Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Search Quality, released a new webmaster video earlier this week discussing what SEO’s can expect to happen in the next few months. It’s definitely worth a watch.
Takeaways and reactions:
- Continued active reduction in power of low quality links: the removal of SEO value derived from irrelevant, untrusted links – links that likely exist solely for SEO purposes – remains a major priority. Data and insights from the Disavow Links tool are sure to play a part.
- Advertorials and Native Advertising under close review: sounds like Google is collecting information about specific major sites, which will probably result in unnatural link warnings for advertisers and slaps on the wrist for most publishers
- Steps are being taken to stop link sellers ‘upstream’: mentions ‘nice ideas’ on the subject so must be good. Bulk domain buyers are probably going to be in the cross-hairs, especially those using automated scripts to register any available domains with PageRank.
- Hacked site detection improving: great for Google and for all mankind. This is probably going to impact the ‘darker’ niches the most (pharma, gambling, etc.) who dabble with this tactic, but am guessing that these webmasters would be ready for that because Google’s always on the chase.
- Panda revision: softening the impact on sites that fall in the grey area, providing the quality signals are there. How many of you know someone who was Pandalised unfairly? Sounds like they’ll catch that long waited for break…
Matt does touch on Google’s continued mission to reward ‘great sites’ that ‘users love’, ‘bookmark’, and ‘tell their friends about’, which ultimately is what makes the internet awesome for us all. If you’re wondering exactly what makes a ‘great site’, you may enjoy flicking through the Search Quality Rating Guidelines PDF that were used by contractors working for Google to rate the quality of their results, which then informed the engineers who code the algorithms. For more SEO advice from Google, grab the Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide PDF, and for more information about algorithm updates over the years, check out SEOmoz’s Google Algorithm Change History.