It's called the Website Over-Optimization Penalty. Let met start by quoting my hero, SEO guru/Google mouthpiece Matt Cutts:
"What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. 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. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
The reason I blog about these things is so that small business owners can talk candidly and open about what works and what doesn't work in terms of getting our sites to show up better in search results. I've hinted quite a few times that keywords may begin to slowly lose out to "fresh content" if Google has its way.
Some people are calling this 'THE DEATH OF SEO' which, quite frankly, makes me laugh.
I equate that to mp3's being the DEATH OF MUSIC.
No they weren't.
It was yet another landmark in the rethinking how music could be presented much like compact discs were when they came onto the market. Did mp3's hurt the established music industry? Yeah.... they did. They released the strangle-hold labels had on how music was presented. Did it put a knife in the back of the compact disc? Yeah, sorry.... I took that same walk of shame as some of you, putting most of them away after transferring them onto my computer and wondering how much money I had spent on vinyl, cassettes, cd's only to have them all end up on this new invisible file called an mp3... but, is music dead?.................................... Come on.
Even the worst surfer would probably tell you that you need to stay ahead of the wave if you want to keep on your feet. If you're going cry every time the tides change, you might want to find a different way to spend your time.
This whole algorithmic change? It's all just something new that we need to factor into how we present our companies. I've read more guesses as to what the correct density of keywords should be (2-4%? or is it 5%?) or how we shouldn't be too repetitive in our URL's, titles and descriptions as not to sound like we're keyword stuffing...
Still use SEO? HELL, YEAH!
But make sure you put the "O" in "Search Engine Optimization". Make sure your browser titles are unique to each page. Make sure they make sense... you know who I'm talking to.... THINK ABOUT (yes I said it) if your content and design seems natural!
If your website is ThingsInMySink.com? (which was available when I wrote this blog so if you secure that name, I'll be coming after you once you've made your first million)... Then you should be looking to write about things such as "Steak knives, dirty dishes, soap scum, bits of food in the strainer, mildew around the faucet, and oh my god where is my wedding ring??"... and so on.
If you decide to approach this site with "Things in my sink, Sink, Kitchen Sink, Sink things, My Sink, Sink Kitchen, things sink,...." and worst of all "In-sink" (Sorry Justin Timberlake)... then you may be setting yourself up for a Google over-optimization penalty. I refuse to accept that the fact that thinking about NOT over-optimizing is anything less than full-blown SEO at its finest! Google isn't asking you to stop being a salesman, they are asking you to be a better salesman or at least a different type of salesman than some of us have become used to being.
Stay smart, stay sharp, and stay in the game. I'll be in the car listening to my compact discs while I can still buy them....or a car stereo that will play them..... or a car for that matter.
So, for now... I'm Daniel and I'm a General Contractor. <-- (and yes that's a link.)
Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net