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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?

 

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.

sundaridevi




msg:4430625
 6:24 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

I think it should be pretty easy to be 99% sure that the company account and the bogus account are tweeting from the same computer.

lucy24




msg:4430636
 7:26 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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.

That was my reaction to the very first post. Doesn't it all simply mean that the SEO guys will have to learn a new set of rules?

Play_Bach




msg:4430646
 7:59 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

@lucy24

Yes, I think we're on the same page on this. It's not unlike levels of mathematics - SEO know calculus, webmasters know algebra, civilians (some) can add and subtract. The idea that the SEOs are going to lose the ranking war is ludicrous at best.

reseller




msg:4430656
 9:06 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Even in a best-case scenario, I understand Matt Cutts announcement as indication of a standard Google Webspam Team operation aimed in particular at sites which are in breach of Google's quality guidelines [support.google.com...] .

I.e its just business as usual for Google Webspam Team, no mor no less. I just wonder whether such announcement deserves the big publicity and attention it is receiving at the moment! Publicity stunt?

netmeg




msg:4430669
 11:04 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Note that Google didn't make an announcement, someone just happened to note it as a result of a question at SXSW.

(I'm one of those SEO "guys". I'm not particularly worried)

jstover77




msg:4430672
 11:26 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

I manage over 200 clients with my SEO service. They started actually cracking down on "over optimization" mid January. Well let's just say they started getting more aggressive around those dates. Now it seems that every week a couple of my clients get hit with this algo update.

Many of my clients order other services on top of mine and are pretty aggressive with their link building, much to my chagrin. Most common factors I see causing loss of ranking are:

- link velocity spikes out of nowhere and then varies up and down with extremes. Not steady growth in links
- paid network links (most common). Public SEO networks are getting hammered, and they should.
- spammy blog commenting and profile linking
- anchor text diversity is poor.

I have only seen a couple of sites that I couldn't figure out what caused the drop.

So unless something even more crazy is in the pipeline, Matt Cutts is BSing everyone. This has already been set in motion and has been for a couple months now. Just check any of the more blackhat boards and you will see threads all over the place discussing this.

The only thing that worries me about this is, now you can easily penalize your competitors websites if you know what you are doing. If it stays I can see a lot of Blackhaters running negative SEO campaigns.

Never a dull moment with Google.

Whitey




msg:4430707
 2:16 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Publicity stunt?

Advance notice, i think , nothing more.

Folks need to be sharpening their focus a bit ahead of the release as it's something to some degree within their control.

Some elements of de optimization were likely on the radars of webmasters post Panda anyway, and to some extent the "quality" angle is ongoing works. Just as with Panda - folks are reluctant to make cuts or changes that will likely result in self inflicted loss of traffic in order to make remedy for the long terms.

But i wouldn't waste time pointing fingers and cursing Google. Better to be more productive and use this an opportunity - even if it's stressful waiting for the bombs to land. Do what's within your power and make preparations.

tedster




msg:4430725
 4:11 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Any Google rep speaking in public these days does have PR in mind. However, to write off any information as "just PR" is to risk a lot. Especially in this case (not an "announcement" or press release, but a conference Q&A session with webmasters) I'm sure the informational intention far outweighs the PR spin.

When the Historical Data patent was first released and discussed here, many members said it was "just PR". Over the next months and years, it proved to be a real component of the ranking algorithm.

If you choose just to tune out these communications, then you may be crying the blues even louder in a few months. It's a lot better to get this kind of advance notice than silence.

viggen




msg:4430737
 6:16 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sure you can, but it would be much more difficult to make a social mention go viral.

...we are in charge of over 200 companies social media outlets, i can make 100 shares with a click of a button to spread gradually with artificially emulated spikes over the course of 48 hours...)

sundaridevi




msg:4430746
 6:57 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

...we are in charge of over 200 companies social media outlets, i can make 100 shares with a click of a button to spread gradually with artificially emulated spikes over the course of 48 hours...)


