Yesterday I was talking about the “over optimization” update that had everyone talking. Then later in the day Google launched an algo change that has people freaking out. Here is the scoop:

The new algorithm went live yesterday and Google said they expect it to impact about 3% of English search queries

Side note: I’m hearing a lot of angry talk that the impact is greater and sites that shouldn’t have been impacted were. We do need to give it a couple days to settle down before we really assess the collateral damage. But so far, there are more questions than answers and people are reporting all over various forums that the quality of the search results is actually worse now. Again, we need to wait and see what happens after things settle down.

  • So back to what Google is saying:

“In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.”

They are making reference to “webspam” which means the usual link schemes, keyword stuffing, cloaking, redirects that are sneaky, duplicate content etc.

According to industry expert Danny Sullivan what’s new here is not the fact that Google is going after these things, but it’s about how they are going after it. They are improving how they detect and weed out these issues.

This all ties into my article yesterday on “over-optimization” and according to Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, Matt Cutts from Google clarified his “over-optimization” statements:

“I think ‘over-optimization’ wasn’t the best description, because it blurred the distinction between white hat SEO and webspam. This change is targeted at webspam, not SEO, and we tried to make that fact more clear in the blog post,”

Matt Cutts was clear that Google has no problem with SEO – it’s spam that they are after. Another quote from Google:
“Our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics….

Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings….

We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites. ”

The problem isn’t with optimizing your site, it’s with participating in “black hat” or spammy practices.

The biggest area I am personally seeing this problem is with link building and networks. There are so many affordable link services out there that are sucking people in and getting them in trouble. You get what you pay for and you want to really think before you jump on board with one of those services. The same with low cost content generation and “mass submission” services that people still seem to be selling and buying.

Your website is your online presence, it’s your office or your store. Would you open a store and then fill it with cheap décor, poor staff and an overall low quality presentation? Most people wouldn’t dream of it. If/when they open a store or office; they understand that how it looks when people walk in or when people see the window display is going to directly impact their results.

It’s the same with your website. You need a quality site and you need quality optimization

Cheap tricks, spamming, manipulating and taking the “easy way” or “shortcuts” to “fast rankings” is no longer optional and in case you thought it was – keep your eye on your site in the coming months and you’ll see the results.

Be sure about the quality of your site and start cleaning up and properly optimizing now. It’s cheaper and quicker to stay ahead of this and ensure you have a quality site rather than getting penalized and trying to pick up the pieces afterwards.

I think it’s important that everyone really hear this message. It’s time to face reality and if you want your site to perform, you need to take the quality of the site and the optimization seriously.