Aside from everything else it does well, Google is very good at keeping SEO professionals on their toes. Last week at SMX, Google’s Matt Cutts announced that the search company is working on an algorithm update that will penalize over-optimized sites. And while we don’t know all the details of this new penalty, Cutts did say Google hopes “to release it in the next months or few weeks.” This new penalty is one of several topics I discuss with TM Social Media Manager Michael L. Hoffman in this week’s SEO Web Talk Radio Show.

This is just one more link in the chain of updates Google has released in the past year. Ever since Panda’s inception in February 2011, Google has been making an active effort to fight against lower-quality sites and gear the search engine’s focus toward content and away from keywords. But that’s not to say keywords aren’t important–they are, just not in the same ways they were a few years ago. What Google has done is draw a line in the proverbial sand and created a divide between websites with content-driven strategies and sites with keyword-driven strategies. And at TM, we’re positive the former will be victorious.

What Google wants is for websites to create content that readers want to read and that they want to share. So while optimizing your site is still crucial, don’t overdo it since you could hurt yourself in the long run. Duane Forrester of Bing also talked about the importance of content, but in relation to social. He said that if you’re not creating content readers want to share, you’re not doing a good enough job. We agree. And yes, we know this is like beating a dead horse sometimes, but if you have a business of any kind (local, corporation, etc.), you need to be active in social media. Especially Google+.

If we wanted, we could do a podcast just about Google+ every week which is probably why it finds its way into our discussions on a regular basis. But as Michael points out, being active on Google+ is not only a good idea, it’s necessary. Google has brought two things to the forefront in 2012: localization and social sharing. And Google+ is your one-stop shop to embrace both of those. Our suggestion is that you not only get on Google+ if you’re not already, but ramp up your presence. You don’t have to post every hour on the hour, just produce regular content for your followers and fans.

Speaking of your fans, have you updated your Facebook Business Page to the new Timeline layout yet? No? As of March 30, all Business Pages will be forced to adopt the new Timeline setup and it’s important that your profile is ready. No, the world won’t end if you don’t update your Facebook Page immediately, but your page will look like a skeleton. Listen to our podcast below to learn what you should do to prepare your Page for the new Timeline.

Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think of Google’s over-optimization penalty or Facebook Timeline in the comments!

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