Great! They want SEO and you sell it. In my case making content turned out to be more worthwhile. I guess there are situations where it's not so easy to make relevant content.

reseller




msg:4430756
 7:46 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Note that Google didn't make an announcement, someone just happened to note it as a result of a question at SXSW.

Especially in this case (not an "announcement" or press release, but a conference Q&A session with webmasters)


If you listen carefully to what Matt Cutts said you would notice that he himself used the terms "We" and "pre-announce". I.e Matt Cutts was announcing on behalf of Google. Take a look and judge for yourself.

Matt Cutts said:

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.

internetheaven




msg:4430789
 11:00 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO - versus those making great content and great site.


Yes Google ... because it is that simple in your overly massive yet closed and cotton wool filled mind.

And what about the sites with great content that have hired SEOs to try and fix their site to fit with all the rules you keep spouting? If Google tanks you for not following their rules and you try and fix your site to fit in with their strict rules ... they'll tank you again? Wow.

I'm with ponyboy96:

I wish they would just get it over with already and kill organic results.

santapaws




msg:4430796
 11:31 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

does anyone recall when they said they dont mind ontopic link exchanges because it helps keep their results relevant? around 2004ish i think.

UK_Web_Guy




msg:4430803
 11:47 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

jstover77 - I'm with you on your observations.

In my opinion what Matt was eluding to was an "ongoing" project that has been being worked on for a couple of months and would roll out over the next few months, next few weeks -

I've noticed sites in my industry that have been "getting away" with overdone seo, namely over agressive back links, since the turn of this year have been given a slap.

I think they are just having a bit of a clamp down as they've been letting people get away with too much the past 12-18 months.

I think this is a manual project as well, which is why it takes "several engineers", "months" & "weeks".

I don't think Matt was bs'ing though - I think all the speculation on this board is just interpreting what he said in several different ways, which is just a fact of life..

StoutFiles




msg:4430819
 12:37 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Will it target the MFA sites who get by on the fact that their domain name is a great keyword? That's the ultimate SEO right there.

londrum




msg:4430842
 1:38 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

the aim of the game is to get to the top of the SERPs. but they dont want anyone to try and do it. we cant pay for links (which are just ads), we cant pay for SEO anymore either?

if google was in charge of football, they'd penalise teams for trying to score a goal. they'd penalise teams for spending money on players too. no one is allowed to get to the top of the league by spending money. its all brand names and social. google would just decide who won by counting up the number of fans

graeme_p




msg:4430846
 1:48 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

And what about the sites with great content that have hired SEOs to try and fix their site to fit with all the rules you keep spouting?


What rules? Most of Google's webmaster guidelines etc. are what a reasonably well designed site would do, or are specifically designed to fight spam.

The main problems are grey areas and the unpredictability of manual reviews when they are used.

Rockyou




msg:4430849
 1:53 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well i am in a kind of figure it all situation, I almost have search engine algo in my mind. For 6 years in row my traffic is heavily up on very competative single word keywords. Don't worry about Google, worry about your Users. Pandas will be frozen forever.

StoutFiles




msg:4430851
 1:57 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

no one is allowed to get to the top of the league by spending money.


You can spend plenty of money on Google AdWords, just as long as your landing page isn't MFA. All the top search results are sites paying for ads, then the big brand names, and then finally the sites fighting for scraps. The sites that had great SEO could compete with the brand names without spending money, but it seems no longer.

kurzo




msg:4430866
 2:30 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hopefully an end to the EMD's - Google in the past never used the domain name as much of a factor, but it seems in the past 2-3 years it can be a huge factor. I have seen results where the first page is dominated by keyword domains and crap content.

achean




msg:4430871
 2:49 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there a consensus on whether 'attribution' links are likely be interpreted by Google as over-optimization? We provide content to sites via a partnership program. As part of that program, large numbers of links can be created almost instantly when a new partner gets set up, since partners typically add us to many pages. Those links come in two types:

  • Type 1) is a redirect that references our site in the URL (for reporting/measurement purposes), but redirects to other sites. These URLs are blocked on our end via Robots.txt, since we're not trying to game the system or get credit for them.
  • Type 2) is an attribution link that reads like 'Content ABC provided by XYZ.com', and always ties back to our index page. Those links are not blocked or tagged in any way, since they reflect a real business relationship between our site and the partners in question.

