While big artificial intelligence changes are supposedly to arrive into Google search results in the near future, there might be another important issue site owner should pay more attention to- Doing too much SEO may actually hurt the site’s rankings.
Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable caught a statement from Google’s spam team leader, Matt Cutts, at SXSW on Saturday March 10th where he was disclosing that the search team is about release a new algorithm to target overly SEO websites (pretty surprising that nobody caught it until now).
During the “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!” Q&A session with Bing’s Duane Forrester and Google’s Matt Cutts (and hosted by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan), some person asked how do the search engines are planning to deal with (if at all) websites that can afford spending a lot of money on SEO and ranks above smaller however more relevant sites.
As a response, Matt Cutts answered that even though usually they aren’t revealing any roll out of a new algorithm before the actual launch, few engineers on his team are working on something to bring some more balance by handling with overly SEO sites. This update suppose to roll out in the next few weeks or months.
Here’s the exact full quote by Matt Cutts about this issue:
“But what about all the people that sort of optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. Normally we don’t pre-announce changes but there is something we have been working on in the last few months and hopefully in the next couple months or weeks to release it. The idea is basically to try level the playing ground a little bit.
So all those people who are doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly doing their SEO compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site. We want to make this playing field a little bit more leveled.
We try to make GoogleBot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adoptive, and we are also start to look at for those who abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on a page, or whether they exchange way too many links or whatever they are doing to go well beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area and this is something continue to pay attention and we continue to work on.
This is an active area where we’ve got several engineers on my team working on that right now.”
It is important to understand that in Google’s ideal world there won’t be any need for SEO (as Matt also saying in the session) and so, with small baby-steps they are trying to advance towards this “utopia”. In fact, almost three years ago Matt Cutts already discussed in a video about this over optimization issue.
But now unlike back then, it seems that Google has a better “toolbox” to assess and analyze websites and consequently to penalize (in one way or another) websites that are using excessive SEO. My only suggestion for site owners is to focus on providing great quality content and not great SEO…
Whenever I will have more information about this topic I will keep you posted. In any case, here’s the full audio of the Q&A session (this issue is about 15 minutes from the beginning):