Can a Website Have Too Much SEO?

…and what the hell is ‘over-optimization’?

Personally, I think Matt Cutts and the Google Webspam team have waaaay too much power [which means you’ll probably never see this post!]. Watch any videos of him speaking about how the Google Webspam team treats specific technical issues and I think you’ll see what I mean. Struggling with the issue of how to adjust client sites for the latest release of updates to the Google search engine, I came across this:

Google’s Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on a search ranking penalty for sites that are “over-optimized” or “overly SEO’ed.”

Matt announced this during a panel Search Engine Land’s Editor-In-Chief, Danny Sullivan and Microsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager of Bing at SXSW named Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!. The audio for the session has been published where I learned that Google has been working on a new penalty that targets site’s that overly optimize for search engines for the past few months.

Matt Cutts said the new over optimization penalty will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month or next few weeks. The purpose is to “level the playing field,” Cutts said. To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but do a better job with SEO.

Source: Too Much SEO? Google’s Working On An “Over-Optimization” Penalty For That

Here’s a video clip of Matt discussing the issue…

And, if you really want a scare do a search on the phrase “Google penalizes” and you’ll see that Matt and his team have mafia-like powers to ‘disappear’ people and websites!

Now, here’s my issue. Can anyone define for me exactly what constitutes ‘over-optimized’ – even Cutts skirts the issue because defining the term would be to reveal too much about the Google search algorithm would be my guess. The question I have is this, then: if most sites are ‘under-optimized’ then are sites that follow best practices ‘over-optimized’?

7-3-2013 3-09-17 PM
Click image to enlarge…

Take for example a website that uses a tool like RebelMouse or Twylah to capture their tweets and other social media shares as Search Engine Optimization [SEO] by adding those tools as a cname extension, or one that adds a blog to a static website using tumblr or WordPress using the same approach – are these sites ‘over-optimized’ because the webmaster is clever?

See what I mean? Search Engine Optimization [SEO] is a moving target and Google-style ‘leveling the field’ means content creators are shooting at a moving target in the dark. What do you think?

One thought on “Can a Website Have Too Much SEO?

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