The anticipated over-optimization algorithm that Google’s Matt Cutts announced just a few week ago has now gone live. Nicknamed the "webspam algorithm update" by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, this latest algorithm update is a further attempt to combat the problem of webspam that permeates websites and search results.
A large volume of posts and complaints in the Google Search Blog shows that many have already been affected. Google has stated that they expect this newest update to affect approximately 3% of searches. From the Google Blog:
"In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content."
Webspam refers to tactics that attempt to garner better rankings through unsavory tactics such as:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link schemes
- Sneaky redirects or doorway pages
- Purposefully created duplicate content
For a more detailed explanation of some of these webspam tactics, check out Search Engine Land’s Violation & Search Engine Spam Penalties.
Google has been combating similar webspam tactics for several years, but it is only in the last couple that Google is finding better ways to detect such abuses with better algorithms. The targeting of webspam began in earnest with the release of the Farmer and Panda Algorithm Updates in 2010.
Many SEOs realize that it is still very possible to rank using these "blackhat tactics" and that Google cannot possibly address the problem "one fell swoop" (or even several).
It is enough for any SEO to question their usage. SEOs need to remember that Google is fully committed to eradicating webspam and will not be ceasing to do so. It may seem like a good strategy offering short term gains, but the long term penalties will certainly spell disaster when (not if) Google becomes aware of these tactics.
Google’s mandate is clear; to produce high quality, relevant, spam free search results for their millions of users. Ultimately it comes down to individuals and the tactics they decide to employ. If we can all get on board with Google’s Quality Guidelines, we will all benefit from a more useful and friendly web that we can all enjoy.