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Google Is Planning To Penalize Overly Optimized Sites

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-keywords-for-you dept.

Google 299

tekgoblin writes "This is an interesting move by Google but not completely off the rocker for them. Last year they blocked search results from the co.cc domain because they believed they polluted the search results. Google plans to penalize overly optimized sites because they want to level the playing field for other websites who do not concentrate on such efforts. From the article: 'Google Engineer Matt Cutts explains the following: “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.” The search engine at Google is about to go through a major overhaul and de-prioritizing sites with heavy SEO is just a small part in the big picture to bring better search results. The changes to the search engine will be coming in the next few months.'"

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299 comments

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Good (5, Insightful)

heypete (60671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397673)

Too many site owners are worried about SEO strategies rather than producing good content.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397695)

How about somebody mentioning to Google that we also don't want Google+ crap spamming our results...

We shouldn't have to hit page 2 before we start getting useful results.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397743)

See the globe next to the person icon, the one that says "Hide personal results"?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397825)

I have accidentally +1ed so many things. I hate the dratted thing.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397867)

How about somebody mentioning to Google that we also don't want Google+ crap spamming our results...

I mentioned it to them in the "why are you doing this?" box when I deleted my Google+ account.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398053)

I mentioned it to them in the "why are you doing this?" box when I deleted my Google+ account.

You mean "Disabled your account." You don't actually believe they deleted a damn thing, do you?

Re:Good (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398181)

And how in the hell can you function without a Google account? Seriously.

Re:Good (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398191)

Oh, never mind....G+, my flub.

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398299)

You folks logged in when you use Google? I never log in and I never get Google + results. Testing this just now
I searched for "how to sing" not one Google + result and I went in 6 pages.

I'm also not a Google + member (none of the social sites) but that shouldn't matter.

I log in to my Youtube account anytime I need to do anything, then log out. I have one video that's seeing 50000 views a week
and the info on people (those who have logged in or never log out) is quite interesting; allowing one to specialize their spam

BTW: The video mentioned is on a different account, 5 seconds long, and nobody likes it, but it's doing rather well :}}.
Not one item of spam, not even a link to my other site have I placed (outside of the description).
-Citation: youtube search for "How to get a Mob Spawner" by badactorEP, I've left the basic statistics open.

Re:Good (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398449)

You mean "Disabled your account." You don't actually believe they deleted a damn thing, do you?

In this instance, we're talking about Google+ results polluting one's Google search results. I really couldn't care less whether or not they deleted my Google+ circles or whatever - I'm not getting stupid Google+ stuff interjected into my search results, which was my intended goal.

My Google account is still active.

Re:Good (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397899)

Hmm.. if you have too many people in your circles recommending too much crap, you should consider a reorganization of your contacts.

Re:Good (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398031)

How about somebody mentioning to Google that we also don't want Google+ crap spamming our results...

We shouldn't have to hit page 2 before we start getting useful results.

I've seen this complaint here before, but still haven't seen any "Google+ crap" in my search results.

What are we doing differently that is causing you to get all this "Google+ crap spamming" your search results and I don't get any? Maybe there is some setting you've missed or something else you've changed?

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398069)

He's signed up for G+ and +1ed some stuff. This means friends sharing stuff and 'relevant' links similar to what you +1ed. This can be easily disabled with a click of button somewhere close to the search field.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397697)

Amen. And here's to hoping for a swift death to those bottom feeder SEO hacks.

Re:Good (1)

eeek (83889) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398551)

They'll just figure out new ways to game Google's system.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397727)

It used to be that good content was what search engines were looking for. And by producing good (and well organized) content you automatically ended up at the top of the search rankings.
Unfortunately search bots don't actually know what "good content" is, so all they can do is try to work with the bits that they can figure out, and that led to SEO which really ONLY exists to game those algorithms.
This is a good move on google's part. I think one of the big failings of all search engines recently is that they have mostly been accepting SEO rather than fighting it. This leads to lots of garbage sites with good SEO grabbing all the top spots, and makes it very difficult to find really good sites. The smarter they can make GoogleBot the better, I long for a day when the only way to do SEO has the side effect of having to make useful information for human visitors too...

