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Google to Target Overly SEOd Sites
graeme_p




msg:4429949
 3:03 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts says:

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.


Article here:

[seroundtable.com ]

Any guesses on what it likely to change?

 

reseller




msg:4430249
 6:40 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Web_speed

To me this sound like a PR stunt aimed at replying concerns of worried higher management.

Agree.

And I think we as SEOes and webmasters shouldn´t consider all what Google´s employees say as "The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth! So Help Me God!" :-)

Whitey




msg:4430254
 7:21 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Excellent - that comment really needs to be emphasized. Please, do not jump in with all kinds of comment unless you have actually listened to the recording.

@tedster - point taken . The original article probably touches a raw nerve and i don't believe was intended to FUD. But there's much more to this audio as you say.

Specifically, on the over optimized site targeting , it's more about redressing the balance of "good content" to "optimized content". Folks writing good content are out ranked by folks using primitive techniques, and ultimately this shouldn't overtake good content. If you take a positive slant on this, then Google is taking steps to encourage webmasters to improve their sites and strengthen the understanding of better signals to be involved with.

There is a section there about results being dominated by brands for both Bing and Google.

Agreed - Worth a listen. A transcript somewhere would have been great.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4430271
 8:47 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder if this will be the end for site like ehow who's every article seems engineered to rank for a specific keyword and is written by non-experts.

What was ok yesterday may not be ok today but may become ok again tomorrow, or not. How are you supposed to build on that kind of foundation?

UK_Web_Guy




msg:4430278
 9:14 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can read into comments several ways, I bet GoogleGuy (sorry I'm nostalgic so will refer to matt by this name!) is laughing at how much noise a few comments of his are making.

IMO, they are already hitting over optimised sites, have been for the past few years, seems to be happening more at the moment, wouldn't surprise me if this "team" that are actively working on this are going from industry to industry which is why he said next few months, then weeks - it will depend on when your industry appears on the list...

In my industry I'm already seeing overly optimised sites taking a knock - so just to re-iterate i think this is an active project that is already underway... i also think it's being done more manually at the moment, but will be used to tweak the algorithm as they go -

hey, it's all just about our opinions, these are just mine

graeme_p




msg:4430310
 12:54 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

There may be a clue in the comment that "several engineers" in Matt Cutts' team are working on it. His team is web spam so the focus of the changes is at least partially there.

It was also interesting that the guy from Bing emphasised behavioural and social factors.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4430313
 1:23 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Graeme the guy from Bing didn't just emphasize social factors, he warned that the boat was leaving and hinted that people didn't have to get on but would be missing out because the conversation was on about you anyway.

You could infer that he is suggesting they want to see you active wherever you visitors are active?

Does anyone still have a site where you spend your time writing on YOUR site only and do not have ANY outgoing links or social profiles? In other words 100% of your time is on your own domain? How's that going for you now?

SnowMan68




msg:4430318
 1:49 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

It was more of a list of "the most important elements for SEO". It was a list that pretty much said your keywords should be in the page title, meta description, meta keywords, h1 tags, bold tags links etc etc. So I did just that. I put Blue widgets in all those key areas. The site did have unique and original content and by all means looking back today it should have ranked!


Since when did putting your keywords in those areas become overly optimized? Were you repeating blue widget, blue widgets, blue widget widgets? I don't get it....

BaseballGuy




msg:4430324
 2:10 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought Google was already dinging "over-optimized" websites....as recently as 2-3 years ago.

So this statement by Matt Cutts means that they were lying? Or is Matt Cutts lying right now to (honest) webmasters in order to appease upper management?

As many people will agree with, the search results have gone done the toilet with Google (long before Panda hit....but when Panda did hit, it became a joke). The only sites that rank right now are major brand names (with multiple brick-and-mortar locations).

