Google’s Matt Cutts has announced that a search ranking penalty is in development, targeting sites that are “over optimised” or “over SEO’d”. This has heralded an impending win for firms that undertake ethical SEO practices and stemming the effectiveness of implementing “black hat” SEO practices.
In a panel at SXSW titled “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!” which also comprised of Search Engine Land’s Editor in Chief and Microsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager of Bing it was revealed that a penalty for the over optimisation of a website had been in development the past few months. With a proposed timeline of being introduced into the search results in April or even within the next few weeks, the main purpose of the penalty was to “even the playing field”. Sites which supply great content for users and engage in “SEO friendly” practices will be rewarded, where sites which lack usability, aesthetic appeal and/or an undesirable user experience due to over SEO will be penalised, relegated or even disqualified from ranking.
In 2009 Matt did a video on over optimisation penalties, stating there were none. Check it out.
Cutts elaborated they were making the GoogleBot smarter, identifying sites which make a great site and content, where inversely, focusing on sites which take advantage of the Bot, such as irregular keyword density and anomalies in heightened link exchange. The organic Google search results have always been a source of an “even playing field” where companies are able to effectively compete online versus competitors who may have a larger offline presence and marketing budget. I believe the introduction of the over optimisation penalty will only encourage the creation of innovative and creatively designed sites, making the online experience an increasingly more pleasurable one. Lets wait and see.