Re:Good (2)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397815)

The smarter they can make GoogleBot the better, I long for a day when the only way to do SEO has the side effect of having to make useful information for human visitors too...

If they can pull it off... http://xkcd.com/810/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397979)

Or have more than one popular search engine, each with a ranking algorithm that is different from the other, different enough that optimizing a site for one search engine would cause that site to get demoted in other search engines. Well I can dream can't I?

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398351)

Is that you again Randall?

I guess you'll have to update your strategy of posting a link in every single Slashdot article.

I recommend some combination of sudo and regex.

Re:Good (2, Funny)

nbauman (624611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397989)

It's like judging teachers by their students' results on standardized tests.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398443)

The smarter they can make GoogleBot the better,

Unless we end up with the GoogleTerminator....."Don't click back!"

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398501)

And this is why I'm eating your lunch right now... it's this attitude, I build a website and the users will magically show up, which makes your comment laughable. As long as you write good content, but don't pay any attention on how your potential visitors will search, which keywords they use, and if your content is findable, dream on to a great success of your website. In the mean time, I'm getting your traffic :)

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397739)

Too many site owners are worried about SEO strategies rather than producing good content.

Surely the reaction to this will be producing good content, and not employing more SEO gurus to circumvent the new weights by dodgy techniques.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397789)

If I had mod points this would be +1 Funny...
SEO is the business of circumventing the proper weighting of search results by "dodgy techniques", it always has been, and always will be.
SEO didn't exist until people realized that bots had specific things they were looking for, and people started putting only those things in instead of writing good content that happened to include those things (what the bot writers originally assumed would be found)
I hope this is the start of a new war by google against the SEO business, one where humans benefit by being able to find sites that are actually relevant.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397877)

I hope this is the start of a new war by google against the SEO business, one where humans benefit by being able to find sites that are actually relevant.

The core of the problem is really that people don't want to hear that their site/content is not relevant on a search term, because for them it is relevant. So they will search for ways of "correcting" this picture, and demand creates supply.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398029)

I hope this is the start of a new war by google against the SEO business, one where humans benefit by being able to find sites that are actually relevant.

I can propose a tactic that might work pretty well: Whenever Google figures out the latest spamming method the SEO people are using, make a list of all the sites that currently do that (ideally in the way that only or primarily the SEO people are doing it), and then give all those sites a long-term decrease in ranking, even if they stop doing that thing. Make it two years before you can get your site back into the higher rankings.

Soon enough everybody will realize that "get SEO" is a synonym for "get your site removed from the first page of results for the next two years" and then finding methods of fooling the Googlebot in the short-term won't matter anymore because no one will be willing to attempt it if they can get slapped with a long-term penalty.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Armakuni (1091299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398239)

The first thing I will do then is buy a number of spammy links to be sent to my competitor's otherwise entirely white-hat site that currently ranks in 1st, thus making sure his excellent site never troubles me again. Meanwhile, he's too honest to do the same to my site, so I benefit. This is called negative SEO and is not new. It's the reason Google haven't done what you suggest.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398203)

Not really, now that people have been gaming the system those with good content now have to practice SEO to stay afloat/visible.

Re:Good (1)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398419)

I think there are those that game the system, and there are those that do it right. I have seen several sites that have too many keywords. They have always been against keyword stuffing. Google tries to focus on getting good results that are relevant to the search. Spam is something that is difficult to filter out. The places that do SEO will still get their business on the first page of Google because they will just work inside of Google's new paramaters.

The places that get penalized, for the most part will get back up on Google simply by changing their tactic. Backlinks are always important, and they will probably just build more backlinks.

There is also a good chance that they will get more involved with social media, like facebook or twitter. Some will post youtube videos and optimize them for their business.

There is no way to keep spammers out but hopefully this reduces it.

Re:Good (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397919)

Surely the reaction to this will be producing good content, and not employing more SEO gurus to circumvent the new weights by dodgy techniques.

Or, in other words, when the best SEO practice ceases to be the best SEO practice, another one will logically spring to the top. "Punishing best-SEO sites" seems to be a logical contradiction.