    So, do people think the type 2 links are legitimate or a lightening rod for penalties? Are we still going to get dinged for the type 1 links, even though we're blocking them?

    All input is much appreciated.

  • netmeg




    msg:4430883
     3:30 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    Does that sound like natural linking to you? It doesn't to me. 'Course, I'm not Google.

    achean




    msg:4430885
     3:44 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    @netmeg I hear you, but what is 'natural' vs not? It's totally legitimate from a business standpoint. There is a substantive relationship in place, and we're not trying to hide or manipulate anything, so why shouldn't we do it that way?

    We'll kill the Type 2 links if it's clear they'll lead to a penalty or are not otherwise creating value, but not because they're spammy or manipulative.

    If we get penalized for the Type 1 links, despite the fact that we're blocking them via Robots.txt to eliminate the possibility that we're benefiting inappropriately, is the answer just 'don't do business that way'?

    santapaws




    msg:4430886
     3:51 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    perhaps they mean old signals are swamping new signals. For example old anchor text signal still out-weighing social signals. They dont seem to take much notice of whats actually on the page other to find something to penalise, good content on its own wont rank, so im wondering if they are still just looking to dampen old signals which still play too strong for their new vision. When they say they want good content to rank over seo, thats al wella nd good, except they dont actually recognise good content, only the signals that MAY point to it. Baby and bath water come to mind since panda.

    rlange




    msg:4430896
     4:06 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    UK_Web_Guy wrote:
    You can read into comments several ways, I bet GoogleGuy ... is laughing at how much noise a few comments of his are making.

    I don't know if I'd be laughing; I'd be disconcerted. What I saw in the first two pages of this thread was a frenzy of venom-spewing and paranoia, like a bunch of teenage conspiracy theorists raging against "the government".

    londrum wrote:
    if google was in charge of football, they'd penalise teams for trying to score a goal. they'd penalise teams for spending money on players too. no one is allowed to get to the top of the league by spending money.

    The metaphor isn't perfect, but I see it more as a crackdown on the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. SEO itself is a performance-enhancing drug.

    It's my personal opinion that search engines need to do everything they can to limit the effectiveness of SEO, because I feel that the increasingly aggressive application of SEO will create an increasingly unnatural web, if it hasn't already.

    --
    Ryan

    santapaws




    msg:4430902
     4:14 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    Pperhaps more of a crackdown on strong supplements rather than anabolics?

    SnowMan68




    msg:4430905
     4:16 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    It's my personal opinion that search engines need to do everything they can to limit the effectiveness of SEO, because I feel that the increasingly aggressive application of SEO will create an increasingly unnatural web, if it hasn't already.


    and Google's brand bias isn't already doing this?

    sftriman




    msg:4430907
     4:18 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    @sundaridevi Can you point me to some WebmasterWorld thread or another resource that explains the point penalty notion for Twitter? That's the first I ever heard of that, and it occurs to me that it might be affecting my site!

    reseller




    msg:4430910
     4:30 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    I think it would be very sad if Matt Cutts announcement mentioned in this thread (which I refered to as publicity stunt) would result in polarization in the search industry, something like:

    Matt Cutts Vs SEO Specialists

    Or

    Matt Cutts Vs Savvy Webmasters


    That would be very sad indeed.

    netmeg




    msg:4430913
     4:41 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

    is the answer just 'don't do business that way'?


    You can do business any way you want. So can Google. Every action has a reaction.

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