Google is renowned for constantly changing and tweaking their algorithms to allow users to get to their intended digital destination in the shortest time possible. However some of their upcoming changes will shake the foundations of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and will leave internet marketers desperately rethinking their strategies for search engine domination. This is a huge takedown for them.
Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Spam (great title btw), recently announced that Google are currently working on an “Over Optimization” penalty, targeting websites which abuse link strategies. For example, those sites which are crammed full of links, but not much content and also have a suspicious number of links pointing to their site (known as backlinks).
The following excerpt, written by Bill Slawski on SEO by the sea, further explains Google’s aims to eradicate over optimised sites.
For instance, one patent that I wrote about in October of last year described how Google might identify when site owners take over other sites and use them to create links to their sites, using pages from the acquired sites as doorway pages. That can include links that might be part of private blog networks, or from individual pages that aren’t part of such networks.
Google’s Phrase-Based indexing approach also includes a method that might help to identify web spam based upon a statisically unusually high amount of related co-occurring phrases appearing upon a page.
Another Google patent that I wrote about a couple of years ago, Google’s Affiliated Page Link Patent, described how Google might limit the amount of PageRank that flowed from pages on one site to pages on another that appeared to be related in some manner, such as being under the same ownership or having some other close relationship.
An aim of good SEO is to improve the quality, relevance, and usability of pages for visitors, so that the objectives of the owners of those pages are furthered, and people actually looking for what is offered on those pages are more likely to find those pages. Optimization, as a term, means to make something the best that you can, and in SEO usually aims at making a page the best that one can in terms of satisfying people using a query term that the page is about, to meet their informational or situational or transactional needs.
There are many internet marketing practitioners who employ the tactics of filling website content with as many references as possible to a particular search keyword that they are targeting. Meaning that they want to appear close to the top of a given search engine for that specific search term in order to drive internet traffic to their site. They also try to build up a large network of backlinks, which has been a way of trying to trick search engines in to thinking that their site offers quality content. Bill Slawski details how Google’s penalty might deal with these types of strategies:
BuildMyRank, which had greatly assisted in these types of practices, has already felt the effects of Google’s relentless mission to tackle poor quality internet marketing sites. Zac Johnson describes more about this case on the blog site ppc.org:
Another change that Google will be introducing is called Semantic Search which will make use of artificial intelligence to understand the meaning of a query. Currently, the results which Google serves are based purely on the words that make up the search term. In the future Google will be looking to understanding how the words work together and garner the intent of the user’s search. Erin Everhart explores how this will effect SEO in an article published on mashable.com:
When people search, they aim to answer a question. They just search in the truncated version of that question. Keyword research is largely data-driven around the popularity of the terms in their question. Keyword research in semantic search will have to focus on what that person actually means when searching for that keyword.
For example: Yoga. What could people mean they search “yoga?”
- What is yoga?
- The different types of yoga
- How to do different yoga positions
- The best fit of yoga pants
- Yoga exercise videos
The possibilities are endless. When you’re framing your content in a semantic search world, it has to be around answering the specific questions people have as it relates to that keyword. With every sentence you write, ask yourself: How does this answer the searcher’s question? You will have to focus on the natural language even if those users are still focusing on keywords.
With Knowledge Graph, Google will now be answering questions itself, instead of relying on another website to provide the information. (You’re probably already seeing some of this in action.) So, not only will you have to be competing with companies for ranking, exposure and clicks in Google, but you’re competing against Google itself. And users aren’t going to leave something familiar like a result page to go to a website they’ve never heard of before.
These changes will allow Google to march on in their quest for quality content and getting users results ever more rapidly and innovatively. But, what will it mean for the current swathe of search engine marketers and internet profiteers? It will be interesting to see the new creative methodologies that emerge from these sectors in order to remain effective in their revenue pursuits.
Takedown News asks: Do you think Google’s proposed changes will giver better and faster results for the user?