Re:Good (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398027)

Not a contradiction, just an arms race. If Google remaps the current scoring algorithm so that the best scores are in the middle of the range and high scores are considered garbage, then as long as the field of SEO has to constantly reinvent itself to keep up with Google's mood, you can bet that the vast majority of link farming sites won't be able to keep up. As a result of this, some may even give up, and certainly unmaintained sites with currently-good SEO will become useless. Eventually, of course, Google will have exhausted the twists and turns they can make without compromising utility, but they will have deterred more than a few system-gamers along the way. As long as Google's changes are still useful for humans seeking legitimate pages, this will have a net positive benefit.

Oblig Stephen Jay Gould reference (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398089)

Gould was always very keen to make people understand that evolution does not necessarily involve greater intelligence, strength or complexity as part of "fitness". Google is doing a kind of environmental step change will will result in rapid forced evolution among system gamers. It will be interesting to see which way it turns out: ever more complex strategies trying to game the system, or a reduction to simple but crude techniques.

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397959)

The best way to do this is a catch 22. In order to gain better search results you have to give up search privacy. Using Google 'manage blocked sites' you can start killing off those SEO sites that crud up you search results one by one, catch is you must be logged in.

Google can of course compile those blocked sites, sites that users have decided to permanently toss in the search waste bin and start putting those sites further and further down the results list (associated with broad users types).

Google can even publicly shame offending sites by publishing lists of the most blocked web sites, really sticking it to the SEOs who get carried away with crapping up search results.

To get really good search results, search companies just need to provide the core, the starting point and then allow logged in registered users (no privacy, suggestion here use 2 search engines, one for private and one for public searches) as a distributed effort to rate good and bad results, for general rankings and specific user type rankings

Re:Good (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398233)

Sorry, that's just blacklists all over again for web spam instead of email spam. It won't work in the long run, and I'd rather not give Google a blank check on privacy out of desperation for "relevant" hits.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398559)

Really..? You know how easy it is these days to hire an army of people in third world countries to massively down vote the websites of the competition... Then what..?

Re:Good (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398115)

For the too many keywords issue, male the not only use the first N (maybe 20?) keywords. It would be a trivial change.

Re:Good (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397775)

Or any content at all. I hope Google will at some point figure out a way to promote sites with original content over ones that just repeat content of others. There are still way too many link farms, forum "aggregators" and faux search results pages ("Top results for how do I insert a server farm into a link farmer's rectum") on the first page of many types of Google queries.

Re:Good (2)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397805)

This is great.. I have been running a web application company for the past 14 years. Now days we are drowned out of the search results for certain terms by jackass SEO optimized competitors. The competitors at the top of search results are simply there because that have done things like exchange links with a completely unrelated site. They have a list of 12 or so links in their footer and each of the 12 other sites do the same. None of the sites have anything to with each other. It is surprising that with the amount Google spends on optimization that this would work but it has so far.

With google being pretty much the single dominant search engine this has impacted our business. I was recently considering that we would have to play catch up in this game but now I am just going to wait and see what happens.

Re:Good (2)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397859)

Now days we are drowned out of the search results for certain terms by jackass SEO optimized competitors.

It may be cheaper to buy Google's keyword ads than pay for link fudging efforts to compete. The keyword ads appear on the right side of their usual search results and marked as ads. You "buy" a keyword and a frequency amount (higher frequency = more costs). I used to use this service, and it was relatively effective. (Lately they've moved them to the middle in tan sometimes if a low number of matches.)

Re:Good (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397837)

Yes; to people doing searches, SEO is more often an euphemism for Search Result Pollution.

Re:Good (0)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398011)

Too many site owners are worried about SEO strategies rather than producing good content.

It took me getting half way through the article to realize that they were talking about SEARCH ENGINE optimization. I was like, "why would they want to down rank pages that load quickly and efficiently?"

It's like when someone says that they're an awesome programmer, and can do magic, when all they do is write HTML, and CSS. No, you don't program just because you can write in a formatting markup language.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398293)

Yeah, seriously. When I want content, I want the content, not someone who spent time trying to make their content pop up higher on a search that...

