Significant Google Changes: Is It The Over Optimization Filter?

Apr 24, 2012 • 8:57 am | comments (37) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Over Optimization Bridge LogoI am seeing a significant uptick in complaints in the forums about downgrades and delistings of rankings in the past 12 hours or so. Most of them coming early this morning in the past hour or so and more and more reports coming in via the Google Webmaster Help forums.

I've spotted several threads, here are just a handful of them, one,two, three, four, five, six and many more.

The ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has an increase in activity from webmasters noticing fluctuations in Google. A senior member said, "having the biggest traffic morning in months. Since the smaller data set seems to be good for me, I wonder what that will bring....good or bad?" This is followed by a bunch of other complaints about increases and decreases in rankings.

This may be a Panda update, it may be a penalty, it may be a bug like last time or it may be the over optimization filter rolling out. I do not know but there is something going on.

What do you think?

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Update: Later today, Google has announced this update on the Google Search Blog.

Update: This is now named the Penguin Update.

Previous story: Getting Rid Of Those Silly Links



04/24/2012 01:19 pm

I've seen increases across many of my sites this morning. I changed my content so it wasn't ""Overly Optimized" last week.  I agree something happen, not sure what.

Alex Genadinik

04/24/2012 01:21 pm

I am seeing a very incremental uptick since yesterday, so maybe that is just a result of not being penalized.  Very interesting to see what happens.  My is still penalized by Panda though :)


04/24/2012 01:23 pm

I think a commonality amongst the posts you had that I saw were people were trying to do their own SEO - the dabblers.  Unfortunately the dabblers don't know what sources to trust or have the experience to do this with confidence and they are likely the ones to over-optimize so I'm going with the Over Optimization Filter on this one... 

Nick Stamoulis

04/24/2012 01:56 pm

One of my clients that was hit by last week's "bug" has recovered, so that might explain the uptick. Unfortunately all we can do is speculate until Google confirms one way or the other.

Moises Szarf

04/24/2012 04:19 pm

Wondering if this over-optimization update reaches to the meta tag keywords. For a long time Google has claimed they don't use them for rankings. But I have several client websites with 15 keywords on the meta tags, while  the readable text is perfectly OK as far as being natural. What do you think

Mike Kalil

04/24/2012 04:59 pm

Penalizing people just for using meta keywords? Then all the legacy pages from the early 2000s would be yanked. I doubt it.

William Rock

04/24/2012 05:45 pm

Alex, great site.. but look at all the ads you have on the site, this could be a factor with some of the other updates.


04/24/2012 08:07 pm

This is just a ploy to get you to buy traffic (Adwords).  SEO isn't pointless. It promotes good site organization and helps the user when done correctly. Patiently waiting for no organic results in Google. Bolster Google's competitors and you will see the frequency of these updates slow.


04/24/2012 08:20 pm

Don't be Big Google's BITCH !   -   " Don't be Evil"  is dead   -  Don't throw all your eggs in one basket. - Bing is Sexier Every day  !  K_eep I_t S_imple S_tupid have a good day


04/24/2012 09:08 pm

This shows really bad impression to SEO  persons because google is day by day going against SEO persons this company is just thinking about their revenues and for this they are doing all these uncertain thing on name of better search result. its really bull sit 


04/24/2012 09:11 pm

 you saying right now google just thinking about itself n its start of finish of any organization they are going to very fastly..

Alex Genadinik

04/24/2012 09:29 pm

William, thanks, unfortunately its a free site so it is damned to have the ads as the only business model :) Before Panda it had the same number of ads and it wasn't too much of a problem.

Jeremy Morgan

04/24/2012 10:37 pm

While I think there will be some collateral damage and SOME innocent sites will get hit, I think overall the sites that get hit are ones that are doing something they shouldn't be.  If you work as hard on your content as you do on SEO you don't have to worry about stuff like this. 

Jeremy Morgan

04/24/2012 10:38 pm

And I'm not trying to be high and mighty and say black hat stuff is bad, it's not. It's a perfectly legitimate strategy for sites you don't care about losing. For your main business and important sites you should stay away from it. 


04/24/2012 10:46 pm

Woah... HUGE shuffle today... a TON of my sites are gone. I am seeing utter spam rank in the SERPS right now .... is anyone else seeing this? I see .info domains that were LINKING to one of my money sites, ranking ABOVE the money site. I also see .co domains in the SERPS like its going out of style.


