Google begins penalising websites for 'over-optimisation'
Changes in the search algorithm shift will go into effect this week
TechLife | 25 Apr 2012 :
Google is making a change to its search algorithm to penalise what the company's head of Web spam called "over-optimisation" and instead favour websites with high quality content and less refined search engine optimisation (SEO).
Google announced Tuesday that a change in its search algorithm will punish sites that violate the company's 'existing quality guidelines' and is intended to reward those "making great sites for users, not just algorithms." The change will go live over the next few days, the company said.
Specifically, the changes aim to reduce the amount of content that surfaces high in a user's search results on Google but that is not particularly useful or valuable; this is also known as Web spam.
Matt Cutts, the company's Web spam chief, first mentioned the plan at the SXSW Interactive conference in March.
Cutts said the algorithm would assess whether websites "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."
Google has since backed away from Cutts' description of the problem as over-optimisation. The company emphasised in Tuesday's announcement that the algorithm shift will target only those practices, such as keyword stuffing and link schemes, that violate its guidelines.
However, the announcement included the caveat that not all content punished by the changes will "be easily recognisable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise."
Google did not provide specifics about how the algorithm will differentiate useful content from Web spam, saying that doing so would "give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users."
The company says the changes will affect about 3% of search queries.
IDG News Service