Google to penalize overly optimized web sites

To put it simple: make website for real people, not for the search engines.

overly optimized web sites

In the latest SXSW conference, Google Engineer Matt Cutts gave an ominious preview of things to come in the next algorithm update — a smarter GoogleBot that will penalize overly optimized web sites. The audio clip of Matt’s “little” announcement during the panel discussion was posted by Search Engine Land and the news has sent cold shivers down the spine of SEO specialists everywhere. Here’s a transcript of the audio clip done by Barry Schwartz of Search EngineLand.

What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. 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, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.

This indeed is alarming news for many SEO specialists everywhere, particularly those whose strategies relied heavily on the use of content farms. In my experience, articles produced at such are stuffed with keywords from beginning to end even if they didn’t made sense anymore. On the other hand, this is good news for researchers who are tired of getting spammy results when consulting the all-knowing Google.

What it means for you

If you’ve been churning out quality blog posts one after another, then you can sleep well. But if you’re guilty of stuffing your posts with one keyword after another, then you’re in big, big trouble. It’s time to re-evaluate your content policy and create new guidelines for producing content. Here are some you might like to include:

  • Use keyword in the title but keep it under 70 characters.
  • Mention the keyword once in the beginning, middle, and last paragraphs of your blog posts. Keep keyword density less than 10% of the total word count of the post.
  • Write naturally. Do not insert keywords wherever you want them.
  • Make sure that your keywords are relevant to the topic that you are discussing in your article. If you are writing about your latest island getaway, it’s pretty hard to insert keywords about web design somewhere.
  • Produce content regularly to keep your site within the GoogleBot’s notice and become relevant.