Oh, wait, forgot, this is Slashdot. Have to appease the groupthink. Let me rephrase that:

This is yet ANOTHER example of how EVIL the so-called DON'T BE EVIL company has become! Look, I've got a website filled with unbelievably vital data and information that a very small yet ULTIMATELY important-to-human-life group of people NEED, and for some incredibly esoteric reason I don't have the time to get into here, massive SEO is the ONLY way I have to reach them! So you clearly see how Google is EVIL and hurting the little guy. Evil, remember. Evil.

Not a very good wingman... (5, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397689)

Last year they blocked search results from the co.cc domain because they believed they polluted the search results

So now Google is officially a co.cc blocker.

3rd Parties Need not Apply (-1, Troll)

walkerp1 (523460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397691)

Silly consumer, you have to pay Google for relevance.

Re:3rd Parties Need not Apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397701)

Got a source on that, FUDmonger? Or are you just trying to spread the myth that Google's results are up for sale?

Re:3rd Parties Need not Apply (1)

walkerp1 (523460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397801)

softpedia.com [softpedia.com]

arstechnica.com [arstechnica.com]

redsauce.com [redsauce.com]

Re:3rd Parties Need not Apply (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397871)

I read your first two links and they had exactly zero to do with paying google for search relevance.

Re:3rd Parties Need not Apply (1)

walkerp1 (523460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397917)

I read your first two links and they had exactly zero to do with paying google for search relevance.

Directly? No, that would never stand.

ha (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397703)

You mean content is more important than SEO? Now that's just crazy talk.

Re:ha (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397769)

Does 'content' mean 'number of Google AdWords'?

There is a term for this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397707)

De-Santorumizing.

Re:There is a term for this (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398075)

We have a winner.

content not ads (4, Insightful)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397711)

People want to find the best content, not the best ads. But they shouldn't be penalizing people who have "good seo" such as decent keyword lists. Rather they should be penalizing people with poor content.

Re:content not ads (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397725)

Good SEO often comes at the expense of good content. I don't think this latest development is absolutest. In the end, they want to improve their search results. This is just one piece in that.. among countless other factors.

Re:content not ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397733)

They should be penalizing people for even saying "SEO". Call it what it is, spam.

Re:content not ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397735)

seem there is good correlation between the two, (too) good seo leading to crap with no purpose except gaming the system

Re:content not ads (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397751)

If you have good content, SEO shouldn't be necessary. People have found that you can enhance your ranking by inserting fake or misleading content in the form of keywords, links, and activity which does not increase the actual value of the page. This causes the accuracy of the Google search bot to go down - though it increases the hits on optimized pages. The net result is poorer searching, and good searching keeps eyeballs in front of advertising, which pays the bills to provide better searching.

I'm surprised they're telling everyone about it and not just coding around it, but it could be a social engineering attempt to reduce SEO, making the highly optimized sites easier to spot and flag as less valuable in searching.

Re:content not ads (2)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397765)

The problem is that there is no way for googlebot to know what "good content" is. SEO isn't some magic thing that makes bad content appear as good to a search engine, instead it's a way of gaming the mechanism that the bots use to try to determine genuinely good content (which is what the bot really is trying to find, it's just not smart enough to know the difference). The only solution is a smarter google-bot, and this is something that I think google really needs to work on, (and this seems to be the first step)
I look forward to the day when the only way to game the system is to make a page that ends up being useful to your human visitors too...

Re:content not ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398457)

Thank you! People get irked about SEO, but I have a site with valuable free content and it was hell getting the proper ranking in search results. The algorithm is already screwed up and needs fixed. People with good sites have trouble getting found because the algorithm still weighs VERY heavy on external links to your site. That dependence is the weakest link (sorry pun). Also, if you have a bunch of link farms pointing to your site then your rankings should suffer. But there is a problem. I, and many others, have to use link farm networks to gain proper traction since everyone is doing it--i didn't do it a service did it for me. I'm not a spam site, or an ad park--I offer free software, and getting ranked higher has helped a lot of people out by being able to find my software. Before, I was washed out by sites targeting my users who didn't really offer free software at all (trials and SaaS)--they use link farms too, everyone does in the commercial arena. The "link farms" are rather sophisticated and have content as well, so automated filtering is impossible. A lot of the links are rotated dynamically as well. Even reputable major corporations are using link-farm SEO.

