Google announced plans to go after web sites that are pushing SEO too far. These would be sites that are engaging in questionable SEO tactics that may be a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
An article published on the Search Engine Roundtable site named Google To Target Overly SEO’ed Sites Within Weeks reveals several statements made by Matt Cutts at a recent SXSW conference. Matt Cutts is the Google engineer in charge of the Search Quality team.
According to Matt, Google’s new emphasis will be on “leveling the playing field” by focusing more on the quality of the content within a site, rather than traditional search engine signals, such as backlinks.
Here is the most important statement made by Matt:
If you have been following our white hat SEO advice, you should not be too concerned about the upcoming assault on sites that focus on applying too many SEO techniques to a web site, rather than simply trying to build a site with quality content.
Although we don’t yet know exactly what Google plans to focus on, we can make an educated guess based on what Matt said. My main concern is that historically almost every time Google plans an all-out assault on some questionable practice, flaws in their algorithms (the spiders) end up penalizing thousands of sites for using similar but innocent tactics.
If you are doing any of the following with your web sites, you should probably be concerned about this update.
- If you are using keyword stuffing (too many keywords on a page) in an attempt to raise your rank positions, your site will likely be a target. This is an old, outdated technique that rarely works today, yet some site owners still use it. Our advice is always to write the best informational content that you can. When writing an article, focus on your readers, but keep the search engines in mind while doing so. That simply means that you need to stay focused on your topic and avoid writing mediocre content.
- If your link building has been overly aggressive, your site will probably become a target. Google has been notifying site owners with warnings about “artificial linking patterns” through Google Webmaster Tools accounts for several months now. If you use Google Webmaster Tools and have been using a link building service, check your Webmaster Tools account for warning messages. The only warnings that we have heard about thus far have been for sites where link builders have added tens of thousands of poor quality backlinks. If you have accumulated thousands of backlinks from web sites in India, Indonesia and Malaysia, your site may be targeted.
- Matt also warned about excessive link exchanges. Link exchanges have not worked very well for at least five years. It doesn’t hurt to do a few link exchanges, but they should only be done with sites within the segment of the market that a site focuses on. One-way, natural links are usually the best links.
- I can also speculate that sites using black hat SEO methods, such as hidden text, hidden links or anything that is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines will be targeted.
The real important points here are that you should be focused on developing high quality informational content and should avoid doing anything excessively to promote your web site. Everything that you do to promote your web site with search engines should look natural. Listen to what Matt says: Sites that “go well beyond what you normally expect” will be targeted.