Has The SEO Industry Been Turned Upside Down?

Brendan Egan

Has The SEO Industry Been Turned Upside Down?

Over the last year, Google has rolled out some pretty wild changes to their search algorithm.  However the over-optimization penalty in the last 3 months has probably been the one that has shook the SEO industry the most.

What Is The Over Optimization Penalty?

When you build a link, you use what’s called an anchor text.  That is the text that appears when you click the link, so some may say “click here” , others may have a domain link such as “”, and others may have a term such as “SEO service”.
Since the beginning of SEO time, anchor text usage has been a key ranking factor in how well you rank in search results.  Well this year, Google decided they were going to roll out a change that would penalize your site if you have a site that is too well optimized for ranking.  That means if you have too many exact match anchors, that you’re going to suffer from the latest penalty.

I Thought I Was Doing Quality SEO Work?

Many of our clients we have taken on in the last 3 months have been from other agencies who were devastated by this change.  Their rankings fell, and in some cases disappeared, and we’re left to pick up the pieces.  No, this doesn’t necessarily mean you were using a bad SEO company before.  It just means that they weren’t forward thinking enough to see that over optimization was a possibility.
I’m not going to say we saw this coming either, as in my opinion 99% of SEO companies out there have over optimized at some point in time, but in reality we knew it just didn’t look natural to have every link have the same anchor text, so we began to diversify long, long before this algorithm change rolled out.  About 5% of our clients experienced a small drop when this change rolled out, about 70% saw an improvement in rankings, and about 25% were unchanged by the algorithm change.

Should I Switch SEO Companies If This Change Hurt Me?

Maybe, but maybe not.  I’m not writing this to push our services, I’m writing this article to inform small business owners.  What I will say is that it’s important to pick an SEO company that is forward thinking.  Sure its important to optimize your site for what works now, but if what they’re doing to rank your site is in the gray area, then it probably won’t be a long term traffic solution.
Rather you should find an SEO company that is doing things not just for search engines, but also for general marketing and for website usability.  That means they are doing things like optimizing pages for better user experience, marketing your site not just by building links on junk sites but on quality websites that will deliver referral traffic, and forward thinking to what may be the next large Google algorithm change because there is certainly going to be hundreds of changes in the near future.
If you’re working with another SEO company and you’ve experienced a large drop in rankings over the last few months, sign up for a free consultation by utilizing our form on the right and we’ll take an unbiased look at your website and linking profile and give you our honest recommendations.  Whether you choose to utilize us for your online marketing or not, we’ll tell you what we think of your site and overall marketing so you can be an informed business owner and know what potential problems may be out there.