Google Webmaster Central Creator Talks Google’s “New” Google Changes

    March 19, 2012
    Chris Crum
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Perhaps “anti-SEO” is a little strong, but as previously reported, Google is working on making SEO matter less. At a recent SXSW session, Google’s Matt Cutts discussed (without a lot of details) some changes Google is going to be making to “level the playing field” for mom and pops, in terms of how sites can gain visibility in search.

“Normally, we don’t sort of pre-announce changes, but there is something we’ve been working on in the last few months, and hopefully in the next couple months or so, or you know, in the coming weeks, we hope to release it,” said Cutts. “And the idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit, so all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, ‘over-optimization’ or overly doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little more level.

Update: Vanessa Fox offered some additional observations to WebProNews. >>> Click here to read the article.

“So that’s the sort of thing where we try to make the website…the Googlebot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive, so the people who don’t do SEO, we handle that, and then we also start to look at the people who sort of abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on the page or whether they exchange way too many links, or whatever they’re doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area,” he continued. “So that is something where we continue to pay attention, and continue to work on it…we have several engineers on my team working on that right now.”

Naturally, many webmasters and SEOs are wondering just what all of this will mean for SEO going forward. Combine that, with a reported strategy of Google’s to greatly expand its direct answer results, which could also slow traffic to some sites.

Vanessa Fox, the former Googler who built Webmaster Central, offers some perspective in a blog post.

My thoughts on Google’s upcoming “over optimization” algorithm change: http://t.co/qsG4j0rM 10 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

“A lot of people have asked me what this means for those who include search engine optimization as part of their marketing mix,” says Fox in the post. “Some are worried that Google will begin to penalize sites that have implemented search engine optimization techniques. My thoughts? I think that some site owners should worry. But whether or not you should depends on what you mean by search engine optimization.”

Interestingly, she compares Google’s approach to what the company has been doing with the Panda update, in that it’s about “separating high-quality, useful pages from pages that were just a collection of words about a particular topic.”

“Matt talked about finding ways to surface smaller sites that may be poorly optimized, if, in fact, those sites have the very best content,” Fox says. “This is not anything new from Google. They’ve always had a goal to rank the very best content, regardless of how well optimized or not it may be. And I think that’s the key. If a page is the very best result for a searcher, Google wants to rank it even if the site owner has never heard of title tags. And Google wants to rank it if the site owner has crafted the very best title tag possible. The importance there is that it’s the very best result.”

One great point that she brought up is that Cutts was not speaking at a search conference, when he was talking about this. It’s a different audience, in which he may not have gotten as specific about certain things with, as he may have at a conference like SMX Advanced.

The way Fox talks about it, it almost sounds like he could have even been talking about Panda-related offerings. Remember how Google has made Panda more a part of “its pipelines” recently. Wouldn’t that be part of “making Googlebot smarter,” as Matt put it?

Fox tells us, however, she doesn’t think what Matt was talking about is part of Panda, though I doubt we’re going to get much more out of Google on the subject, other than the usual monthly lists of changes. Either way, it does seem to fit with the greater philosophy behind Panda, which is really just about returning the best content anyway. More on this topic to come.

  • http://www.ShoutMeLoud.com Harsh Agrawal

    Ahh..I wish if Google stop playing cat and mice game and instead of giving hints..make it clear..What changes they bringing and how they going to define over optimized SEO……
    And how they going to draw a boundary line between White hate- Grey hat and Black hat SEO…

  • http://techtwisted.com/ Rajnish

    Hey Harsh Love to see you at this really big blog. And I think the new updates of Google is Surely Going to affect Many Webmaster Like me.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    This is just more of Google flip flopping around. First it was that SEO didn’t matter as much as the content did, then Panda seemed to debunk what Google was saying it was doing as Panda seemed to make SEO signals to be more of the front runner of signals. Now they’re saying they’re back to content being the strongest signal? Didn’t they learn that the content farms were far better at producing generic content that ranks higher at far greater speed than your typical publisher and that Google simply is pretty bad at figuring out when that was happening? See, I think the search result blocking tool was a great idea. Let the end user simply remove what they don’t like out of search results. Let’s see a content farm SEO their way out of tens of millions of users blocking their site from their search results. If anything it would let Google determine which sites it should manually penalize rather than trying to find an algorithm to handle it that could affect millions of other sites that are of high quality content (or at least visitor behavior says they are, such as from a low bounce rate and repeat visitor count). See, I don’t think Google needed to create Panda, and I wish they would kill it. I think they needed to figure out who the biggest offenders were of low quality content and take action against those sites manually. If the publisher uses Webmaster tools they would see a notice that their site has been penalized. Then the publisher could fix the issues and file an appeal. Google needs to treat itself as the biggest content farm there is and police it’s own network. It does need the help of the public as the entire web is more vast than YouTube and Google relies on the public to tell it if some video shouldn’t be on YouTube. Yeah, if nobody complained about a video, it would stay up there forever without YouTube knowing it is.

