This week, Matt Cutts released a video on his own blog explaining what to expect in SEO over the next few months including Penguin 2.0 (larger and tougher than Penguin 1.0), rewarding authority, hacked sites and levelling the playing field for smaller businesses.
New blog post:What to expect in SEO in the coming months goo.gl/fb/atJJX
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 13, 2013
Before I explain it here (or you watch the video), I want you to have a think about what do YOU think we’ll see in the coming months? If you have a website you have probably heard about major updates to Google’s algorithms which have resulted in many websites losing rankings so have a think about why this is. As a website owner you really need to take ownership of your SEO (whether you do it in house or have an SEO Agency do it). To do this you need to understand why Google is making the changes it is making: let me explain.
Google wants to deliver the best possible website for a given search term. The best possible website is usually one that contains relevant information, functions correctly and is free from errors and one that other visitors have found useful and want to return to.
Makes sense right?
For years website owners and SEO’s have spent time trying to figure out what factors Google use to determine which website is the best possible result. The problem is, rather than giving Google exactly what it wants by investing time into create the best possible website, time has been spent on manipulating the system instead.
This has meant that some websites ranking at the top of results have not NATURALLY earned that position: they’ve manipulated the system instead.
Google has waged war on such practices and as its intelligence and technology has evolved, Google has become much more efficient at weeding out the sites that don’t deserve their rankings. Watch the video and listen carefully to his opening line “make a great site that users love and want to tell their friends about, bookmark and come back to.” Ask yourselves: How can I achieve this? Building unnatural links to your site, black hat SEO techniques is not going to achieve this. Creating a great site with great content users enjoy is going to achieve this. For your own sake, stop thinking about simply getting top positions, start thinking about creating a great website that your visitors will enjoy because if you don’t, these up and coming updates will potentially kill your website: it’s just a matter of time.
What to expect in SEO?
Penguin 2.0 – By the end of the summer Penguin 2.0 will be released. Last year the Penguin update sent shockwaves throughout the web by targeting websites with questionable links (such as paid for links). Penguin 2.0 will be the most “comprehensive version” and will go “deeper and have a larger impact” according to Cutts.
Advertorials: Earlier this year I blogged about Interflora’s penalty for buying Advertorial links from UK Newspapers. If you pay for coverage online that links to you with “followed” links that pass Page Rank, expect to be hit. Any coverage you pay for must be clear to users it is paid for coverage.
Going “upstream” to “deny value to link spammers” with “more sophisticated link analysis.” Again, Google will be targeting link networks and providers of “spammy” links to reduce the value of such links.
Hacked Sites & Communication – Detect hacked sites better and communicate better to Webmasters in Google Webmaster Tools. This will to help web masters clean up hacked sites and provide them with more “concrete details” to fix problems. Google are also sent to provide example URLS to diagnose problems, presumably to identify “bad links” too.
Authority – I’m excited about this! As I drone on about in most of my SEO blogs, creating great content and becoming an authority in your field is crucial for your SEO. Google have announced they are working harder to “detect authority in a specific space” and reward authoritative websites with better rankings over less authoritative sites. This will potentially help small and medium businesses get more visibility.
Panda Update – Additional signals to refine the Panda Google Algorithm and soften effects of borderline cases.
Clusters of results from 1 domain in search results. I hate seeing this, 1 website with several results in search that are no more relevant than the other. Thankfully Google are tackling this and you will soon more likely see clustered results on page 2 onwards.
I’m not dreading these changes one bit. They are great for SEO and great for the web. I hope every webmaster reading this will see it as advanced warning that if you still thinking “buy / build back links” over “create a great website with interesting content” your days are probably numbered as a webmaster. It’s worth noting that even if you have been “rehabilitated” and are focusing your attention on building a great website, you may still feel some pain as your links from the past come back to haunt you if you are penalised or if these links are watered down further as Penguin 2.0 delves deeper into your link profile.
So keep writing your interesting blogs, make sure your website is easy to use and give your visitors the best possible experience. If you do this, you are aligned with Google’s intentions and you’ll be fine. If not, then expect to have a “busy summer” as Matt Cutts says.