by Nathan S
The Google algorithm looks as though it might be undergoing another change, in the same spirit as the recent “Panda” updates. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s spam team, discussed the possibility of a new update strives to, “level the playing field a bit,” by punishing web sites which are deemed to be “over-optimized” by Google’s search engine spiders. This occurred at the recent SXSW conference in Austin, TX.
It remains to be seen what, precisely, over-optimized means. However, with only Mr. Cutts’ words and a rough idea of how SEO updates generally have been going, I offer the following predictions. Guesses, really:
- Keywords in Content: Google may be referring to a stricter keyword density trigger in their algorithm, such that a site with numerous instances of same or similar keywords raises more of a “red flag” at a lower threshold. This will have the effect of de-emphasizing keyword frequency further in content. In fact, it might even be the case that if the webpage says a certain phrase more than once or twice, it will be automatically “killed” for searches on that term. This means that we have leveled the playing field between those who have targeted a specific subject and those who merely touch on it.
- Meta Data: If we take Matt Cutts at his word on a very literal level, that he wants to level the playing field between people who optimize their websites and people who don’t, then this must mean that meta data will become less important after the update. Since meta data is one of those elements that the average user never sees, it is also the case that people who do not optimize their sites never consider this data. As such, if we are to level the playing field between optimizers and non-optimizers, we must remove meta data from the Google algorithm’s calculation. Moreover, the algorithm will punish people who try to “sneak” keywords into their meta data.
- Backlinks: Link-building has always been a central part of SEO strategy. The idea is that, by successfully distributing your work to various people, you establish yourself as an authority in a given subject. Google may tighten the standards for what qualifies as a “good” link, and remove from consideration anything which does not fit this list. For example, Google may decide that the following are all “good” links:
- Google Places
- Google AdSense
And the following are all “bad” links:
- Independent Blogs
- Corporate Websites
After all, an individual who is well-connected within their community has an unfair advantage over those who do not have such a connection.
What other definitions might Google have for “over-optimized” websites?