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Google's new algorithm change: Is this the end for SEO?

In recent months Google slowly began to implement changes to their rules and algorithms in order to make their search results cleaner, more informative and more relevant. In March the search giant announced that the forthcoming changes to their algorithms would penalise sites that are "overly optimised".
This of course caused an outcry as many companies these days rely on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to help them reach the top half of Google's search results. Although this change may be a problem for certain companies who have indeed "over optimised" - especially in more sinister ways - the general rules of honest SEO will still benefit the right websites. Sow how will these changes affect page rankings and which sites should be worried?

Black hat and white hat SEO

Most SEO experts will be quick to tell you that not al SEO consultants have the same idea of what good SEO entails. While most reputable digital agencies will offer their clients only honest SEO services many companies rely on dubious means of 'tricking' search engines into getting their pages to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). These so-called black hat SEOs employ tactics such as writing hidden content as well as link buying and farming - all with the purpose of cheating search engines into prioritising their site. However, once these dodgy sites are exposed by Google, they are promptly blocked - rendering the efforts of the black hatters useless.

White hat SEO on the other hand relies on creating quality content that works within the parameters set by search engines in order to optimise a website for both users and search engines.

What constitutes an overly optimised site?

The new algorithm change will affect sites that have been overly optimised - so what exactly does that mean? The main points of contention are: 1) Too many keywords on a page, 2) Too many backlinks to a site 3) Irrelevant content that does not offer a solution to a problem.

Google engineer Matt Cutts explains the change as follows: "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." Basically, Google will be dealing with black hat SEOs in a firmer manner by weeding out sites that have gone above and beyond appropriate SEO.

Will SEO survive?

SEO has become a vital part of any holistic digital marketing strategy. Making sure that websites rank highly when searching for its related keywords is undoubtedly an important part of making a success of any site. However manipulating or cheating any system, which is exactly what black hat SEOs do, should never be awarded with that success. The changes that Google is proposing will hopefully target the dishonest tricksters while continuing to reward sites that boast back links that are naturally grown by creating great content. Proper SEO, implemented in the correct way by trustworthy professionals still has a place and will continue to benefit companies who choose to use it.

25 Apr 2012 13:48

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