3% of Searches Affected

The Google Search Blog has confirmed the “over-optimization” penalty has been factored into the Google search algorithm and made live.  They are calling it the “webspam algorithm update”.  Google estimates these latest changes will affect approximately 3.1% of English websites.  In comparison, their initial Panda update in February, 2011 affected over 12% of search results.

So what constitutes “over-optimization”?  Simply put, all the things we’ve been telling you not to engage in!

Keyword Stuffing
This is the practice of stuffing a bunch of keywords into your website content and Meta tags.  You’ve likely come across a website that the text was almost nonsensical because they kept repeating the same word or phrase incessantly.   Or maybe you were reading through a paragraph and a completely unrelated phrase was injected in the middle of the content and linked to another website.  These are the types of tactics Google is attacking with this update.

Text Spinning
For those who don’t want to take the time writing unique, engaging content for their websites or blogs, they use “text spinning” software.  Basically you copy and paste a blog post or web page content into the software, and it “spins” it and tries to output a rewritten version of that content.  Some of the programs work pretty well, but if you read the content closely there are idiosyncrasies in grammar you will come across.  It is those idiosyncrasies Google is looking to identify.

As is almost always the case in technology, taking shortcuts may show short-term benefits but almost always result in long-term disappointments.  The 3% of search results that have been impacted by the latest changes by Google probably wish they had spent all their resources doing all the things Google tells you, because now they are going to be forced to!


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