Honestly, I think Google is just spreading FUD to help salvage their search. I doubt there is much they can do or they would have already done it. Google admitting their algo is swamped is like MS admitting that Windows is insecure. They have to acknowledge the problems but they will never admit it is totally fubar'd. Besides, they are so intertwined that to start dinking with it too much will fuck up their revenue from ads in addition to triggering other bombs.

Re:content not ads (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397951)

There is a problem with this concept, the bad content means people actually click on ads to escape it.., the worse the page is the better click through rate. Google benefits too.., but in this case some junk-web-farmer dark lord probably went over the edge with extreme SEOing so Google decided they might even do something about it.

Oh this is too good. (5, Funny)

chr1st1anSoldier (2598085) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397715)

HAHAHAHAHA! I love this! The company I work for makes every employee write blog articles and in turns makes our sales team write eight comments a month on those blog artles for the sole purpose of increasing their google standing in search results. You have no idea how much this makes me smile.

Re:Oh this is too good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397755)

Just curious.... Has it improved your company's rankings at all?

Re:Oh this is too good. (1)

chr1st1anSoldier (2598085) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397831)

I will be honest with you, I have no idea this practice has as I sit at the bottom of the totempole. Our upper management seems to think this works because I have been dragged into the owners office over a blog article(which is an interesting story). I do know one thing, if you type in "CCTV Camera" into a google search the company I work for is in the top 3.

Re:Oh this is too good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398105)

You work in wikipedia? wow.

Re:Oh this is too good. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398301)

That would explain the forced article creation.

Re:Oh this is too good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398117)

> I have been dragged into the owners office over a blog article(which is an interesting story).

Please share!

Re:Oh this is too good. (2)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398317)

The chief sits at the bottom of the totem pole because he supports everyone. Unless you're the CEO you're doing it wrong.

Re:Oh this is too good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397819)

Now you can do 2 blogs and 32 comments on OTHER sites pointing to yours...

Or whatever else ovecomes the anti-gameing... That is what you will be doing. Dont think otherwise... You probably will continue to do what you are doing now too...

Re:Oh this is too good. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397947)

This is a job we American citizens have an edge up on our Asian outsourced competitors: their limited knowledge of English and American cultural will give them away.

Thus, if you are fired as a programmer to be replaced by a PhD in India that earns $6/hr, you can always become a fake blog spammer.

Re:Oh this is too good. (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398401)

This is a job we American citizens have an edge up on our Asian outsourced competitors: their limited knowledge of English and American cultural will give them away.

lol! u think were betr ritrs than azns?

Re:Oh this is too good. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398167)

That may be illegal under prohibitions against shilling.

I imagine the SEOs are rubbing their hands now (5, Insightful)

Molt (116343) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397731)

All this is doing is changing the rules on which sites will be rated more highly, this changes what needs to be done to a site to gain artificially high ranking- maybe making it more difficult- but it'll still be done. I can imagine the SEO service sellers being delighted about this, new customers will still be buying their services to gain ranks and since old approaches will now be penalised they can start to sell again to those who'd bought their services before the change.

Re:I imagine the SEOs are rubbing their hands now (4, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397881)

I can imagine the SEO service sellers being delighted about this, new customers will still be buying their services to gain ranks and since old approaches will now be penalised they can start to sell again to those who'd bought their services before the change.

Companies that provide SEO tend to work for a monthly retainer, not as one-off payments. I doubt many of them will like this because it eliminates one of the things that differentiates their service from simply "build a good site and add good content". The people who don't "over-optimise" make more money by simply doing a good job of building websites, and they have no need to define themselves as SEO companies.

Re:I imagine the SEOs are rubbing their hands now (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398145)

That's one way to look at it. However, if Google changes its algorithm rapidly enough, then they can price most of the bottom feeders out of that market. For instance, how much am I willing to pay to be able to game the system for a week when all I'm optimizing is a parked domain, aggregator, or other crap site? If I have to spend full price every week, the value isn't there.

To me that's the major benefit, that it will increase cost the most for those who truly are gaming the system (eg, domain parkers) as opposed to those who legitimately are in the top handful of sites for a given search result. From a consumer's standpoint, if it cleans up the first page, that's enough - I don't care as much about which legit companies spend a lot to keep jockeying for position.

