For a long time, search engine optimization has been one of the primary marketing tools for any business with a website. There are more studies, techniques, and advice geared toward SEO strategies than just about any other type of Internet marketing. Businesses and web designers use these strategies to move sites to the top of search engine results, and many seem to have a handle on SEO at last.
However, search engine giant Google is changing the rules—and many websites that previously enjoyed high search engine rankings for key search terms could find themselves at the bottom of the list.
Penalties for “over-optimization”
With changes to its search algorithm—which is, as always, a closely guarded secret—Google is now penalizing sites that make heavy, obvious use of SEO tactics. In particular, the changes are intended to target practices such as keyword stuffing and link schemes that violate the company’s quality guidelines. You can find a full explanation of Google’s quality guidelines here.
Using this new algorithm, Google hopes to weed out sites that offer little to visitors outside of keywords intended to draw traffic, and promote those websites that provide higher quality content.
Will your website be affected?
In order to prevent people from “gaming the system,” Google has released no details regarding the ways the new algorithm differentiates between useful and non-useful content. This has raised some concern as to whether legitimate sites will be penalized by the search engine due to correctly implemented SEO strategies.
At least one search marketing firm, iProspect, believes that some quality websites will be moved down in rankings during the initial sweep using the new algorithms. Google, however, claims that only about 3 percent of websites will be affected by the changes.
Protect your search engine rankings
Google’s SEO changes can mean a significant drop in your rankings, especially if your website is not properly optimized. At Informatix, we understand what’s involved in making your site attractive to major search engines without giving the appearance of spam. Contact us for more information about how we can help tweak your SEO strategies to fit the new rules of the game.