Google Update Targets Web Spam Not SEO

The official Google search blog has announced a new update, apparently aimed specifically at what they call “webspam.”

The changes will decrease rankings for sites that are violating the quality guidelines, including things like keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking and what they call “purposeful” duplicate content.

Spam Not SEO

What I find most interesting about the announcement though is not the fact that this algorithm update lacks a snappy name like Panda, but that Matt Cutts really goes out of the way to point out that this is not an “attack” on SEO.

In the wake of his own recent comments about Google’s “over-optimisation” penalty, this announcement goes to great lengths to emphasise that this has nothing to do with SEO, “over-optimisation” or anything like that. Instead, it is specifically aimed at sites that carry out dubious or unacceptable techniques for SEO which are actually spam, and not really SEO at all.

In fact, to quote the opening lines of the announcement, “Google has said before that search engine optimization, or SEO, can be positive and constructive—and we’re not the only ones.”

Clearly they’re reacting to recent concerns from the SEO community that Google has been telling them one thing, but apparently acting on something else.

This Is The Over-Optimisation Penalty

Apparently, this is the update that was supposed to contain the “over-optimisation” penalty. But, it turns out that the penalty allegedly was never aimed at optimisation at all. Google is hastening to assure people that when they said “over optimisation,” they actually meant web spam. (So-called in order to differentiate it from email spam.)

This announcement puts some effort into differentiating “white hat SEO” from spam which is, all in all, a good thing. I know a lot of SEO’s were concerned that their efforts, despite being “acceptable SEO practices” would no be penalised. According to this, it’s not the case. In fact, the majority of the post is dedicated

Rolling Out Worldwide

The announcement was made yesterday, and according to the post, the change would be rolled out globally over the next few days for all languages, and is expected to impact around 3% of English queries.