Google Plans to Punish Sites "Overoptimized" for SEO

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Getting good placement in Google search results can be a matter of life and death for many companies these days. Given that Google is constantly tweaking their search algorithm to improve their search results -- and to fend off threats from search rivals like Bing and Apple's Siri -- keeping tabs on how those changes in Google search impact content creators can be a full-time job.

Yet search engine optimization (SEO) has been employed by some website operators to game Google's search algorithm and increase search results artificially. According to Google's Matt Cutts in a speech at SXSW transcribed by Search Engine Land's Barry Schwartz, the search engine giant is working to adjust their search engine to "level the playing field" against site owners that engage in SEO "over optimization." (Schwartz has also included a partial transcript of the Cutts speech in his blog post.)

The changes to Google's search engine should be coming soon, and is yet the latest in a number of tweaks and updates Google has made in an attempt to improve search results. One of the more significant updates to Google search came in the form of the Google "Panda" update in April 2011, which sought to minimize the impact of so-called "content farms" that publish huge amounts of marginal content that is heavily SEO-optimized.

Google is also looking to improve so-called "semantic search," which is being popularized by Apple's Siri technology. Semantic search is focused on providing immediate facts to a given query rather than presenting a page full of links to sites that provide those answers.

In a recent interview by Amir Efrati with the Wall Street Journal, Google search executive Amit Singhal said that the changes would help Google deliver an improved search experience, rather than the "cross our fingers and hope there's a Web page out there with the answer" solution that currently exists.

So what are your thoughts on the upcoming update to Google's search engine? Feel free to add a comment to this blog post or contribute to the discussion on Twitter.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Mar 20, 2012
Sounds to me like they're just trying to prevent SEO from paying off -i.e. kill an industry which ideally shouldn't exist. Doesn't sound like punishment to me, sounds like a meritocracy.
on May 6, 2013

This is a good action because many people and site owners used some illegal applications to get some quick and rapid traffic. If you have your own ideas then why you worried.

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