Matt Cutts recently announced at SXSW Interactive that Google will now be penalizing website that are over optimizing. The reason for this according to Cutts is that sites that have too much SEO are being ranked over other sites that might actually be higher quality but have little to no optimization.
Here is what Matt Cutts had to say about this new penalty:
“Normally we don’t pre-announce changes, but there is something we’ve been working in the last few months and hopefully in the coming weeks we hope to release it. The idea is basically to try to level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have 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 are trying to level to playing field a bit. We try to make the GoogleBot smarter, try to make our relevance more adaptive, so that if people don’t so SEO we handle that. And we are also looking at the people who abuse it, who put too many keywords on a page, exchange way too many links, or whatever else they are doing to go beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
So does this mean you should be getting rid of SEO? Absolutely not. SEO is still a strong and crucial foundation for your business and its online presence.
The aspect to understand is that SEO will continue to evolve, in part because of technology shifts, search engines updating their algorithms, but also because the Web never stops changing. People consume information differently and people expect different results in search.
Should you be afraid of this over optimization penalty? Only if you are not confident enough in what your website has to offer users. A website that has high quality content should not be afraid of using SEO to drive traffic.
Google Panda is stressing content more than ever, instead of making changes based on fear of penalties. Make proactive decisions for your website. Start writing better content, utilize clean web design, and become more social.