Is Google’s Over-Optimization penalty real?

One of the hot topics today in SEO is Over Optimization.  Matt Cutts announced a few months ago that sites that are over optimized are may have some problems.  He was (as is the Matt Cutts oracle’s tendency) vague and uncertain about what or how or when this over optimization penalty would be implemented.

Many SEOs believe this over optimization penalty kicked in around the same time as the Penguin update at the end of April.  Evidence?  Well, there’s this story from seomoz which is great, but anecdotal.  Lots of other sites are talking about how to avoid it, keyword stuffing, etc..

I’ve seen a lot of stuff going on lately, but I haven’t been able to pin any of it specifically down to this over optimization.

What is over optimization?

There are lots of tips for minimizing this penalty, and I don’t want to go into those here.  The prevalent thought is that there are two areas that are a problem.  Overly aggressive anchor text on inbound links and keyword stuffing.

So, is there anything we can do that proves this theory?  I’m not sure.  It’s hard to draw conclusions without before and after evidence, and none of the e-Marketing Partner sites can successfully illustrate the change. If you have a good example and would like to share, please let me know.

For now all we can say is that we will keep an eye on our rankings and look at evidence of over optimization.

Is Google+ a Viable Social Network?

On the heels of an announcement that Electronic Arts has withdrawn its hit game “Bejeweled Blitz” from Google+ comes news that game developing company Wooga has declared its intentions to follow suit by removing several of its games from the social network by July 1.

The removal of games from Google+ is the latest blow to the struggling social network and is emblematic of its inability to garner a consistent or significant following. After all, games need people to play them, and clearly Google+ does not hold a market capable of sating the aspirations of EA or Wooga.

But more than just another step back, the loss of features is devastating to Google’s efforts to promote the network; if people weren’t joining before, why would they start just as the bells and whistles are all falling off?

This question informs another – in a market dominated socially by Facebook and professionally by LinkedIn, is Google+ a viable social network?

In spite of a general lack of interested focused toward the network, Google+ is capable of becoming a popular, if niche, online forum.

Google+ allows users to share personal information and pictures with one another, and functions as an avenue of communication via messaging and chatting options. While these features do little to set it apart from Facebook, signing up for Google’s network is not without merit.

One of the defining characteristics of Google+ is its “Circles” feature, which allows users to group its various connections into a variety of categories, such as “family” and “colleagues.” While other social networks include similar features Google+ has taken this compartmentalization model to new levels of effectiveness.

“Circles” allow content to be transferred in bulk, but within defined parameters. For example, messages intended exclusively for colleagues can be readily shipped to colleagues, and only colleagues, with ease.

Likewise, a family reunion can be planned, with invitations going out to no-one but family members, with one click of a button. The functionality of this feature is terrific when considering a Facebook message relevant to 20 people usually reaches 500.

Another benefit of registering for the Google+ network is the SEO benefits it brings. Because profile URLs contain a user’s name, as do profile headings, H1 tags and presumably profile text, Google+ profiles rank high within Google’s own search engine algorithm (as well as that of other search engines).

The SEO impact of Google+ makes people with accounts easier to find online, a welcomed result for professionals or those wishing to produce online content for personal reasons.

While Google+ has floundered as a social network thus far it does have the capability to succeed in an already crowded, yet limitless market. Possessing a defining feature with its “Circles,” a credible name attachment to Google and a slew of SEO benefits, it is too early to throw the towel in and banish the network forever.

It may take awhile (if ever) for Google+ to become mainstream, but even if its limited following mitigates its effectiveness as a communications tool, the secondary benefits of SEO promotion are still useful to certain users, and should not be ignored simply because it has yet to mature into the full package.








How Search Marketing is Changing in 2012

If you are involved in SEO or online marketing in 2012 you may feel as though your head is spinning with the constant changes to marketing practices. It can feel overwhelming trying to keep up with an ever-changing industry. Just when you think that you’re getting to grips with what’s happening – Google moves the goal posts. Or does it?

For the last few years there has been one constant saying that has been repeated again and again – not only by Google engineers or SEO experts – but by pretty much anyone involved in any kind of internet marketing. Yes, “content is king” This phrase has held firm and true throughout countless Google algorithm updates that are rolled out to reduce spam results in search and improve the quality of their results.



The Google Panda update, one of the most talked about algorithm updates in SEO history, was a major attack on spam by the search giant. Google now looks at the “time spent on site” by your visitors to determine whether they are receiving a high quality experience for their search term. It is not very difficult to understand what the phrase “high quality” means – unique and relevant.

In 2012 it’s no longer enough to produce post after post of poorly written content. If your users struggle to understand what you’re writing about then so will Google. It’s not enough to build a few anchor text backlinks from low quality directories back to your website and NEVER be tempted to pay for a link.

To build on your own websites authority you need to gain votes (or links) from other “high authority” websites. If you produce a well written post that is on topic, unique and either informational, funny or ironic and then promote it via social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Digg etc you are reaching out to your core fanbase and saying “hey check this out!” These are the people that will share your content and virality is important. Infographics are huge at the moment. They are informational and easy to share since sites such as Pinterest exploded into social media networking. People like pictures and they don’t take too much concentration. If you are blogging and your content is good enough to create a buzz, you may even gain a natural link or two back to your site. Remember to include a picture in every post.

In conclusion, the key is DON’T create content purely for the purpose of SEO. Create content for your audience and promote it to them. If your content is good enough then the SEO should take care of itself.

Author: Hayley Reeve is a Search Analyst and Online Marketing Strategist for Silkstream Web Agency – Providing Web Design in Essex.


First Rule of SEO – Don’t Panic!

don't panicThe SEO world has been topsy-turvy lately.  It started with Matt Cutts’ comment about an over optimization penalty at SXSW, it continued with the Penguin Update and now you have some of the search engine sites writing articles like What If The Google Penguin Update Inadvertently Killed The Web As We Know It? and Free Directory Sites Dropping Out Of Google?

To the small business owner it might seem like the sky is falling, like it is the end of SEO.  You might wonder if your site is being penalized?  Have you over optimized?  Will this impact your Facebook friends?  What are you going to do?

In reality, the recent changes by Google have made the web a better place and made SEO more important than ever.  The first rule of SEO is, or should be, “Don’t Panic”.  Any SEO that is maintaining your website in a White Hat manner and following the Google guidelines will be fine.

Of course, if you have hired Rajeesh to create 1,000 PR0 backlinks for $500/month (don’t laugh, had someone offer that just a couple weeks ago) you might be in trouble.  SEO is a constant changing field.  Optimizing your website for maximum traffic and maximum leads is a continual process.  Search engine optimization isn’t going away any time soon, so if you need some assistance getting the most out of your site contact e-Marketing Partner today and we will help you out.