Aggressive, over-optimised sites punished in Google algorithm update

Over-optimisation of websites penalised by GoogleIt’s that time again – Google has rolled out another update designed to spot unnatural link profiles and black-hat tactics, and punish them accordingly, whether with lost rankings or the dreaded Google Webmaster Tools notice.

In yet another panic, we’ve already seen frantic bloggers and forum posts declaring that ‘SEO is dead’ and the sky is falling, all the while peddling their latest fool-proof strategies.

When Panda first hit last year, the first thing we saw was the death of content-farms – sites dependent on masses of articles that offered little of interest to the reader, other than to fuel links, and the gradual removal of spammy sites from search results.

However, this time, Google is going after sites that have over-optimised themselves with aggressive and unnatural SEO.

So what’s changed?

Whilst Google is keeping tight-lipped about the actual signals that will determine how a site is assessed as they “don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users”, it’s clear that the original factors remain the same.

Poor quality, nonsensical and spun content, unnatural link schemes, and keyword stuffing remain ineffective long-term strategies to rank your site, no matter the quantity at which you power them. Essentially, simply by looking at an unnatural profile, Google has been able to manually assess the validity of the site – and with the latest update, intend for the algorithm to mimic this process.

What does this all mean?

Whilst this will only currently affect 3% of search queries, this is undoubtedly a sign of things to come; however with the recent de-indexation of popular public blog networks by previous algorithm updates, there is a feeling of fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding this in the SEO community.

The solution

Just as it always has been, the only true, long-term way to ensure your site performs well is to create compelling content, and produce websites that are optimised for the user experience, not just for search engines.

Link promotion is critical, but balance, naturalness and brand building are key for sustanined success.

Are you worried about over-optimisation on your website?