I’m excited to see what google pulls out of it’s algorithmic bag of tricks next. The pre-announced over-optimization penalty should theoretically align SEOs more tightly with information architects, usability experts and professional content creators to produce sites that are great for users and great for driving users to sites via organic search. At least in theory. Of this happens, everyone wins but the spammers. If it doesn’t … It could be a bumpy ride for sites that rely on organic search traffic.

More on this topic from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “Google Plans SEO Over-Optimization Penalty.”

Google’s head spam cop Matt Cutts announced the impending launch of a new over-optimization penalty to “level the playing ground.” The disclosure came earlier this month at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas during an open panel — entitled “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!” — with Google’s and Bing’s webmaster and web spam representatives. Google’s goal for the penalty is to give sites that have produced great content a better chance to rank and drive organic search traffic and conversions.

Pretty much all site owners can point to the search results for their dearest trophy phrase and point out at least one site that just shouldn’t be allowed to rank. Competitive ire aside, sometimes sites have poor content but focus extra hard on their search engine optimization efforts. These sites are easy to spot. They usually have a keyword domain, lots of keyword-rich internal linking, and heavily optimized title tags and body content. Their link portfolios will be heavily optimized as well. But their content is weak, their value proposition is low, they’re obviously —to human observers —only ranking because of their SEO. The upcoming over-optimization penalty would theoretically change the playing field so that sites with great content and higher user value rank above sites with excessive SEO.

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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