Uh Oh for SEO: Google looking to punish too much SEO

Posted on March 22, 2012

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News slowly — and then quickly — spread from SXSW last week that Google is planning a new system of search ranking that would recognize and penalize sites that are overly optimized for search.

Understandably, there was a collective “gulp” from SEO experts and the entire SEO industry that could be heard all around the digital world.

The news hit during a SXSW panel titled “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better,” during which Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Web Spam team, said that Google is looking to “level the playing field” and improve the search ranking system so that search results better portray the overall field of results, rather than focus on sites that pander to its search algorithms.

Cutts spoke of many of the main SEO strategies that we have discussed on this blog and have been the main staples of SEO for the web.

“We try to make the GoogleBot smarter, try to make our relevance more adaptive, so that if people don’t do SEO we handle that,” Cutts said in the panel. “And we are also looking at the people who abuse it, who put too many keywords on a page, exchange way too many links, or whatever else they are doing to go beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”

Google regularly changes up its search formulas to better field results, and announcing planned changes for the GoogleBot is nothing new. These changes look to be a part of a bigger, sweeping reform of Google’s search expected to come within the next few months, as reported last week by the Wall Street Journal.

But this is the first real time that Google has said that it will go after SEO and overly optimized sites, which could have big implications for the SEO industry and the sites that have benefited from its services.

Stay tuned…

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Posted in: Google, News