The spammers are sitting back right now, flush with millions of dollars in ad money made over the years and when the next Google changes hit (and screw over the good guys who aren't doing anything wrong) the spammers will just regroup and out-do what Matt Cutts is trying to prevent. I have seen it time and time again over the past 10 years: No matter what Cutts does, the honest webmaster winds up getting screwed and the spammers just disappear and then re-appear kinda like that liquid-metal-thingy from the old Terminator movie.

Google is a complete joke and I hope Bing sees this and realizes this is a perfect way to capture market-share. Bing doesn't need a billion-dollar advertising campaign, because once guys and gals like us start seeing that Bing is better than Google, due to the nature of the internet, it will spread like wildfire, all the way down to average mom-and-pop-internet-user.

There will always be a way to game any system out there, and someone will always figure it out. This public press release or whatever it is by Cutts is in my opinion, nothing more than sword rattling. If he had some serious changes under his belt why would he make it public for?

If I have figured out how to finally kill the termite nest in my house, why would I go out and tell my local newspaper so that every person in my town could hear of my accomplishment?

albo




msg:4430354
 3:46 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Correct me. Doesn't this contradict some of the advice Google itself has given in various places, for website designers hoping to make their sites both more useful and more visible? Will analytics or webmaster tools or adsense now suggest to a web designer something like "you haven't done [whatever] and you might want to consider [whatever]"?

I've followed G "new" instructions a couple times only to find that a couple other "automated" page quality testers were NOT amused, but I can understand that "automated" testers can't keep up with G's rowdy changes, so mostly, I'm at a loss for my small-time sites. Not that it matters. Just curious.

SnowMan68




msg:4430360
 3:56 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Correct me. Doesn't this contradict some of the advice Google itself has given in various places, for website designers hoping to make their sites both more useful and more visible? Will analytics or webmaster tools or adsense now suggest to a web designer something like "you haven't done [whatever] and you might want to consider [whatever]"?


Google contradicts themselves all of the time. Think about the adwords suggestions that still continue, even after they introduced the algorithm for excessive ads above the fold.

BaseballGuy




msg:4430361
 4:00 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

[google.com...]

If that link doesn't work, just do a Google search for:

"search-engine-optimization-starter-guide-1.pdf"

...and click on the link from Google.com


I wonder how many of those tenants (that is coming straight from the horse's mouth) Google is going to wipe off the face of the map?


edit: I didn't link it properly. It's an "SEO Guide" put out by Google.

mrguy




msg:4430362
 4:01 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google is a complete joke and I hope Bing sees this and realizes this is a perfect way to capture market-share. Bing doesn't need a billion-dollar advertising campaign, because once guys and gals like us start seeing that Bing is better than Google, due to the nature of the internet, it will spread like wildfire, all the way down to average mom-and-pop-internet-user.
Unfortunately, as much as I want this to happen, it’s going to take a while. Thanks to us, Google is entrenched in people’s minds. It was a grassroots effort of people talking about Google that got them to where they are and because of it many people associate Google with the Internet.

As an example, when I tell my Dad to put a web address into the address bar, his response is “it didn’t come up on the Google so I couldn’t find it”. I then have to spend the next 5 minutes explaining to him that Google is not the Internet.

If anything, all the flack Google is getting over privacy issues and such is what is going to bring them down along with Government intervention for their heavy handed tactics in promoting their own stuff.

BaseballGuy




msg:4430364
 4:15 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

"...along with Government intervention for their heavy handed tactics in promoting their own stuff."


Ma Bell and Baby Bells anyone?


edit: How do I quote what people say? with a ">" or?

netmeg




msg:4430366
 4:22 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

you put a [ quote ] at the beginning and a [ /quote ] at the end but take out the spaces. Like HTML tags, only with brackets instead of <>

netmeg




msg:4430370
 4:30 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ma Bell and Baby Bells anyone?


Yea, that didn't end up working out like they planned.

With all the complaining people do about the crap in the index, one would think they wouldn't all rush to pile on this one.

No, the fact that they say they're targeting OVERLY optimized sites doesn't mean Matt was lying before; geezopete, way to make a leap. It doesn't mean they haven't had parts of the algorithm trained on that all along.

