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October 30, 2012

Google Aggressively Takes on Website Optimization as Web Spam

In the last 30 to 60 days, Google has been changing and tweaking its algorithm and has also quietly been updating and changing its Webmaster guidelines.

Here are a few things you should know, just in case you missed them:

• The new disavow link tool is not to be used lightly. This tool is to be used only after you have tried other removal protocols first. Using this tool will tell Google you do not want them to consider a particular site that is linking to you in its algorithm. More information on this topic can be found here. Google continues to work to categorize inbound links weighting some heavier than others and penalizing websites for certain types of links.

• Update to the Webmaster guideline about links and other optimization tactics. Read the information from Google. What may be a concern to some is the use of CSS and possibly some uses of Spry widgets where some Webmasters may have been hiding keyword dense text specifically for improved placement.

• Lists of locations containing city or county names with keywords at the bottom of a webpage, used as a tactic for location-specific placement has not been disavowed by Google as recently as the middle of October. Google specifically addresses this tactic as keyword stuffing. Read more on this from Google

• Google is asking you to turn in other sites that are spamming their network or not playing by their guidelines. Here’s the reporting link:

Considering many SEO tactics that would not be considered black hat at the time to now be gray hat, keyword stuffing or even web spam.

What I have found so very interesting with the recent changes and updates is that Google is now actively soliciting your help in turning in offending websites. By using an online form, you can bring Google’s eyes onto your competitor’s website that has been practicing newly disavowed techniques to garner better placement. Although Google does not state that they will “smack down” a site you report, I surely would not want to be in the offending site’s shoes, would you?

Nancy McCord is the founder and president of McCord Web Services LLC which provides blog writing services, Twitter and Facebook status updates, and Google AdWords account set up and management. Since 2001, Nancy McCord has developed a reputation as an expert on Google AdWords and how to use social networking for business. You can visit Nancy and her firm at Connect with +Nancy McCord at Google+, @mccordweb on Twitter and on Facebook.