04/24/2012 10:47 pm

OMG, I just checked google for "google rank lost" and saw this post. Just checked my website and All my keywords ratings have gone to second or third page. WTH, we didn't use any black hat technique and all articles are original. I'm sure that it happened in past 3 hours because everything was fine before that.


04/24/2012 10:50 pm

Ya... wtf... this JUST happened... I checked this morning and it was different. This is CRAZY spam in the results right now. LOL... I can't believe Google is MESSING up their search engine even more by themselves than SEO's ever did... ROFL...


04/24/2012 11:19 pm

just in time for smx toronto eh? hmmmmmmmmm.....


04/24/2012 11:24 pm

Here you go... Go ahead and add the link to your post. 

Barry Schwartz

04/24/2012 11:25 pm

I did already but thanks.

Lord of SEO

04/25/2012 12:17 am

that idiot Cutts should be chopped up and put into a pork and bean stew

Grant Mer

04/25/2012 02:59 am

I have been following this whole over-optimization since Venice came out, going 'it's not going to happen to me'....sure enough, got thrown back by about 14 pages for every keywords (even my brand). All anger, etc aside, as I have 1,000 pages on my E-Commerce store and was 81 pages through re-writing every page, is it more worth me scrapping the website and starting afresh? Or is it the links that were built when I purchased the business about 4 months ago that killed it? Would love to see a link or some words from other people that have got hit and how they went about re-gaining their rankings.

Angela Brown

04/25/2012 06:22 am

I think in this way spam will reduce a lot.


04/25/2012 07:22 am

Since Matt declared it was a bug, my site gone down from best keywords rankings from 19th April.  I was sure it will be back because my site doesn't have poor content, hidden text etc. But today when I checked rankings I was shocked Google through my rankings too far. I couldn't believe my eyes. Not only this it has DE-indexed my website pages to half.


04/25/2012 07:51 am

Yes, I have been hit and I quite don't understand why.  My competitor has only pictures and nothing else. But she still holds her number 1 position whereas my site has been pushe down to 6 from 2. All my articles which have been written to just help people are getting only 1 or 2 visitors.  I checked them on Google. They are nowhere to be found now. I have never touched black hat SEO because I don't even know what is that.

Webstats Art

04/25/2012 09:20 am

Yeh. A lot of sites are going down. My blog is really struggling


04/25/2012 09:22 am

hey James if is this truth that yesterday Google ranking update is bug and we will get our old position as soon as...because my 6 to 8 website top first position out of hundred   not found now...while i am not use any special trick of promotion.. and my competitor site ranking as will as...not lost....


04/25/2012 09:26 am

hello friends do u have any idea this update effective website ranking and how will we get as soon this stable position or not...


04/25/2012 09:52 am

My site ranking dropped suddenly today from top 10 to 500+. I don't know why. Google is changing a lot of things day by day, I am being frausted because a lot of site has been dropped already . GOOGLE IS SO GREEDY NOW, I THINK THEY ARE JUST DOING THIS TO GAIN MORE REVENUE FROM PPC. 


04/25/2012 10:01 am

Mine has tanked overnight. Went from no 5 to not even on the first 20 pages. What the heck!


04/25/2012 03:02 pm

Yeah, I've never written on forum like this and I have hundreds of websites I've built.  During all of Google's past updates I managed to get through okay because I write quality content and make sure the website is well designed.  This time things have changed.  80% of my websites got hit.  But my websites are good websites!  I've had many of them human reviewed by Google and they said they are exactly what they are looking for.  I can't figure this out.  It this is a bug?  Is it permanent?  What can we do? 


04/26/2012 06:23 am

Yes, I agree. But,  no one would want to eat it and it would just be a waste of food.

Eliseo V

04/26/2012 06:39 am

There is definitely something going on, over-optimization filter or bad backlink de-indexing , maybe a bit of both. My guess is that someone is having huge increases in rankings, either he will fall hard or maybe those above have cleared the top spaces :-)

Brian Cox

04/26/2012 07:49 pm

like u spamming this site with ur comments... ur an idiot

Andy Roberts

04/27/2012 11:10 am

I'm glad I'm not the only one! We have some really consistent positions but have gone from number 2 to the bottom of the second page, stuff like that. It really doesnt make sense, so I'm assuming that this will get shaken out quickly!

Angela Brown

05/05/2012 07:38 am

I think that's your job not mine ... you are a idiot rascal ...

Bedlinen Direct

06/13/2012 02:44 pm

Small businesses like mine are quite literally at the mercy of googles algo changes.

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