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Google to demote SEO-heavy sites

Google

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 at 08:42

Google is tweaking its search engine to stop favouring sites that go overboard on SEO.

Google's head of search Matt Cutts, speaking at the end of SXSW, said the change was designed to drive more traffic to sites with good content, rather than those with the best search engine optimisation (SEO).

"The idea is basically to try to level the playing ground," he told the conference, according to a report from Search Engine Land. "So all those people who have been doing, for lack of a better word, over optimisation 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 the playing field a bit."

The idea is basically to try to level the playing ground a little bit

"We try to make the GoogleBot smarter, try to make our relevance more adaptive, so that if people don’t do SEO we handle that," he added.

"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."

Cutts said the plan had been in the works for months, and was likely to be released in the "coming weeks".

The SEO switch isn't the only change with Google's search. The firm announced last week that it will start including more answers in results, rather than only links to pages, and introduce semantic understanding to the system.

Last year, it rolled out the infamous Panda update, pushing sites with lower quality, spam sites further down the rankings.

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User comments

I hope this addresses one of my pet peeves with sites:

Those that put a lot of things in the meta-data that do not actually appear on the site. So when you search for 'abcd', a site mentioning 'abcd' in context appears at the top of the non sponsored part of the list but there is absolutely no reference to 'abcd' when you click the link.

By qpw3141 on 19 Mar 2012

Well, I guess finally! I've been working like crazy last year, creating (what I think is) great content, and ultimately, I always see sites that have poor content and hideously written (keywords and keywords) ranked better than us. Hopefully, this will take them "lower".

By markyates18 on 19 Mar 2012

Great News

I have seen for years people using software like SENUKE to spam the internet with links... this does my head in and clearly doesnt work!! This update should allow software like forallseo to help real people wanting to make an effort with content for their sites while being google friendly

By jamest on 19 Mar 2012

Nothing new

There's nothing new here, Google has been ignoring meta tags (at least in the context of rankings) for years and all they're saying is that they are sharpening up on relevance. This is just a continuation of their long term approach. The best advice is, as always, to write great content that's easily indexable and get other, related, sites to link to it.

By KevPartner on 20 Mar 2012

Great to get rid of the dross

I couldn't agree more with qpw3141.

Google started out as a great search engine getting to relevant sites with ease. Now it's just as qpw3141 describes, providing links to pages that don't actually have any relevant content.

By diadon on 22 Mar 2012

Auto Update

Not to mention the fact that most home users get it without knowing, and in my experience just assume MS have updated and made IE different!! All this becuase Google Updates install it automatically and as the default web browser without people realising. If they did not do this they would not be vying for the No.1 spot.

By justthinkit on 22 Mar 2012

Auto Update

Not to mention the fact that most home users get it without knowing, and in my experience just assume MS have updated and made IE different!! All this becuase Google Updates install it automatically and as the default web browser without people realising. If they did not do this they would not be vying for the No.1 spot.

By justthinkit on 22 Mar 2012

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