  • http://www.replica-sunglasses.co.uk/womens-sunglasses/ Lisa

    Its a very clear signal from google that google will give importance to even sites that are not optimized but have quality content. This is a dam serious issue. If this is the update that’s gona happen then there is danger for the SEO industry who have been doing SEO.

    Google won’t be clear in this issue, its only after google releases Algo update.

  • http://www.startablog.info/ Robin

    In a nutshell, Google did not say anything after the Panda onslaught.

  • http://www.seozooms.com SEO Zooms

    Dear Chris, thanks for the newly packed old wine. Happy to hear it from matt and it works like a refresher course. Expecting some refreshers like this in the future. It enables our confidence in our SEO practices and the video is enough for convincing our benefactors. Thanks a log again

  • http://www.solar-internet.com PJ

    It has always been about content and is some ways I agree. I don’t want to search for something only to be presented with bad quality content or a page full of adverts. Yes of course if I am searching for ‘car hire at X airport’ then I would hope to read information about that subject SPECIFIC to the airport and access to be able to hire a car.

    Maybe we all just need to update our practises. Title tags can be tpp heavy on the keywords, H1’s are often way to repetative and content is often written for the spiders not for the people searching.

    It will be a challenge I am sure but I think those of us that do it correctly with good content should always prosper.

  • http://www.bestonweb.biz martyn laker

    As we have all always known, ‘Content is King!’ and always will be. I think I welcome what Google is hinting at but don’t know for sure until it becomes implemented.

  • http://www.bestshopping.mobi martyn laker

    Saying that, Google could be doing the opposite of what they are hinting at and the ‘little man’ could be heavily penalised and never get a fair chance against the internet super powers! lol

  • http://www.bigoakinc.com Shell Harris

    I keep hearing and reading the same thing from Google and I want to believe them: good content is all you need and people will come and Google will follow and more people will come and so on. But reality is very different when I continue to see exact match keyword phrase domains still out ranking much better sites and then site that are simply older with outdated information outranking newer sites simply due to age and age of links. I would love to see better content get better rankings as we can control that. Step up, Google!

    How we wish Google worked – http://www.rankedhard.com/google-guy-vs-black-hat.php

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    Will someone please tell me what quality content is and who decides what’s quality and what isn’t? Is Matt trying to tell us that the bots are going to decide? When did the bots learn to read? This is a bunch of BS. Google can’t decide what’s good content and what isn’t. And they can’t decide if your content is better than mine. If they could then THEY WOULDN’T NEED AN ALGORITHM. Think about it.

  • http://myfreelancecopywriter.com/ Seo Copywriter

    I think in next update Google will give more value to quality content as previous. Hope Google Panda update will be in favor of Quality SEO instead of quantity.

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  • ravi mittal

    hello Google,

    please solve this penguin updated problem. I follow every guidelines by you.and yet i affected by your new updation..I have lot’s problem financially i have to pay my lot’s expenses so please think about it..Tell me how can i pay now?

    my complete business has been destroyed.How can i solve it Problem..lot’s of people affected by your updated.lot’s of people are unemployed now..Why did u do this things..GOOGLE PLEASE HELP MATT CUTS, PLEASE HELP GOOGLE. We all are depend on you. Our business is running on You GOOGLE But these days every person is problem.Every one have lot’s of expectation by you but you don’t think about it..I got lot’s traffic on Google.

    But now What Should I do?????

    Please Give us answer i got lot’s of financial problem after updated your penguin updated Please, Please, Please Solve this problem…

    Please help us Google..As Soon As Possible.

    Otherwise everything will be destroyed and every person who’s interest on You Google will Blame on You..I really Like You Google. When I open my Internet I open u Only you know Why Google. Because I really like you..Every person most like you prefer other than Search Engine..So Why did you Do this things.

    Please Don’t Do Like this..SEO Industry will be finished lot’s of company, lot’s of people are working with SEO. Every person will be unemployed..So Please think about it Google..I hope You will solve my all problems as soon as possible..