In March Google announced they were working on a search ranking penalty for sites that are “over-optimized” or “overly SEO’ed.”
According to Google’s Matt Cutts “… the idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.”
At this point we can only read into of what Matt stated so far, “whether they throw too many keywords on the page, or whether they exchange way too many links, or whatever they are doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area.”
When Can We Expect This “Over-Optimization” Penalty?
It may already be starting to roll out as there have been recent reports of big changes in rankings by some. However, it’s unclear and likely will remain unclear until a large number of sites have had large changes in rankings.
What Can You Do?
We recommend not making any changes. As with all the big, newsworthy Google algorithm changes over the years there will lots of speculation on what’s being penalized as it becomes clear that this penalty is indeed rolling out. Most of the speculators will be wrong. Unless Google comes out and publicly states what is being penalized in this update it will likely be some months before there’s enough evidence across many web sites to “reverse engineer” the penalty.
In any case keep an eye on your rankings in Google’s Web Master Tools, perhaps downloading them weekly.
If you are an eVision client and have followed our advise you should have nothing to worry about as we’ve never suggested anything that should come even close to “over optimization” (in our opinion of course).