And as long as it returns the search for the word 'Santorum' to where it belongs, I'm good. Speaking of scumbags using SEO to alter results for evil...

Re:I imagine the SEOs are rubbing their hands now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398325)

This. They can't prevent people from figuring out the algorithm. Their incomes depend on abusing it almost entirely, in some cases.

The smarter ones will figure it out and get all the attention.

Admittedly Google could just look at all the popular keyword searches and check a bunch of sites and censor them, but that'd break their entire system, so that ain't going to happen.
Oh, wait, didn't they just block an entire TLD? ...oh well.

About time.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397737)

The SEO scumbags have been polluting search sites everywhere.

When I can search for 4 different unrelated terms and have the same site show up in each, you know that SEO is only a scumbags game.

Re:About time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397849)

The SEO scumbags have been polluting search sites everywhere.

When I can search for 4 different unrelated terms and have the same site show up in each, you know that SEO is only a scumbags game.

Or you're searching for information and all these shopping sites come up. That's what the "shopping" link is for.

Re:About time.... (3, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397955)

When I can search for 4 different unrelated terms and have the same site show up in each, you know that SEO is only a scumbags game.

I know. There's this one scumbag SEO company that comes up for an absolute load of unrelated terms, it's that obvious, I don't know why Google haven't blacklisted them yet. The SEO company even has a silly name, Wiki something I think.

Re:About time.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398049)

Because we know, deep down, you are really seeking a larger penis. Its the basis of all human endeavor.

Re:About time.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398139)

As the guy that runs www.stopforumspam.com all I can say is that its a good start. Google Mail need to pull their finger out of the ass now and do something about the amount of spam accounts that they host.

semantic web (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397759)

as the web becomes less semantic-based, html/css is slowly eroding in value as a searchable medium. for websites worth visiting, the default html structure that the googlebot loads is little more than a placeholder for dynamic content, with css styles used to declare javascript event listeners for a given element. clicking on said element loads the dynamic content.

people are finding things in different ways now: one example is via word-of-mouth (viral, etc) via social networks. who honestly thinks that fine tuning their website's keywords will help them obtain more visitors? does anyone actually believe this will help their website gain popularity? especially given the billions of webpages already in various search engines' databases? in this day and age?

as a web marketer, you are better off promoting a website through as many social networks as possible. dont waste time fine-tuning keywords; nobody cares anymore.

its about people helping people find information, not some algorithm helping you.

Re:semantic web (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397911)

Marketers are polluting social media also now, posing as fake friends.

Yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397785)

Haven't they been doing this "aggressively" for the past 12 years or so?

Just like Congress and the administration have been aggressively targeting waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money...

LOL Link farms... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397793)

Goodbye Phoronix, nice knowing...er well, just goodbye then. But seriously does this mean we'll have less link spam on forums/wikis/anything that someone can enter a URL in?

Re:LOL Link farms... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397823)

Don't worry. eHow will find away around this to boost it's page rank.

The phrase is "off their rocker" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397821)

... and I don't think that would make sense here, unless you want to emphasize that Google is old.

Keywords up the wazoo (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397897)

If you want viagra for your viagra-loving buddies, we can supply you with viagra from viagra-approved doctors who know viagra better than most viagra experts. Our viagra won't disappoint viagra users world-wide because we've supplied more viagra to satisfied customers than any other viagra supplier of viagra products. Enjoy our viagra like no other viagra you've enjoyed before! Go Viagra! (and our myraid viagra specials for the best viagra deals.)

From An Insider: Good! (2)

deweyhewson (1323623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397941)

As someone who provides SEO, among other things - shameless plug alert: www.uvmanagement.com [uvmanagement.com] - I see this as being a welcome change.

It is frustrating trying to provide what I deem "honest" SEO - focusing on marketing the content, rather than creating content which is marketable, for example - when so many other providers out there use all the tricks in the book to increase page rankings without actually having content worthy of where they end up. I very well could engage in such tactics, but I'm a nerd before I'm a businessman, and I'm not particularly happy with how "cluttered" the web has become over the past decade as more and more people have learned how to exploit holes in its system.

