Anyone who has made sure their sites are as search engine optimised as is humanly — or mechanically — possible should be quaking their boots right about now. Google has announced a major algorithm change that is going to penalised overly optimised websites. (Are you sweating yet?)
This change comes on the back of another algorithm change made recently where Google blocked search results from the co.cc domains.
Google Engineer Matt Cutts explains the change as follows: “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.”
But what constitutes an overly optimised site?
Websites that have engaged in any of the following could be affected by the new change when it is released:
- Too many keywords on a page
- Have way too many backlinks to their site
- Are not providing relevent content that solves a problem
While these are just three examples of what constitutes overly optimising a website, it does raise a few questions about what Google is doing to its Search Engine as well as what message it is sending.
Right, so firstly I think we can all say that this will actually be a welcome algorithm change. For too long now have I been, personally, fed up with clicking on search results from the top half of page one in Google SERPs. This deprioritisation of overly optimised sites means that the results that I am going to get are going to be far more relevant and content rich.
Secondly we cannot discount the fact that now this might open the door for lesser SEO companies to make a quick buck. There might be a little wiggle room for these companies who have not done great SEO jobs on their clients sites to see those sites moving up the rankings — by chance… This will mean that companies will have to be even more careful about choosing their SEO providers.
Some things to think about when choosing your SEO provider:
- How much relevant content are they going to add each month
- What is their link building strategy
- What is their major focus in terms of SEO? If it is not content — RUN
- Check their track record and ask for 3 references in different industries
Lastly, what will Google prioritise in this algorithm change?
My gut feeling is that there will undoubtedly be a move towards even more social factors being a major ranking factor. This is, after all, the route that the search giant took in its last set of major updates. It only makes sense that there would be even more bias in that direction.
Only time will really give us an indication of how it is going to go, but there are definitely going to be a lot of unhappy clients and angry SEOs after hearing this news.