Matt Cutts – head of Google’s search quality team (and as a colleague commented the other day – one of the most powerful people on the planet) has made a new video. This outlines in his usual friendly, noncommittal manner what Google is doing in the next few months as far as the hugely influential search algorithm goes. (Google seldom pre-announces anything!)
In other words…
Things are about to get very rocky in the website sea!
Hold on to your hats everyone!
Google has “pre-announced” a number of areas where they are going to seek out and punish sites that are using “black hat” SEO techniques to artificially push sites up Google’s search results. Again.
The unfortunate thing is that your site might very well fall into this category without you even being aware of it.
We do have sympathy for the cause…
No one likes cheats and no one likes lazy people gaining big returns for very little effort (or if you are Black Hat – being smart enough and entrepreneurial enough and technically brilliant enough to subvert the biggest business in the world to make money)
The problem with black hat is that it is not a long term business proposition. Awesome for quick buck hacks but scary for real businesses and reputations.
To be honest I think it is amusing that these guys think they are smarter than a couple of hundred of the world’s top engineers…
But, back to the impending Google updates.
The importance of the Penguin Update
No one expected the first Penguin update to be as game-changing as it was.
The SEO world shifted on its axis – any manipulative “link building” was suddenly at best almost worthless and at worst a huge detriment to a client website and business.
I won’t go into Penguin 1.0 detail here as it has been very well covered elsewhere.
But the major outcome from our perspective has been the elimination of a huge number of cheap, automated, low quality SEO services offering the world’s riches for tuppence.
And there have been real benefits for great websites that are technically sound, that offer great user experience, that have high quality, well structured content, that have a commitment to fresh, high value information and a social sharing strategy. These benefits can be profound as I documented in this ROI/website visitor growth case study.
And true to his word Penguin 2.0 has just been rolled out. It is too early to make any judgements around whether it has been more effective, more punitive and whether the desired outcome has been achieved.
We will track this closely as the next days and weeks pass.
I am sure there are a lot of very nervous people out there right about now…
Before I digress further let’s get right down to what Mr Cutts is promising in the next few months.
Here’s the video:
So what are the big takeaways from the announcement?
My first thought is that like an iceberg only a small portion will ever be visible above the surface. Google seldom gives a warning of impending action and if it does you can guarantee it will be big!
Forget the platitudes and forget the cuddly Matt Cutts persona.
This will be a rocky road for many.
Impending Google updates and what you need to do
Penguin 2.0 – Now live
In my opinion this is the biggie. This has been telegraphed as far back as SMX West in early March and it has been built up as an update to be deeply concerned about if you have ever strayed across the line.