It can be incredibly frustrating trying to find something on Google (or any other engine), when the first several pages are filled with worthless or ultimately irrelevant links.

Penalize? I don't think so. (4, Interesting)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397963)

It doesn't sound to me like they're trying to penalize anyone; it sounds to me like they're trying to improve their search results. The people who spend so much time and effort trying to artificially boost their rankings may feel like they're being penalized, but that doesn't mean they are. You might as well say that a thief forced to return the goods he stole is being penalized for the value of those goods. While "stealing rankings" may not be a crime, per se, Google is doing little more here than trying to return rankings to their proper owners.

Re:Penalize? I don't think so. (1)

aflag (941367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398237)

The way I see it the criminal is being penalized indeed. Perhaps he really should be penalized, because stealing is not good for society, but it's a punishment, nonetheless. A robber may even be arested as well, which is yet another punishment.

Re:Penalize? I don't think so. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398257)

While "stealing rankings" may not be a crime, per se, Google is doing little more here than trying to return rankings to their proper owners.

Excellent. We should call SEO what it is, stealing rankings.

Re:Penalize? I don't think so. (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398527)

A big problem in my humble opinion is how google categorize things by the mba's in google's ad sales - motorbikes in x, is that only one customer for x location for google? The rare baseball/sports cards example seems also to assume that people are trying to search for specific cards for shopping sites. We are not retail, and our thing is not specific to one location.

Another is that term 'something' has a quality end and an junk end. We get envelopes with codes from google that go straight to the recycle bin. Google probably do list way down it but the low quality end stuff gets top rating. It looks crap and it appears to be an problem not just for us - Not sure if google in its categories decided to ignore products and sevices the mba's found hard to sell or don't understand.

People do find us but google it appears does not help them and thats why paying google is not a priority or is seo (seo'ers also have no clue about our custom sector of the industry)

 

In google's interest (3, Insightful)

nprz (1210658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39397969)

A lot of the SEO sites have very low actual value in them. They are avoided by any humans with 10% of a brain.
This dilutes Google's actual value as a search engine.
If they change how sites are rated to raise usable content-rich sites, then people are more likely to view the site and maybe actually click on an ad and maybe buy something.

define "better search results" (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398061)

"Better search results" is a matter of perspective.
Which is it -- the website's or its visitor's?

Influenced by the GOP? (-1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398065)

I wonder how much the GOP paid Google for this? Specifically, the Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] , Romney [spreadingromney.com] , or Gingrich [spreadinggingrich.com] campaigns,. . . ;-)

SEO is bullshit (3, Insightful)

evanism (600676) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398171)

I have always hated SEO with a deep passion.

I despise the SEO marketing idiots who glamorise themselves with "arcane knowledge". They end up using basic tools that any illiterate monkey could. Knowledge that could be written out on a 2 pages, in a big font.

They act like Chiropractors, alternative medicine quacks and ponzi fraudsters. Wizard of Oz stuff, "Ignore the man behind the curtain". They all get caught out, simply because what they espouse is rubbish.

The sooner Google allows the entire internet population to have a "This Is SEO Bullshit" button, the better.

I use Google's very own... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398195)

...SEO optimization guide [google.com] on my websites. Will I now be penalized for doing so?

Assess the content quality I say (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398263)

Assess the content quality I say. Favor well written articles over boring long stretching articles by bean counters. Sure roseindia has many Java related articles but ill written ones. Every opportunity I had with that site ended in frustration and I always found hugely better written material elsewhere.

Doing that is rather tricky at best as natural language is difficult to interpret by non-humans. Finding out if an article is well written is even tougher. Finding indirect hints -e.g. style, vocabulary, spelling errors, reputation of referring sites, etc...- as to articles are well written is likely to be more effective.

Improve the results. Concentrate on best articles first instead of worst articles last.

At least they are competent with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398271)

They should penalize themselves for search results with malware. I would like to have anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-advert filter on my google search results - and with no pirated content at all.

Old SEO joke (5, Funny)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 2 years ago | (#39398615)

How many SEO experts does it take to change a light bulb, lightbulb, light,bulb, lamp, lighting, light switch, lightswitch, switch, energy?
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