Maybe, just maybe, it means they're still learning from Panda and the other changes, and they see some of the crap that WE see, about sites that rank for tactics and not content or quality, and they're fine tuning it a bit.

Of course they won't get it completely right, and they won't get it the first time, or the next time. Nobody rational would expect them to.

Conspiracy theory is fun, but it's no way to run a railroad.

sundaridevi




msg:4430424
 7:01 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the audio link. That was good! There are a couple of guys (i.e. approx most of the top 10 for one of my key search terms) who have built links the dirty SEO way by trading, buying and paying in other ways. I will be happy to see them get dinged.

I think that if you listen carefully, in Matt Cutts' reply to one question, he subtly tells you exactly what is bad.

Other interesting points that seem to escape this discussion:

"not everybody can be above average"

Bing question: "who thinks they have an awesome website"
Bing answer: You don't.
> without understanding this there is no hope

I also thought there was an extremely strong emphasis on social media. Social is hard to game. So the search engines probably feel it is something they can rely on. Recently, for the first time I hired a guy to do SEO, just really soft, building a few social links. Then I saw that my top site in terms of post panda rankings was getting the same amount of organic social mentions every day. So I took the guy off and put the resources into building top quality content for the sites that didn't have it.

So what is quality content? That's when you have to do DMCA stuff every month...they don't only want to link to it, they want it on their site. It's a sad objective, but a worthwhile metric.

viggen




msg:4430432
 9:39 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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.


...does the one exclude the other?
...and it took them 10 years to figure that one out?

LOL

g1smd




msg:4430439
 9:56 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@baseballguy tenants -> tenets

Darn English language has far too many words. :)

dvduval




msg:4430494
 6:07 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sounds like PEO - Paid Engine Optimization, past tense pronounced "pea owed". If you see your rankings dropping, the next thing that happens is you get PEOed, and that is actually what google is hoping you will do. They want you to stop doing SEO, and engage in the new PEO algorithm where payment is the quickest way to optimize your site. If you are not able to afford PEO, you might want to try a different strategy known as UEO, or Unemployment Optimization.

Just kidding (sort of)

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4430496
 6:38 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you look at Google trends the number of worldwide searches for popular terms like 'computers' has been in decline for years. It also shows that the 5 W questions (what,where...) and 'how to' are on a huge upswing.

People want answers online, give them answers and you'll do well with social.

Moving forward good SEO is about content more than ever.

P.S. the shell shock feeling I had when I first heard this topic has passed, but please Google - slow down with big changes for a bit, too much of my time is being spent learning about changes (40/mnth is Feb alone) and not enough on content.

graeme_p




msg:4430504
 7:06 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Social is hard to game.


You can buy twitter followers and mentions, Facebook likes and fans, Stumbleupon likes etc.

reseller




msg:4430506
 7:27 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts said :
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.


Thats all old news which has been part of Google quality guidelines for ages. Take a look and judge for yourself [support.google.com...] :

- Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

-Don't load pages with irrelevant keywords.

[edited by: reseller at 7:30 am (utc) on Mar 18, 2012]

tedster




msg:4430507
 7:30 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

We work with large scale social data analysis - and I can tell you that false profiles are not that hard to detect. For example: run sentiment analysis on Tweets. Spam profiles almost never show mixed sentiment - they are usually all positive. Other techniques are applicable to other social situations.

This kind of manipulation might fool the average user, but it's not that hard to filter with enough data crunching power.

graeme_p




msg:4430517
 7:54 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

@reseller, so what is new? What is the new rollout

@tedster, so surely it can be made more sophisticated? Just as link buyers now often ask for in-content links, social media spam profiles could easily be negative at random.

Incidentally, Google are definitely mining data from Twitter in some ways. G+ suggested Nina Paley as "someone you may know" and the only connections are 1) I downloaded her brilliant kids cartoon (Sita Sings the Blues) from her site, 2) I mentioned the film (but not her on FB) and 3) I follow her on Twitter. Google cannot know the first (especially as I used the torrent), and the third is much more direct than the first..

tedster




msg:4430528
 8:34 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tedster, so surely it can be made more sophisticated?

