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Let me start with a quick introduction to the recent debate on Over Optimization Penalty for those who live under some sort of information proof bunker and haven’t heard a bit about it. You will probably hear (and notice) the effects of this new discussion once your site loses all its organic traffic. SEO experts will tell you that it is the new Over Optimization Penalty from Google which has pushed your website down on SERPs. Then you will start Googling and probably stumble upon multiple articles that will teach you stuff which by then will hold no meaning just because you were sleeping when you shouldn’t be!
Well, the over optimization penalty is another patch from Google (Bing included for that matter) to save their search results from the smartness of SEO masterminds. Last year it was Google Panda update, before that it was the paid links crackdown and this year it will be the over optimization penalty. This has now become a habit of Google. Whenever there are too many questions being thrown at Google they come up with some patch or other to silent their critics.
Google, by no means, seems interested in totally changing their algorithm architecture. Instead, they have been patching their algorithm to fight those who trick their systems. Soon Google’s search algorithm will be a patch of patches with confusions all around.
Over Optimization is one such patch which Google will crack a whip on websites that concentrate more on SEO instead of content quality. Matt Cutts, Google’s anti-spam chief, hinted the same at the recently held SXSW. Under this new penalty, once effective, Google will penalize websites for abusing SEO tricks. The idea is simple – let content be the king and Google the Demigoddess.
And the idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.
And so that’s the sort of thing where we try to make the web site, uh Google Bot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive so that people don’t do SEO, we handle that, and then we also start to look at the people who sort of abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on the page, or whether they exchange way too many links, or whatever they are doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area. So that is something where we continue to pay attention and we continue to work on it, and it is an active area where we’ve got several engineers on my team working on that right now.
~ Matt Cutts
Well, lately everyone has been writing for search engines and publishing whatever their audience wants to read. That touch of innovative thoughts on articles being generated doesn’t seem to exist.
I am sure that most of you, the content developers, won’t agree with me because I am questioning how you make your living. But, for a moment, forget about it being your job and think.
See, I am not saying that we have stopped writing innovative stuff. All that I am saying is that the innovative quotient in today’s content has gone down. We have become more and more search engine friendly.
Few years back we used to pick up our morning newspapers and skim through the headlines to find whatever was useful for us while sipping our cup of coffee. Gone are those days of newspapers. In this age of Internet we rely on Google News type websites that curate the latest news information. So, what happens is that writers notice a topic which is trending on such leading websites. The result is obvious. All of them start writing about that topic. In no time that particular topic starts trending with other important stuff buried somewhere.
In short, the media ends up shaping the news and forces the readers to read what is trending. Although that is useful for readers, in this process some of the best news is lost somewhere. This must be controlled.
We need to promote the investigative sort of content creation where writers generate new ideas and Google helps those writers stay on top. It is important for writers to write something new and then readers search about that on Google for extra information. It is important for innovation to take over spamming. It is important for honesty to take over technology. It is important for us to stay crystal clear with our readers.
Well, not really. Chill fellow SEOers!
Let us all read two more pointers about Search Engine Optimization. This will help us understand what SEO is and how over the years we have been missing its real definition:
See, as of now Google is trying hard to come up with that perfect search engine algorithm which will index pages that are actually appreciated by readers. For this all that we can do from our side is generate comprehensive content. The rest will be taken care of by Google (and Bing’s small share).
“We’re always trying to best approximate if a user lands on a page, are they going to be really, really happy instead of really, really annoyed? And if it’s the sort of thing where they land on a page and they are going to be annoyed, then that is the sort of thing that we’ll take action on.”
I know, I have written over 1100 words of content which might make no sense if you just skim through it but it will if you read it carefully. For those who are now convinced that the implementation of Over Optimization Penalty by Google makes a lot of sense from the search engine giant’s perspective then for them here is my way out. Let us read it point by point:
Google might not be God but whatever they have created is their own system. You can trick them today but in the long run they will pin you down. After all it is their own arena. They created it. They aren’t losing their own game, right? So put some sense in yourself and have fun.
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Salman Siddiqui is an alpha geek, design guru and seasoned WordPress critic. Writing, for him, started out of ego but it has become the most luring and enlightening career option of his life. He is walking that extra mile for his freelancing dream.