Matt Cutts at PubCon – What Is Next For SEO?
As he does every year Matt Cutts today stepped onto the stage at PubCon to discuss what he feels will be upcoming over the next year in Search Engine Optimisation. Today I’ll be discussing what I feel are the highlights and the need-to-know of SEO so you are ready for the upcoming algorithmic changes which effect campaigns over the next year or so. Some updates we may never hear of again and I suspect there will be more announced, but in a typical Google fashion, we will probably never actually know why.
As the head of webspam at Google, the tips Matt gave here are really something you should be taking notice of.
- Penguin! – This year we saw Penguin 2.0 and webmasters rejoice as it didn’t seem to hit very hard at all. In response to this, Google released Penguin 2.1 which hit more intensely. There are more of these to come so brace yourselves and prepare. Of course if you haven’t been doing the wrong sort of ‘SEO’, you should have anything to worry about. Just a tip though, some older SEO techniques are now seen as unsavoury, so if you’ve made no attempt to clean up your act you may be in danger of being penalised.
- Hacking – This will be a core focus for Google’s Webspam team moving forward. They are going after the hackers in an attempt to reduce the impact that they have on search results.
- Bad Things – Recent trends in news saw Google come under fire for the inclusion of illegal activities in the search results. This has taken some time but specific illegal searches will be blocked from results in all countries.
- SPAM! – By spam, I of course mean spammy searches such as Payday Loans are being looked into at an attempt to increase the quality of the results that Google brings back.
- PageRank – I imagine all SEO’s were looking to hear something regarding the pagerank update status. Matt confirmed that no update will be applied before the end of this year and for the future it’s looking less and less likely as “the pipeline” that feeds pagerank is broken and Google are not in a rush to fix it as people are relying too heavily on it.
- Mobile – Mobile is growing a lot faster than previously anticipated. For example 40% of YouTube videos are now viewed on a mobile device. It’s getting bigger by the day and if you do not have a mobile strategy ready, then chances are you are going to lose. Mobile rankings are also set to change quite significantly with updates to include flash detection; if you don’t have flash installed on your device Google won’t return a website that has any flash in it. This means it’s more important than ever to ensure you website is flash free; so switch it up and turn it into HTML5.
- Auto Complete – Chrome has added a more advanced auto form complete feature which allows users to have a contact form filled out instantly. Google will be looking at websites that include this feature and as a bonus for you; it means a visitor is more likely to convert through your website.
- Social/Authorship – 2 ranking factors merged together?! Surely not! Well it’s actually happening. The social factor of ranking will be increasing your authorship. This doesn’t mean that if you get 100 tweets you’re Google royalty, it means long term, a good social presence will see you valued, but you need to keep it up. Authorship will actually be devalued 15% in the coming months to ensure that quality of authorship remains high and relevant.
- Top Ad Heavy – Expect another algorithm update here to tackle websites that are ramming in adverts above the fold.
- Advertorials – Advertorials are common in the SEO world and now more than ever. An article with a follow link in it is a good link, but Google will be further cracking down on this so it may be time to take a step back and fully assess the risks. Stop buying links that pass PageRank!
- Panda – Last but not least, the panda update which Google will actually be softening in the coming year to bring back websites and content that was hit too harshly.
That is a lot in information to take in and a lot more than those above were mentioned in Matt’s talk, but look out for the video stream when it appears online to get the full picture. The points above are those which I feel are the most important aspects from the talk Matt gave today and moving forward, we need to be taking note to safeguard ourselves in the future and protect our websites from that stomach churning drop in rankings. There was a small mention of Hummingbird but nothing that we didn’t already know at the moment and Matt also expressed his delight with Google Now and how people don’t need to actually search for the information that they already need.