Google Over Optimization Penalty, What Is It?
The penalty for over optimization is a new patch on the algorithm from Google to stop their search results being outsmarted by SEO masterminds. Firstly, we had Google Panda update, and prior to that there was the paid links penalty last year and this year it is the over optimization penalty. This has now become the default of Google. Whenever there are too many new rankings issues are throwing Google’s algorithm by smart SEO companies they come up with some patch or other to silence their disclaimers.
Google, by no means, seems interested in totally changing their algorithm architecture. Instead, they have been patching their algorithm to fight those who trick their systems. Soon Google’s search algorithm will be a patch of patches with confusions all around.
Over Optimization is one such algorithm patch which Google will hit websites with that concentrate less on quality of content and more on SEO instead. Google’s anti-spam engineer, Matt Cutts, indicated the same at the SXSW which was held recently. With this new penalty, once it becomes effective, Google will be able to penalize sites for abusing Google’s algorithm with SEO tricks to manipulate rankings.
The basic idea is for Google to try and level the field a little bit. The desired Google outcome is for all those websites who have been “over optimizating” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to website owners who are just making authoritative quality content for their websites, to be downgraded in terms of their rankings so that good quality content outranks content that has simply been heavily optimised to rank in Google (and which may not be good quality).
Matt Cutts has been quoted as saying “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.”
Why is it Important for Google to Implement The Over Optimization Penalty?
For a long time, in order to rank in the search engines, website owners have been writing for search engine algorithms rather than publishing quality that their audience wants to read. Innovative thoughts and original content has been somewhat stifled due to this and the internet is becoming full of mediocre content simply created to rank highly in the search engines. This is sometimes referred to as search engine spam.
So as a website owner you need to think about:
• Don’t you write what people want to read?
• Don’t you write for the audience?
• Don’t you write for traffic?
• Don’t you write for better search engine rankings?
If you answer in the affirmative to all the above, then perhaps you are guilty of simply producing a website that is trying to rank highly in the search engines, offers nothing new or innovative and could be seen to be gaming the results.
Perhaps it is time to start thinking how you can really add value to the user experience of your website by creating content which is really useful and unique.
• STOP keyword stuffing – Gone are the days when a keyword density of 3-4% will take your page or website safely to page one. Don’t stuff keywords in your title tags, meta description and everywhere else. Create content that makes semantic sense and reads as if written for a human and not Google’s search engine. Google’s latent semantic algorithm is complex enough to detect what your page or website is about.
• STOP using backlinks from useless places – This what is called link spam. As an SEO practice, it is best to can do your best to garner links from comments, directories and various networks by using link bait: good quality content on your website. The moment you seek out spammy links from paid directories etc to trick the system, you will be caught and killed.
• START creating content – Provide readers what they want to read but also make it useful, unique, informative and worth reading: not just sales copy. Write your content in a way that even if readers leave your site they have gone away with value. Google will reward you for it.
• START interlinking to old pages within the site from new content Once Google starts to crawl your website to index the new content you will be able to create an effective navigation throughout your website. And that you will do with the help of internal links that will link to older pages of your website. By using the idea of internal linking you are actually telling Google that my other content is also useful. You can crawl that too.