Google Addresses SEO Gaming

Google erects some much-needed defenses in the optimization arms race.

“Hey Google, this is not fun anymore – YOU’RE KILLING OUR BUSINESSES!”

Google made one of the most sweeping changes ever to its search algorithm this week, going well beyond its habitual ‘tweaking’ to rein in rampant Search Engine Optimization techniques that reduce the quality of its results by driving traffic to sites that ride the wave of trending searches rather than useful information.

The major tweak aims to move better quality content to the top of Google’s search rankings. The changes will affect 12% Google’s results, the company said in a blog post late Thursday….

Typically, Google’s algorithm changes are so subtle that few people notice them. But these most recent changes could be seen immediately….

The changes appear to be affecting so-called “content farms” the most, which are websites that amass content based on the most-searched terms of the day. Demand Media, AOL, Mahalo and the Huffington Post have all been accused of such tactics, including a notable “story” from HuffPo about the Super Bowl that Slate.com media critic Jack Shafer called “the greatest example of SEO whoring of all time.”

Coincidentally, I spent several hours with a client yesterday who’s been overwhelmed of late by competitors trying to use SEO games to steal traffic from his business. It will be interesting to see if this change extends far enough to help him, too.

This certainly won’t be the end of the SEO wars. Every change in Google’s algorithm prompts new techniques for gaming the system. Just as parasites adapt to changes in our immune systems, so too will the “SEO whores” find a way to exploit Google’s new rules. But this dose of digital penicillin is long overdue.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. John Burgess says:

    It certainly seems to have had an effect. My blog, Crossroads Arabia, is now among the top 10 in subject matter searches. Last time I looked, it was down on page three or four, with scrapers above me.

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  5. Kimmo says:

    I’m hating this. And so does ezinearticles, most probably. They lost over half of their traffic.

  6. […] (Ed): Dodd at OTB notes that Google has finally addressed SEO exploitation: The major tweak aims to move better […]