• Latest Google Update should be dubbed OOPS

    by  • April 25, 2012 • Uncategorized • 1 Comment

    (Photo credit: ivanpw)

    I don’t envy Matt Cutts.   Search is a zero sum game.  For every loser there is a winner.  Thus, every time a Google update is pushed a host of angry webmasters curse Matt Cutts name while the winners quietly count their earnings.   It’s a thankless job and I have no doubt his heart is in the right place.  The vitriol spit in his general direction from countless forums can be brutal.

    Even more challenging is turning negatives into positives.  When the latest algorithm update was pushed, it was to reward high quality content sites, not punish webspam.  A carrot, not a stick.

    However, a particularly high profile result puts a lot of doubt in the efficacy of the latest “reward” tweak.  For most of today, the top result for “make money online” was a blank blogspot with a backlink profile that would make most adult site owners blush.  The primary backlinks are millions of comment spam posts.  Content was non-existent.

    Let’s call this update what it really is.  An over optimization penalty system, or (OOPS) for short.  Under OOPS, over doing SEO sends a site to the back of the line.  In areas like “make money online” that are unbearably spammy and dirty, its easy to imagine that a vast majority of the competitors would be hurt by this penalty.  The site that remains is the only one actually doing nothing at all.  {/sarcasm}

    Sarcasm aside, there were plenty of other examples that I’ve seen of very thin sites ranking for competitive terms.  One in particular had only a login form, and nothing else.  Others are full of snippet spam and keyword stuffed content.  To my eye, OOPS just isn’t working.

    I’m willing to believe that the intent of this update was very pure.   I’m a very pure search marketer that works in a very competitive (read: spammy) area.  I’ve seen plenty of people rank above my sites that have no right to be there, and universally they get removed after some period.  I don’t play those games.

    However, what I’m seeing in reality is far from the intent.  The update didn’t reward high quality sites, it merely punished some violators.  It’s an algorithmic whack-a-mole that may have unintentionally promoted some older black hat practitioners to replace the newer ones.   For the record, my sites seem to have benefited slightly, but I’m still not convinced on the effectiveness of this update.

    I’m still hopeful that the results will improve.  I’d like to see the results be truly the most relevant results every time.  I’m just as frustrated that junk ranks as those in the walls of the Googleplex.

    It’s difficult to suggest improvements when no one knows exactly what the source of OOPS is outside of google, but I’ll offer the following suggestion.  As far as I can tell, there are very few “real” companies that use hyphens in the url.  No one puts up a store with only one product on the marquee.  Exact match domains for commercial queries still seem to have far too much power.  Partial match domains have too much power.  Domains still seem to have too much power to my eye, and too often there is an inverse correlation with these factors and user experience.

    Comments are open for those that disagree, or for those that have other ideas on how they could have done this better.



    Steve Hammer is President and co-founder of RankHammer, a full service search marketing agency. RankHammer provides Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click advertising services in some of the most competitive industries. Before founding RankHammer, Steve was Director of Search for ACE Cash Express and General Manager of Stir, a social network for going out. He has experience in industries ranging from online dating to senior care, including newspapers and cooking products. Steve took an unusual path to Internet marketing, with a degree in chemical engineering from Clemson, and an MBA from the prestigious Kellogg School of Management. This combination of analytical background and business acumen has offered RankHammer clients the tools they need to succeed. Steve has been a featured speaker at DFWSEM, Interactive Insights Summit, Financial Bloggers Conference and many others. He currently sits on the board of the DFWSEM as VP of web content, and was a board member of the Kellogg Alumni Association when they won Alumni Club of the year for the first time.

    One Response to Latest Google Update should be dubbed OOPS

    1. Dan
      May 5, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Well see it yourself, type pay pal france, and you will get viagra link on the first page, huh, I really think Matt cutts has gone too far, even though his intention was good, but after all it’s a big fail! Every time I’m searching for something in Google, it’s returning a bunch of useless and unbearably poor quality sites, hope they will revert back in the next algo update( unless they don’t want people to move to bing and yahoo)

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