Google and Your Site’s Future

Yesterday, Google’s Matt Cutts announced Google’s plans for the coming months.  I wanted to break it down for you here.  The topics covered are:

Upcoming Penguin Update

  • Advertorials
  • Queries That Lead To High Spam Results
  • Link Value
  • Hacked Sites
  • Authority Sites
  • Panda
  • Clusters Of Results From The Same Site
  • Improved Webmaster Communication

 Upcoming Penguin Update

We’re relatively close to deploying the next generation of Penguin,” said Matt Cutts. “Internally we call it ‘Penguin 2.0,’ and again, Penguin is a web spam change that’s dedicated to try to find black hat web spam, and try to target and address that. So this one is a little more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0, and we expect it to go a little bit deeper in have a little bit more of an impact than the original version of Penguin.”

Speculation is that it will hit within a couple weeks.  The take-away here:  You should have already been working on cleaning up your link profile. If you haven’t done that, now is definitely the time.  You also want to focus on building quality links via sharing quality content through social media.

Advertorials

We’ve also been looking at advertorials,” says Cutts .”That is sort of native advertising – and those sorts of things that violate our quality guidelines. So, again, if someone pays for coverage, or pays for an ad or something like that, those ads should not flow PageRank. We’ve seen a few sites in the U.S. and around the world that take money and do link to websites, and pass PageRank, so we’ll be looking at some efforts to be a little bit stronger on our enforcement as advertorials that violate our quality guidelines.”

There’s nothing wrong inherently with advertorials or native advertising, but they should not flow PageRank, and there should be clear and conspicuous disclosure, so that users realize that something is paid – not organic or editorial,” he adds.

Queries That Lead To High Spam Results

Google will be working more aggressively on certain queries that tend to draw a lot of spam.

Cutts says, “We get a lot of great feedback from outside of Google, so, for example, there were some people complaining about searches like ‘payday loans’ on Google.co.uk. So we have two different changes that try to tackle those kinds of queries in a couple different ways. We can’t get into too much detail about exactly how they work, but I’m kind of excited that we’re going from having just general queries be a little more clean to going to some of these areas that have traditionally been a little more spammy, including for example, some more pornographic queries, and some of these changes might have a little bit more of an impact on those kinds of areas that are a little more contested by various spammers and that sort of thing.”

Link Value

Cutts says, “We’re also looking at some ways to go upstream to deny the value to link spammers – some people who spam links in various ways. We’ve got some nice ideas on ways that that becomes less effective, and so we expect that that will roll out over the next few months as well.”

In fact, we’re working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated link analysis,” he adds. “We’re still in the early days for that, but it’s pretty exciting. We’ve got some data now that we’re ready to start munching, and see how good it looks. We’ll see whether that bears fruit or not.”

Hacked Sites

Google intends to improve how they handle hacked sites.

We also continue to work on hacked sites in a couple different ways,” says Cutts. “Number one: trying to detect them better. We hope in the next few months to roll out a next-generation site detection that is even more comprehensive, and also trying to communicate better to webmasters, because sometimes they see confusion between hacked sites and sites that serve up malware, and ideally, you’d have a one-stop shop where once someone realizes that they’ve been hacked, they can go to Webmaster Tools, and have some single spot where they could go and have a lot more info to sort of point them in the right way to hopefully clean up those hacked sites.

Authority Sites

If you’re an authority on any topic and you write a lot of useful, high quality content on the topic, this should be really good news for you.

We have also been working on a lot of ways to help regular webmasters,” says Cutts. “We’re doing a better job of detecting when someone is more of an authority on a specific space. You know, it could be medical. It could be travel. Whatever. And try to make sure that those rank a little more highly if you’re some sort of authority or a site, according to the algorithms, we think might be a little more appropriate for users.”

The take-away: If you aren’t already providing a lot of high quality content in your area of expertise, now is the time to start.  This isn’t a license to throw up a bunch of garbage and hope the engines like it.  They are looking at the quantity of quality information you have on a topic.

Clusters Of Results From The Same Site

Google has gotten a lot of complaints about domain clustering in the SERPs.

Cutts says, “We’ve also heard a lot of feedback from people about – if I go down three pages deep, I’ll see a cluster of several results all from one domain, and we’ve actually made things better in terms of – you would be less likely to see that on the first page, but more likely to see that on the following pages. And we’re looking a change, which might deploy, which would basically say that once you’ve seen a cluster of results from one site, then you’d be less likely to see more results from that site as you go deeper into the next pages of Google search results.

Panda

Cutts says, “We’ve also been looking at Panda, and seeing if we can find some additional signals (and we think we’ve got some) to help refine things for the sites that are kind of in the border zone – in the gray area a little bit. And so if we can soften the effect a little bit for those sites that we believe have some additional signals of quality, then that will help sites that have previously been affected (to some degree) by Panda.”

NOTE: Google changed their updating strategy for Panda. Webmasters used to nervously await coming Panda updates and they tended to be large updates. Now Google has turned it into a on-going/rolling update.   That means Panda will continue to update regularly and Google will no longer announce or confirm Panda updates.

Improved Webmaster Communication

We’re going to keep trying to figure out how we can give more information to webmasters…we’re also going to be looking for ways that we can provide more concrete details, [and] more example URLs that webmasters can use to figure out where to go to diagnose their site.”

Note: Matt Cutts was careful to note that any of this information is subject to change, and should be taken with a grain of salt.

And to end things, I leave you with this quote:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”   – Charles Darwin, scientist

That quote seems particularly relevant when talking about Google.  So what are you going to do to ensure your site fares well in the coming months?

As always, we offer a no-obligation consultation or proposal to check how your site is doing and to create an action plan for you going forward.  Request yours now:  http://www.ecombuffet.com/Consultation-request.htm

Here is the video from Google’s GoogleWebmasterHelp Channel on YouTube:

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