Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, has just released a new video that reveals some of the search engine’s upcoming algorithmic changes or changes when it is displaying search results. You can watch the 7-minute video below. The changes will be seen in the next few months. And more than anyone else, it is the spammers who are likely to feel the immediate effects.
An eventful summer: Google search spam chief Matt Cutts talks about the company’s upcoming changes regarding SEO in a new video.
While it’s a detailed explanation of nearly a dozen changes, it’s easy to sum it up with a quote from Cutts:
“If you’re doing high quality content whenever you’re doing SEO, this shouldn’t be a big surprise. You shouldn’t have to worry about a lot of different changes. But if you’re hanging out in black hat forums and trading different types of spamming package tips, that sort of stuff, then it might be a more eventful summer for you.”
Penguin 2.0 Almost Ready for Deployment
Google is preparing to launch the next generation of Penguin, its anti-black hat web spam algorithm update. According to Cutts, Penguin 4, (called Penguin 2.0 internally) will be more comprehensive compared to the first one and will have a little bit more impact. But as usual, it’s dedicated to targeting black hat web spam.
In a nutshell, this means SEO agencies who have been using or who are looking to resort to dubious practices to jump rankings must think twice. As for SEO agencies and consultants employing white label SEO outsource providers, this means you should take extra care in selecting your service fulfillment partner. Should you have unfortunately picked a firm that practices black hat SEO, it could backfire on your websites once Penguin 2.0 rolls out. It is always better to be on the safe – and yes, ethical – side of things.
A Much More Sophisticated Link Analysis to Detect Link Spam
The search engine giant plans to “go upstream” and deny value to link spammers in the next few months. This will make their usual devices less effective. Could this mean another crackdown on link farms and similar networks that pass or sell PageRank benefits? It could be. But what Cutts mentioned was a new sophisticated link analysis system in the making. It is still in early stages but the company is making progress because they now have data to work with.
Cutts said that the new changes for the upcoming months will target several areas, including those “traditionally” contested by many spammers. He mentioned “pay day loans” as an example, adding that even searches that are pornographic in nature can be affected. Again, there is nothing to worry about here unless your SEO relies on dubious link farms. Complications may arise though when clients are unsure if they are receiving traffic from shady sources.
Be Clear When You are Publishing an Advertorial
To be fair with users, it should be clear when content is editorial and when it is advertorial. Google shares this view and is looking at “some efforts to be a little bit stronger” when it comes the enforcement of their guidelines.
While stressing that there’s nothing inherently wrong with advertorials or native advertising, Cutts said they’ve seen a few sites in the U.S. and around the world that take money and then link to websites and pass PageRank. This is what Google wants to avoid. There must be clear and conspicuous disclosure so that users realize whether something is paid and not organic or editorial, he added.
Be an Authority, Rank Higher
Among the many changes that will help regular webmasters, is Google’s improving detection of “authorities” in a certain space. “(We are) trying to make sure that those rank a little more highly if you’re some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think might be a little more appropriate for users,” he said.
This means that agencies and end-clients must place emphasis on establishing the authority of their websites and content authors. This is done of course by publishing high quality and engaging content. Next is incorporating Google+ authorship into their SEO. Google+ authorship is a way of keeping Google aware of a website’s and authors authority signals.
As long as you’re working hard for users, we’re working hard to try to show your high quality content to users as well.” – Matt Cutts, Google search spam chief.
Introduced in February 2011, Panda has been in constant operation ever since and is being updated every now and then. The filter is meant to prevent sites that contain poor quality content from ranking high in search results. Cutts said the company is working on ways to “soften” Panda’s effects to sites that are in the “border zone or grey area.”
“If we can soften the effect a little bit for those sites that we believe have some additional signals of quality, that will help sites that might have previously been affected to some degree by Panda,” he said.
More Tools for Hacked Webmasters
Among the things Google is working on is better provision of information to webmasters. The company wants to guide those whose sites have been hacked, giving them ideas on what to do; as well as by compiling “concrete” details like URLs where they can diagnose sites for possible hacking.
“Ideally you have a one stop shop where once someone realizes that they have been hacked, they can go to webmaster tools and have some single spot they can go where they get a lot more info to sort of point them in the right way to hopefully clean up those hacked sites,” Cutts said.
Apart from communication with webmasters, Google also hopes to roll out a more comprehensive next-generation detection system for hacked sites. At present, there’s some confusion when differentiating hacked sites from sites that serve up malware, he admitted.
Less Clustered Search Results
Over the past few months, people have been giving feedback to Google about clustered search results from one domain. Google, however, is tweaking this. The emergence of clustered results therefore will be lessened in the upcoming months, with Cutts saying those types of results are likely to appear in succeeding pages instead. And if a user has already seen clustered results, he is less likely to see such results from the same domain in the succeeding pages.
The Ultimate Tip to Survive Google Changes
At the end of the day, what you need is a compelling website. These are the factors that make it compelling, according to the Google official: 1) people love the website 2) they want to tell their friends about it 3) they bookmark it 4) they come back to it and 5) visit it over and over again.
“As long as you’re working hard for users, we’re working hard to try to show your high quality content to users as well,” assures Cutts.
This stresses Google’s preference for high quality content that is worth enjoying and sharing over keyword-stuffed “articles”. When you have a website, you need content that’s engaging and SEO-optimized – content that’s actually beneficial to your or your client’s target market.