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Categories: SEO

Since my last post about Google Algorithm Update February 2012 – Link Evaluation, Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on search engine ranking penalty for “Over Optimized” sites. You can listen to the audio clip from Search Engine Land where Matt Cutts mentioned the penalty, or just take a look at the transcript extracted below:

“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.” – Matt Cutts

Over Optimization

As usual, it is a rather ambiguous statement without telling you how much is too much. However, we shall see significant move in SERPs in a few weeks or months.

I am not sure if Google is currently implementing or testing, but one of my blogs was hit and a lot of keywords were sandboxed. On top of that, Build My Rank was shut down today due to the major de-index of their network by Google. It seems like Google is catching and hitting hard to a number of blog networks.

Now, Matt Cutts announced the latest penalty for “over-optimized” sites, which overwrites his previous statement in a video in 2009 about over optimization, where you can watch below:

I don’t have much clue regarding the SERPs move at the moment since they are still implementing or in the testing phase. However, I am sure this round will be BIG hit!

So, if you purely rely on search engine traffic, this should be a wake up call or a good warning that it is time to diverse your traffic source. Diversification of either traffic sources or money sites is always a good thing in my opinion. Just like to invest in share, never put all your investment amount into a single portfolio. No matter how bright the future of the company is and how fantastic the financial position of the company, just don’t put all eggs in one basket to be on the safe side.

Fortunately, there are still many alternatives such as video marketing, article marketing, forum marketing, social marketing, paid traffic etc… apart from search engine traffic, which people can tap on and harness the power from them.

As I mentioned in my early posts, I am currently into video marketing and testing out banner advertising and other paid traffic sources. The potential of just video marketing and banners are huge! And these are a lot bigger than organic traffic, which is limited by the search volume. So, my plan is to carry on with my traffic sources and do the most feasible SEO practice to siphon some organic traffic from the search engine in addition to my current traffic sources. However, I will just treat these organic traffic like a bonus, i.e. if I get it, it will be awesome! If not, life goes on…

Your Voice

What is our view about the Google penalty for “over-optimized sites”? What’s your plan to mitigate the risk of your business? Feel free to leave a comment below to share your view.

To Your Success,
Ming Jong Tey

31 Responses to “Over-Optimization Penalty By Google?”
Read them below or add one

  1. Sanjay says:

    What is defination of over optimization , for my point of view its a black hat seo practice because we are doing according to google guidelines , purchasing backings will be going to be punished in near future.
    Merry Christmas

  2. Ivan Aliku says:

    Whao! I just hope I don’t fall a victim. I have been doing SEO safely though but we never can tel what GoogleBots may see as wrong promotion. I’m yet to resume video marketing and yet to also put up a press release but I’ve had some articles online. I feel I’m safe but would need to cover other relevant grounds for SEO purposes. Thanks for these tips.
    Ivan Aliku recently posted..4 Tips to Attracting More Visitors and Making Them Return to Your Blog

  3. This is a business opportunity. Along the lines of the ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.’ Another company examines content and approves with numbers of stars. It has its own access directory for these sites. Best to have the Company comment about WHY this site has X number of stars. If it’s done right, people would skip Google and go there. It would have fewer choices but no garbage.

    My site is all content, totally relevant to everyone’s life, and not optimized at all because I don’t know what it is, and can’t hire anyone who doesn’t wreck the site, so I gave up. Sites like this should benefit. I have not. Maybe Google doesn’t even reach it, dunno.

    My observation is that Google wants to send traffic to directories that charge money. It must have a profit motive there.
    Emily Sandsrom recently posted..Our Daily Spread July 2, 2012 Monday©

  4. Ming Jong says:

    I have seen a lot of junk comes out from bigger sites. Are they quality and useful content? In my opinion, not necessary….Although some of them are decent and I love it. However, most of them are rewarded because others are penalized plus they are big site…

    Getting traffic from Google is awesome but is way too risky if that is the sole traffic source. My take on is to keep providing decent content and build a list that will come back again and again~!

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Ming Jong recently posted..Get Tons of Traffic From Press Release

  5. I don’t see that good content is being rewarded at all. Junk comes up more than it did before, especially junk from bigger sites and directories, PAID junk.

    I have the pluperfect ‘good content’ site. It has no SEO because I don’t know a thing about it, and every day I write seven- to nine- hundred totally original words. Relevance? – it’s all about life, how it happens, types of people, and what YOUR day will be like. It has not received anything from Go-ogle, not that I feel entitled to it.
    Emily Sandsrom recently posted..Our Daily Spread June 26, 2012 Tuesday(c)

  6. alex says:

    Well if Google gonna start to penalize site that overuse SEO then no site will be safe so anybody can hurt your site ranking using negative SEO , if you are think that Google decision is good to penalize site for overuse SEO to provide users better experience which you think it will help you to rank your site higher if you have better quality content then your competition, if you think like that then you are definitely out of your mind because if your site is ranked higher then your competition, then somebody can easily just sent couple of thousands spammy links to your single page using same anchor and Google will penalize you for over optimization regardless how good and quality your site is to the users you still gonna be penalized for overuse SEO …
    Google has forced the relevance of negative SEO, If Google wants to be aggressive and careless with their penalties, then we need to show them this is easier to exploit than link building manipulation…stupid decision by Googles recent algorithm change, If they’re willing to penalize sites so easily, this is what the SEO will turn into…