Certainly - and in fact we do that ourselves so I'm sure Google does, too. I was just trying to communicate something about how essentially simple the first ring of detection can be (if you have access to good sentiment analysis, at least.) There are many other spam footprints for social data, too.

reseller




msg:4430536
 9:59 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

@reseller, so what is new? What is the new rollout

I have listened to the audio mentioned in this thread where Matt Cutts talk about "too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect." which is old news as I mentioned in my previous post.

I recall Matt Cutts posting on his blog already in 2007 about SEO and keywords stuffing "SEO tip: Avoid keyword stuffing" [mattcutts.com...]

I also recall Matt Cutts posting back in 2007 "How to report paid links [mattcutts.com...]

Above makes me think that it could be that the audio which Barry Schwartz refer to in his article on Search Engine Roundtable is an old one from around 2007 [seroundtable.com...]

That would explain the old information Matt Cutts mentioned in the said audio!

sundaridevi




msg:4430568
 2:35 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can buy twitter followers and mentions, Facebook likes and fans, Stumbleupon likes etc.


Sure you can, but it would be much more difficult to make a social mention go viral. When you have a facebook post that gets shared 50 times and only 5 of them were your fans and some of the shares are & few degrees removed from you, then search engines would recognize this as a vote of confidence. Bing probably has more ability in this area due to their ability to access facebook data. Maybe that's why the Bing guy talked about social so much more.

Most likely a simple first level post is worth much less. Making a StumbleUpon post go viral is even more difficult without really quality content. My conclusion is that you will get a better return on investment by building good content and I think that's the way search engines want to see it.

Incidentally, google has a -100 penalty for tweet spam. Which is to say hourly tweeting the same url over and over again with just a few different tweet text variations. But it only lasts for a week or so. This is not speculation.

tedster




msg:4430587
 4:01 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Above makes me think that it could be that the audio which Barry Schwartz refer to in his article on Search Engine Roundtable is an old one from around 2007

It's from South By Southwest (SXSW) Saturday March 10, 2012 [schedule.sxsw.com...]

patc




msg:4430601
 5:13 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)


Incidentally, google has a -100 penalty for tweet spam. Which is to say hourly tweeting the same url over and over again with just a few different tweet text variations. But it only lasts for a week or so. This is not speculation.


That's a scarily easy way for your competitors to hurt you if it's true.

econman




msg:4430606
 5:33 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thats all old news which has been part of Google quality guidelines for ages.


I think these were just examples Matt threw out as a quick clarification to explain what he meant by intensively SEO'd sites without disclosing too much about their actual plans.

In other words, I got the impression he grabbed these examples in part because they are so familiar -- either because they were the first examples that came to mind, or because wanted to avoid slipping up by inadvertently disclosing any clues concerning the specific data they are using in an attempt to detect excessive/overly intensive SEO.

I doubt the new algorithms are in any way limited to these particular tactics, nor would the algorithms necessarily rely on data related to these particular tactics.

It sounds like they are trying to reduce the benefit sites gain from intensive SEO. It isn't clear what they mean by, or consider to be evidence of, intensive SEO, and it isn't clear whether they want to penalize it, or simply make it ineffective (thereby allowing other sites to move higher).

Play_Bach




msg:4430615
 6:04 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site is certainly not SEOd like some I've seen, I simply don't have the coding skills to be able to pull that off. However, I've been fiddling around with computers since the mid 1970s and I can say this - the human being is not a computer. A creative person can and will find a way to circumvent whatever algorithm Google serves up. Panda may be difficult to crack, but it's not impossible. It's just a matter of time before the Black Hatters figure out what they have to do to survive. In truth, they are probably more motivated than everybody else because ALL they want to do is to win ($$$) and at any cost - morals be damned. They don't and won't give up.

This 207 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 207 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 > >
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