPs.

    Yes, and that was my point. I expect to see keyword rankings go up and down, I did not expect to see that not one keyword out of 30 had not gone down.

    I have looked at the sites individually where my link has been no longer counted, and with a few a exceptions nearly all of them are still live, i.e. they have not been de-indexed. I don't do blog commenting and I don't syndicate my blog generally so I haven't been hit by any of that.
    Anyway, the point is that I haven't suffered by this, I have gained, although of course it may be as I said in my OP that my competitors have suffered, and that has helped my SERPs.

    This thread could end up merging with another I have about over-optimization, so although I have further comment on that issue I will post it there.
     
  16. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    Maybe this article is interesting, it was posted today by Danny Sullivan who was present and took part in the discussion where Matt Cutts talked about over-optimization.
    There is quite a lot to read but one of the things that comes out of it is the suggestion that Google has long had the means to penalize for different things but hasn't actually done it. Which is what I was referring to with my analogy with a police clampdown situation.
    From a starting viewpoint where Google's attitude was that they didn't need to penalize anyone, they now seem to be moving into one where if a site doesn't fit, it is out. I am wondering if they are going a bit too far in deciding what people should and should not see in their search results.

    I would ask that anyone who wants to comment on the article should read it first:
    http://marketingland.com/is-googles...-its-jump-the-shark-moment-in-web-search-8633
     
  17. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Re: Decreasing backlinks but increase in SERPs.

    Yes I am also gaining traffic but not very highly and this means my competitors are not that badly affected.

    Merging of threads yes. Done.
     
  18. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    My traffic has increased 15% over the previous month but 8% of that is directly due to some advertising I did, and I would normally expect a seasonal increase now anyway. But I don't know how my competitors traffic has fared, perhaps it has fallen or maybe not, and without that comparative data it is again difficult to draw any conclusions.
     
  19. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Instead of comparing things focus on building more content and compete with your own stats and focus on growth.
     
  20. ozsubasi

    ozsubasi New Member

    I agree that the main focus should be on one's own site, but in a competitive environment it can also be useful to keep an eye on what the competition is doing.
     
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