Disclaimer, I am quoting Matt Cutts’ video and adding my own recommendations to comply with google guidelines. Several years ago, I considered myself an authority on google search engine optimization. I think the expert or authority title is no longer appropriate as there are probably very few, if any, humans that could be an authority on the complex algorithms that now power google search.
Matt Cutts released a video on May 13, 2013 titled, “What to expect in SEO in the coming months.” The topic of this video is upcoming Penguin 2.0 updates. Matt starts with the recommendation of “try to make a great site that user’s love. ” As he says, they try to make sure if that’s your goal and google is aligned with that goal, that it will result in showing high quality content to users.
Google is close to releasing the next generation of Penguin, referred to as Penguin 2.0. Here are some of the things that likely are included and my editorial comment on what you need to do to be in compliance. Please note, the what you need to do comments are my personal recommendations, not necessarily from google (although I am trying to interpret the best way to follow google guidelines).
1. Advertorials – If you pay for an advertisement, google wants to be a little bit stronger on ads that violate quality guidelines. If someone pays for an ad, those ads should not float PageRank and should be clear and conspicuous that they are paid.
Myview, As per google webmaster guidelines, external links from paid advertisements should use rel=”nofollow” which indicates to google to not pass PageRank. Note, I think that google will not pass PageRank anyway if there is reason to suspect that a link is paid or some other quality factor affects the website in question. Ads need to be marked as paid. If you have banner ads in the header or side column, a small header such as “Related Ads” should suffice. It’s a little harder when the ad is in text within content on the site. A possible rollover link with small related ads title might work, or a footnote in the footer of the page might work.
2. Link Spammers – google is working on a system that does a more sophisticated analysis of links and looking upstream with the goal that some link spam will be less effective.
Myview, link building as done in the old days is a thing of the past. Submitting to directories, posting on forums just for the link, paying for links on content farms, posting on blogs, and writing articles are all less effective or even detrimental. Yes, it is good to be an active member of a forum with subjects related to your websites and maybe as you are perceived as an expert, you will get some traffic to your website. But do not expect it to boost your sites rankings in google. Links that are more likely to help your site will come spontaneously from other websites or social media by genuine users that are referring to your site or products.
3. Hacked Sites – google is trying to detect them better and communicate better to webmasters.
Myview, keep your wordpress up to date, passwords secure, monitor your sites and make sure you have your sites in google webmaster tools – they will notify you when they see malware or other signs of hacking. If you are on shared hosting, I have found that if you notify your host, they can often trace the source of a hack faster than you can.
4. Authority – google is working to do a better job of detecting when someone is an authority in a space.
Myview, websites should always have contact information, phone, email, and address when appropriate. I know that when I look at a contact page and there is nothing but a form, I wonder why they are hiding their identity. If a site is tied to you personally, how about adding a picture and a bio? Then list your credentials as an expert in the field. This should help google figure out that you are an authority.
5. Sites in the Gray Area – Matt mentioned that they will soften the effects on some sites that have been affected when they do have some signals of authority.
Myview, there is some hope for sites that have been affected by Penguin 1.0, work on your authority signals.
6. Cluster of Results – google is looking at a change that once you have seen a cluster of results, it is less likely that you will see a cluster deeper in the results.
Myview, no way to affect this change. I just wish google would shorten the cluster of results on the first page of results. I have not heard anything indicating that they will.
Matt ended by saying they were working to get more information to webmasters. All of Matt’s comments are a rough snapshot, things can change. He is excited about these changes coming in summer of 2013.
Myview, I am excited about these changes as well. I think there is some hope for websites to recover from Penguin 1.0 if they follow google webmaster guidelines. I would work on authority indicators and carefully evaluate linking strategies.