The SEO guru at Google, Matt Cutts, answered some questions today about what the future of SEO looks like and some of the changes you can expect to see over the summer. By the end of the summer, Google will be rewarding sites that follow good, white hat SEO tactics, while penalizing black hats, link farms and spammers. He laid out in 10 different steps what Google will be looking at and continuing to crack down on. Here are a few of his points highlighted.
In the coming weeks, Google will be launching Penguin 2.0 (or Penguin 4), which will have a much deeper impact on the SEO community compared to the first Penguin Update. If you know anything about SEO recently, the first Penguin update caused quite the uproar when Webmasters started seeing their search rankings drop. This means you can plan on hearing some more groans this summer when the new Penguin update is released. If you are new to the Penguin Updates, they essentially target cheap, black hat SEO links that are used on link farms and other low quality links. Penguin also targeted websites that overstuffed keywords to try to trick search engines into a higher page rank.
An Advertorial is an ad that is made to look like an editorial. Google warned the SEO community that strict penalties will ensue for websites that use them. However, many are enraged because they believe that Google is being hypocritical saying that Google use advertorials in many Google products. We first heard Google talk about Advertorials in February of 2013 when they slammed a flower shop from the UK, Interflora, which was trying to get extra sales around Valentine’s day by using Advertorials. Not only was Interflora penalized, but Google went even further to penalize the news outlets that placed the Advertorials. It is estimated the Interflora lost 95% of their SEO visibility. If that’s not enough to make you avoid Advertorials, nothing will.
If it’s your domain, you love domain clusters. If it’s a competitor, it will drive you nuts! Domain clusters are when you perform a search and the same domain shows up 3, 4, 5+ times on the first page of SERP’s. Google would like to diversify the results that show up on the first page so that users get more choices. From the 2nd page of results on, you will be more likely to see clusters of the same domain. There is one question that immediately comes to mind. If you are a webmaster that has 4 links showing up on the first page, and Google is going to narrow it down to 1, will the 1 link that remains on the first page get some sort of boost to rank higher on the first page? Or is this only something that will hurt you by taking away your other 3 links? Also, how will they decide which links remains? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Matt Cutts’ video goes on to cover even more topics beyond these, which we will cover tomorrow, but the overall message is loud and clear; It will pay to practice White Hat SEO, or else your website will be slammed with penalties throughout the upcoming summer months.
By Mike Fedotowsky