Google announced it will be releasing a new algorithm change that penalizes websites that are “over-optimized” or “overly SEO’ed.” This news was released by Mat Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, during his panel at SXSW.
Matt was responding to a great question asked by someone in the audience:
“With so many SEO companies showing up claiming to do SEO, a lot of markets are getting saturated with optimized content…What are you doing to prevent, for example, if you’re looking for something, and the first page is just optimized content, and it’s not what you’re actually looking for? Are you pretty much out of luck if you’re not optimizing your site but it has relevant content? If I’m a mom or pop and I’m trying to optimize a site by myself, I’m going to get beat by people paying thousands of dollars.“
Matt’s response was:
“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, whether they throw too many keywords on a page, or whether they exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect in a particular area. It is an active area where we have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
Cutts said the new “over optimization” penalty will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month or next few weeks.
This news came as no surprise to ElementsLocal. As we monitor the constant Google changes we’ve noticed one thing – that Google is the great equalizer. They continually updates their algorithms in an attempt to normalize results, or as Cutts said “level the playing field.”
We believe this new change will give websites with great content a better chance at ranking above sites that have content that is just simply optimized. And who better to create great content, as well as create the vehicle to deliver that content locally, than a franchise system!
Franchise systems can really take advantage of this, as well as many other updates happening with Google, by doing two things. First, by putting a system in place that allows Franchisees to contribute great local content that is brand and SEO compliant. Second, by putting a system in place that allows the Franchisor to ‘push down’ or roll down content to all Franchisees with properly applied SEO, avoiding wasted time and energy and avoiding Google’s new penalties.
Here are 5 tips that will help you adhere to SEO best practice and avoid any potential penalties for having an “over-optimized” website:
- Keyword repetition on page
Websites should repeat their target keyword phrase at most 3 or 4 times on any given page. Repetition beyond that can draw negative attention to that page.
- Internal ‘spammy’ site links
You should use a normal linking scheme when linking to the other webpages of your website. If you have a webpage about your company’s history, don’t link to that page using your top keywords if they don’t relate to that webpage. Link to it using the term “Company History” or “Our Plumbing Company’s History”.
- Purchasing exterior links
- Backlinks from ‘spammy’ websites like link farms
Web directories like yellow pages websites linking to your website does have value, even though that value will be small. Some directories have little to no value and only serve the purpose of linking to you if you link to them. Incoming links from these link farms or directories will send up ‘spammy’ signals to Google’s algorithm, so it’s better to avoid these types of links if possible.
- Too many external links pointing to your website using keywords and not website name
In recent years it has become common practice for link partners such as blogs to ask you what keywords you want in your anchor text pointing back to your website. Having the keywords in all your inbound links reading “best seo company” appears ‘spammy’. Instead, the anchor text should include your website name and possibly a keyword, such as “Elements, an SEO company”. More often than not, letting the linking website create the anchor text will allow for a much more natural looking linking scheme.
Last updated byat .