Google’s “New” Over Optimization Penalty May Not Be So New

Google’s So-Called “New” Over-Optimization Penalty Google has been in the news recently for an announcement made by the webspam team regarding a new algorithm update that they say will include penalties for over-optimization. This does not seem like new news to me. Sure, maybe they are adding some new tricks to their arsenal, but from what I have seen, Google has been penalizing sites for over-optimization for some time. A few obvious examples include the recent very public penalties applied to JC Penny and Overstock.com for link manipulation. In both cases their sites were devalued for a few weeks to a few months then returned fairly strong not long after.

The more serious questions in my mind will be, Is Google opening themselves up to negative optimization tactics if they take this too far? and how will they differentiate between someone who is over-optimizing their own site, and someone who is a competitor trying to get someone else’s site penalized? It seems to me that when it comes to over-optimization it would be very easy to do on someone else’s site. There are a lot of blog directories and article directories where one can post links to a site in a very spammy way for very little money. How is it that Google thinks they can determine what is being done by the site owner versus what is being done by a rogue competitor?

Sure, maybe if you mix in some on page factors such as high of keyword densities or linking off of your site to bad networks, but those are obvious and should have been penalized all along. So what is it Google, are you really changing things as significantly as you are implying or are you simply trying to put some fear into website owner and try to scare people off of SEO? I am starting to wonder if their announcement was more intended to do the latter.

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