    • Ming Jong says:

      @alex: You raised an important point, which is negative SEO. In 2009, Matt Cutts addressed this concern in the video (see the video above) to assure that negative SEO won’t work. Yet, he is announcing the penalty recently. Negative SEO will be a never ending war and Google understand this as well… So, just need to wait if this is just some smoke from Google mouth…
      Ming Jong recently posted..How To Get Backlinks To Rank A New Site – The Right Way

  7. Elena Anne says:

    It is so true you should not be saturating your posts and website with keywords. The best thing to do is to just use the keyword like a normal human being would, and give good content. I think people get too caught up in SEO.

  8. Becca says:

    Most sites that doing too much optimization are using software tools to get more back links fast. This may be bad news for them but good news to some sites that taking the time and effort to build links using white hat and creating quality content.

    • Ming Jong says:

      @Becca: As I mentioned, quality content is a must so I don’t want to link the quality content with SEO since content are meant for human. If the crappy site rank on the first position on the front page, it won’t get any reward. Unfortunately, there isn’t any guideline from Google about link building because they don’t encourage that, lol…So, all people can do is to work backward to optimize the site.
      Ming Jong recently posted..Facebook Pages Timeline – Are Your Fanpages Ready?

  9. shenoyjoseph says:

    i have seen many blogger friends who have penalized by google due to over optimization for their blogs. :)
    shenoyjoseph recently posted..How to Install Official Android ICS 4.0 XXLPQ Firmware on Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100

    • Ming Jong says:

      @shenoyjoseph: Actually, I am not sure if Google are implementing the penalty yet as according to Matt Cutts, it will be in weeks or months… The drop of ranking recently could be due to the de-index of lots of blog network (think about hundreds or thousands of links disappear over night…) Anyway, I’m watching closely for action of penalty :)
      Ming Jong recently posted..Article Builder Review

  10. richard says:

    This is the danger in using black hat or grey hat tactics in SEO. Google wants to tweak their algorithms so that people are encouraged to focus on the quality of their content, rather than trying to game their system with off site seo. I think that as long as the SEO tactics are not overly aggressive, it should be ok. The changes will primarily focus on the aggressive practitioners.
    richard recently posted..Save Money With Affordable Health Insurance

    • Ming Jong says:

      @richard: As I mentioned to Chris above, quality content is a must and we all know that by only proving great content and let Google handle for the rest is not enough. De-index of some blog networks will certainly scare away some people, but in my opinion, this will not be their ultimate solution. However, I do like to see the effect of “penalty” for over-optimized (if they are not already doing) because de-index of blog network certainly will impact on the ranking of the sites that utilize them but I will view it as different from “penalty”.
      Ming Jong recently posted..Google Algorithm Update February 2012 – Link Evaluation

  11. Chris says:

    Great post Ming. I don’t think it’s a bad thing what Google is trying to do. It’s going to make everyone have to raise their game and make better quality sites. The sites made on poor foundations are crumbling.


    Chris recently posted..Comment on Financial Freedom – The Start by Chris

    • Ming Jong says:

      @Chris: Hi Chris, our big brother is always in the position to provide “quality user experience”. Since it is their interest to protect their search algorithm, they will never tell you how to optimize except writing good content and let them do the rest, which we all know is white lie… Quality content is a must as ultimately it is for humaan to read. We will know in time Google definition of “Over-Optimized” :)
      Ming Jong recently posted..Linkvana Review Plus Case Studies Results

  12. I think no more search engine optimization needed ! Great news for those unique writers and bloggers.What will be the future of SEO experts ?
    Suhanesh Madav recently posted..Get All Travelling Information At One Place With Dcovery App

  13. I’ve just seen Google announce new Google Panda update today and it impacts over 1% of searches. I think this is a good move to stop spammy and over optimized one.
    Tuan @ TechWalls recently posted..Google Semantic Search Preview and Solutions for SEO

  14. A great move from Google … Hope better sites rank much higher after this update
    Salman @ Technology Blog recently posted..Resistive vs Capacitive Touch Screen

  15. We still not know the denifition “over optimized”. But it’s like something that Google not sure to do.

    As adsense publisher, every week/month, we get email from adsense blog about how to optimized our site. But know Google want to penalize because of over optimized ?? Really awkard.
    Steven | recently posted..Street Fighter X Tekken WordPress Theme

  16. Amit says:

    Over of anything is bad same with optimization ..Thanks for that
    Amit recently posted..Top Ten Alternatives to wordpress

  17. Andy says:

    I’m trying a really white-hat approach on my projects, so I guess I’m really looking forward to the new update, hoping it will swipe some of my competition away! ;)
    Andy recently posted..Kreisrunder Haarausfall

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