25 Apr 2012

Advice: Google Over Optimization Webspam Update

Jim’s thoughts on the Google Over Optimization Webspam Update


Google’s updating, look for a few minutes, then get back to work. The sky really isn’t falling, Google’s just going through some growing, and we might have to feel some of the pains.

Lee point over to Matt Cutts, where Matt mentions:

…we are constantly working to improve our algorithms and scoring. Some changes are hardly noticed at all. Some changes are more visible. Some changes have nothing to do with spam. Some changes do try to decrease spam or increase core quality. (shortened by Jim)

Just to give you a heads-up, I think a new set of backlinks (and possibly PageRank) will probably be visible relatively soon; I’m guessing within the next few days. I still expect some flux after that though, just to let you know.

The Insanity started, and will continue for a while, and will repeat itself again and again – you’ve got to keep in mind that these things will happen.

When Google goes through changes, people instantly think of “What could I be doing wrong with my current efforts”. Then everything that everyone is doing gets called into question.

Here’s some popular theories that pop up every time there’s a shift in rankings.

Having newspaper links
Not being in the news
Buying links
Not buying links
Having site-wide links
Having homepage links
Having footer links
Link trading
3 way linking
Not having enough content
Having too much content on page
Adding 200 pages in 1 week
Deleted 200 pages in 1 week
Not adding pages in a year
Updating too often
Not updating enough
Posting links in forums, guestbooks, blogs
Not having links from those in the community
Joining a link network
Not having enough links
Google doesn’t like me
Google wants us to spend money on Adwords
….I could go on and on and on and on.

That’s not to say that any of the above could ever be a cause, it’s just that everyone will start to question the common techniques, and start the game of “blaming” shifts on some one thing.

I’d look at what Google might be trying to achieve in the top 10 results, and that will give you some clues as to what Google might be looking for, and just how little tweaks in their algorithm can cause such havoc in rankings. I’d also follow it by looking at link networks, the way Google might strive towards.

Before you jump to conclusions about analyzing any 1 site, analyze the top 10 and see the merits of what those sites have going for them, and try to fit those lessons with you SEO plan. The only thing guaranteed in this business is that as search engines change, so must SEO techniques evolve.

Let the insanity begin, meanwhile, you can find us working.


History Tends to Repeat Itself

Here’s the funny thing….everything above is exactly what I wrote, word for word, in my blog post titled “Changes and Paranoia – the sky is falling” which I wrote on October 22, 2005.

Though I was talking about another update from back in 2005, it’s the same thing today with the Google Update called the Over Optimization Update or the Webspam Algorithm Update. Google updates are not a new thing…nor are the ideas of “what Google might be looking at with this update”…..things like hidden text and reciprocal links…or any links, and the such, have been talked about for over a decade with every update that happens…with several Panda updates, Blog networks getting hit, and now the over optimization or webspam Google update, it’s starting to turn into a blur of updates now…each with their own type of “problem” that they’re trying to fix…each tweak of the Google algorithm knob will have “positive effects” and each tweak will also bring some “collateral damage” (of course, everyone assumes they must be the collateral damage…but even if they are )…some percent of those will be fixed in the coming months…….it’s the same news every month…and my advice is still the same as I gave almost 7 years ago…

Sure, I’m expecting some of our clients to be affected (after all, most of our clients are also doing SEO themselves, or with others, and have been for years…and if even 3% of our clients are affected, we’ll still be analyzing patterns that are similar to each other)….we do have a nice advantage in that we’re working with and monitoring hundreds of websites…so we tend to have more data than those people who have only a few sites to compare with to try to find possible reasons for the changes…..with only 1 site a lot of those people start guessing at what the causes are, and thus solutions….and sure, we’ll be analyzing this update to best make recommendations to anyone…in fact, if you feel you were affected, feel free to email my first name @imninjas.com with the subject line of “Over Optimized site www.site.com ” and I’d be happy to include your site in our analysis..and any findings, I’ll be sure to share with you…when I have them…but first, I want to sit back….keep going as usual….see where the dice land, keep working, analyze common things between sites that were hit, read the writings in webmasterworld, SEOBook, SEOMoz, SERoundtable, and others, and work to continue to give Google what it needs to get sites exposure through search…it’s business as usual. In this game, if you can’t deal with changes, then you won’t last. Every change Google does is an opportunity, and this is just another opportunity to adjust and learn, so that others can benefit from what is learned….it’s just another day of SEO 🙂

I’m Feeling Lucky,
Jim