|November 28, 2003
Google Cracks Down on the SEO Industry
As this week comes to a close, there is no doubt that the most significant development
in the Internet marketing world was Google's latest update and algorithm change, undergone
around the third week of November, and dubbed by the search engine community as
The soon-to-become-public mother of all search engines decided to crack down on the search
engine optimization industry as its IPO draws near, and implemented a filter against
thousands of sites that appeared to have been artificially over-optimized for certain
competitive (and commercially appealing) keyphrases, wiping those sites out of the
What triggers the filter is still a subject of debate, although evidence points to the use
of common search engine optimization techniques like placing keywords in the page title,
increasing keyword density on the page, or placing keywords in the anchor text of inbound
The fact that these techniques have been widely used by many legitimate businesses, has
caused thousands of perfectly relevant sites to disappear from the rankings, toghether
with sites that clearly abused these techniques (for example, pages belonging to bogus
networks of sites that link to each other, created and controlled by unscrupulous
webmasters to artificially boost PageRank). We can safely say, therefore, that in its
attempt to weed out spammers, Google has thrown out the baby with the bathwater.
A large debate is now going on over if Google did right or wrong, and over what may have
been its underlying motivations to take this course of action. Opinions range from the
belief that Google did the right thing, to the theory that Google implemented the filter
to force the eliminated sites to buy AdWords (paid sponsor listings). One way or the
other, one thing is certain: with this move, Google has put a question mark on everything
we knew about search engine optimization.
In the meantime, thousands of businesses owners who used (or abused) search engine
optimization techniques to push their pages to the top of the Google rankings (making a
lot of money in the process) have now found their businesses destroyed. One more proof
that focusing on only one Internet marketing strategy (especially search engine
optimization, where we will always be at the mercy of the people tweaking the algorithms)
is a recipee for disaster.
The evolution of Google will be an interesting development to follow in the months to
come. If you want to read more about Google's recent controversial algorithm change, you
can read the following articles (they are somewhat lengthy, but will give you an accurate
picture of what's going on with Google these days, and of what we may expect from them in
The SEO Book: (by
Aaron Wall) Author Aaron Wall takes you from A to Z on a journey to understand
the basics of Search Engine Optimization. No hype, just honest and effective advice.
This eBook comes with free updates for life. Highly recommended.
The Nitty Gritty of Search
Engine Optimization (by Jill Whalen) This special report in ebook form is
probably the most thorough guide on how to write for the search engines. Making sure
that your main keywords are well represented in your page copy without sacrificing
readibility is not always easy, but this special report shows you how to do it.
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Mario Sanchez is a Miami based freelance writer who focuses on Internet marketing and web
design topics. He publishes The Internet Digest ( http://www.theinternetdigest.net ), a growing
collection of web design and Internet marketing articles, tips and resources. You
can freely reprint his weekly articles in your website, ezine, or ebook.
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