14 June 2012

Google has announced that they have been working on penalizing websites that are “over-optimized”. They say this is their way to level the playing field between great sites with great content versus over optimized sites or low quality sites. Matt Cutts of Google stated that they are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, and improve its relevance.

It took Google several years to come up with a system that identifies spammers and manipulators. It means they are leading to a better system that will benefit the users. It means that the future is bright for people who are trying to build quality websites. Gone are those days when links alone can manipulate the results. The bottom line is: Google wanted CHANGE.

For many website owners, Change is not easy. I remember attending a seminar where our resource speaker asked us to write with our left hand (right hand for the lefty’s). Not only did we have to write with our left hand, but we needed make our hand writing as pretty (high quality) as with the right hand. It was a painful experience. My wrist and fingers were in pain from exploring this new experience. Making the shift from the right hand to the left hand is not easy. After the exercise, our resource speaker concluded that if we want a change, we will have to undergo painful experiences.

It will be the same experience for website owners who need to change course as Google directed. There is no other choice than to play by Google’s rules. Search Engine Optimization is likened to a game; abiding by the rules will keep you in and make you a player.

Over-Optimized Site

What does it mean? An “over-optimized site” means that you have stepped beyond a line drawn by Google. This Google announcement comes in response to sites that have too many keywords on-page, or exchange more links than normal. Over-optimized may mean that you have acquired a sudden volume of backlinks, inbound links, outbound links and other related links. It means you have certain links that are beyond the limit.
With the manipulation of links over a period of time, the relevancy of search results are at stake. It is right for Google to get rid of unnatural links in order to give users quality search engine results. Penalizing over-optimized websites is Google’s way to get rid of spam and low quality sites. The unnatural link building method will no longer prosper. Google has certain criteria to rank sites, and every website owner needs to become acquainted with those standards and follow them.

The word “over” seems to apply to everything is bad for us! Think over weight, over fatigued, over slept, etc.; it is the same with SEO. Over optimized, overstuffed, or over SEOed could be the reason that your website is penalized, red-flagged, lost traffic or was restricted. In our quest to be on the top of search engine results, we may push our optimization too far. We may forget to abide by Google’s stated criteria for the website owners.

How to avoid it?

To avoid being penalized with the above issue, website owners should aim to:

  • *Build a users friendly site. Make sure you have quality content that will cater the needs of the users. Avoid duplication of contents.
  • *Acquire natural links. Few natural links that are built overtime are better than thousands unnatural links that was acquired using tricks.
  • *Use Organic SEO. You simply need to be honest and hardworking in optimizing your website. Do not expect to rush the results. Instead, follow the rules and criteria set by Google. If you hire someone to do your SEO, make sure they use a white hat approach.

Many have tried to cheat Google’s criteria. For several years, many have thought that they found a way to win over this prominent search engine. Now comes a time when tricks, schemes, unethical practices and cheating have no place in optimizing websites. Website owners are left with one choice: listen to what Google says!

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