Professional SEO behaviour is changing, as is most behaviour post-2008 financial crisis. Online marketing experts like Lighthouse UK, have to lead the way in a new era for Search and Social media marketing because Google has put a lot of effort into tightening up its operation. It would be very easy to come to a conclusion that Google is against SEO professionals, but this is simply not the case. If anything most of the changes made by search engines to the way Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) are served has benefited the honest SEO professional.
Search engines like Google have one mission (no it isn’t selling AdWords advertising), that mission is to provide the best possible return to a user query. Whether it is a webpage, video, image or other, the number 1 result should be as close as possible to what the searcher is looking for. It’s not an easy task when you consider the psychology of search users, but that’s another blog post. The other difficulty in this task is human elements on both sides that include webmasters wanting their online property to be ranked highest with the minimum of effort. Unfortunately, some individuals under the name of SEO have used various methods to manipulate higher site ranking. When search engines were simple this was also very simple to do. More recently as the web becomes larger and more sophisticated, search engines have had to up their game to stay relevant, and useful.
The Panda update was launched at the beginning of 2011 and was implemented to encourage website owners to create higher quality content. Websites lacking any substantial content where considered less relevant than websites that offered meaningful text and multimedia that was beneficial to users and answered search queries.
This cute sounding update is actually a vicious attack against web spammers. Launched in April 2012 the penguin update was specifically targeting techniques that fall under the label of “Black hat SEO”, I would say it is important for webmasters to learn about these techniques, only to ensure they don’t accidentally ‘come a cropper’. I won’t list the techniques here however they are very easy to find.
• Page layout
The imagined bane of designers, the page layout ‘improvement’ was not aimed at web designers who liked the minimalist approach to web-design, or filled pages with Flash animation to structure content. Its intention was to target websites that do not display quality content above the fold, this type of website is likely to be filling up the page “real estate” with adverts, which although probably using the Google AdWords search network, isn’t useful for Google to have as a middleman.
Cyberpunk for 2013
So Google is toughening up on web developers, this is not a bad thing. I am still eagerly awaiting a time when websites can use more stylish technologies like flash, etc. and the WWW becomes more individualised. Until then I happy to be served the best possible results for my search queries.
Looking cool is one thing, but getting the info I need is the priority. We as net-citizens shall lead the way, search engines must follow.