Life gets tougher for keyword stuffers
Tricking Google into giving pages on your site a higher SERPs position than they deserve has always been a tough gig and it only looks set to get tougher as the world's largest search engine embraces the challenge of keeping its results relevant.
Google knows it faces pressure from all directions as it seeks to maintain its position at the start of most web journeys. There is the sheer volume of pages that needs indexing as the internet continues to grow and Google pulls new types of content into its search results. Then there is the threat of competition from the likes of niche search engines, mobile apps and Facebook.
Competition is usually a good thing and certainly has Google focussed on ensuring that best way to find what you're looking for is by tapping a query into its search engine.
A couple of stories doing the rounds this week show Google stepping up its efforts to root out spam and hacked websites to protect the user experience and fend off competition from the various alternatives.
First up was news that Google may let individual users block domains from their search results. According to Search Engine Land, a well-regarded blog, this would mean that if a user ran a search and kept seeing results from a particular site that they were not interested in, they could boot that site out of all their future results.
Secondly, Google announced a change to its indexing process aimed at preventing keyword-stuffed pages from achieving good rankings.
"We recently launched a redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly," Google's chief spam basher, Matt Cutts, said in a recent blog post.
"We've also radically improved our ability to detect hacked sites, which were a major source of spam in 2010," he added. "And we're evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content."
Websites publishing relevant, original content that follow best-practice SEO have nothing to fear from these developments. In fact, they should benefit as Google cuts through more of the noise and blocks more spam, making it easier for legitimate sites to be found in search.
Those still investing in dodgy SEO practices should take Google's renewed anti-spam drive as a clear message that now is the time to mend their ways and go straight.