Staff writer: Brjden Crewe
Matt Cutts, who heads Google’s web spam team, recently announced that Google is working on a new search ranking penalty for websites considered “over-optimized” by so-called internet marketing specialists. These new search ranking penalties are planned to be introduced within the month with its main function to allow the chances of websites with great content to gain a better search engine ranking position.
Websites that are considered over-optimized are often accused of using sneaky tactics in order to take advantage of SEO benefits and use such tactics as hiding keywords and/or keyword stuffing, featured unnatural/artificial-looking internal link profiles, etc.
Since February 2012, Google Webmaster Tools has been greeting webmasters with a fair warning message if the company feels they are participating in link buying or link schemes designed in order to manipulate search engine rankings since February 2012.
This message, addressed to the owner or webmaster, states that they have detected unnatural links and “techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines”. They ask the owner or webmaster to investigate artificial links used to manipulate PageRank, such as buying links and encourage the business to resubmit their website once it passes quality standards. They also note that if there are any links that you are unable to remove for any reason, you should indicate this in your resubmission.
The most unnatural linking technique understood to be bad practice is link buying, which is also known as referred link purchasing or paid links. Internet marketing specialists use these types of links and they come in many forms which include site-wide links found within website footers or navigation to single home page links. Commonly these links are found within blogs, blog networks, content exchanges, paid link exchanges and content networks or link networks.
While Google has been working on eliminating web activity possibly involved in search ranking manipulation, it is the first time Google has become vocal about it. In the past, Google would simply de-value links considered to be in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and within Google Webmaster Tools, much to the delight of honest marketing companies and internet marketing specialists. These actions also shows businesses such as marketing companies that Google is willing to penalize participation in link schemes and any persons in violation of its Webmaster Guidelines.
Although this may hurt many businesses, which relied on such backlinks, it improves the overall user experience. Businesses do not need to alarm themselves about this; instead, they should keep in mind that there are healthy alternatives to unnatural or paid link schemes that are far more effective in the long run.
Always build original content. Your content should be highly engaging for users as Google wants to serve this type of content world-wide.
Highly engaging and informative content involves quality and originality not found anywhere else online which if accompanied by rich images, objects or videos allow user interaction and interesting infographics. These content types decrease bounces rates and also increases the time spent on websites but most importantly, they attract natural links.