By Amy @BubbleJobs
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you’ve been away from home for the last week or so, you’ll have already heard that the next Penguin update is officially on its way and Google have a whole host of changes planned that might/will affect the SEO industry in 2013.
I covered everything Matt Cutts mentioned in his webmaster video on Tuesday so I’m not going to go through all that again. Instead, I thought I’d take a look at how you as an individual site owner might be affected by what I’ve chosen to call Google’s upcoming “Summer of Love”. OK, I know it’s actually going to be pretty painful for some SEOs – but hey, you can’t blame me for trying to look on the bright side!
Now, you might not think these changes are going to have any effect on your business whatsoever because you employ an agency to handle all your SEO and online marketing – but you might want to think again! In fact, you might want to start asking some very serious questions to work out whether your business is currently riding high in the SERPs for all the right reasons or whether you need to prepare yourself for a very sudden fall from grace.
Without further ado then, let’s take a look at what Google has in store for the SEO industry over the next couple of months.
1. Penguin 2.0: The original killer link spam update is back to shake things up… and this time it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before. Matt Cutts said this week they’re “relatively close” to rolling it out and said he expects it to be one of the most talked about algorithm updates of the year. Think the first one was bad? I have a feeling you ‘ain’t seen nothin’ yet’! Eek!
Should You Be Worried? It depends. If you’ve been collecting links like they’re going out of fashion over the last six months or so using less than conspicuous methods, then yes – you definitely need to panic! In the past, Penguin has tackled things like directory spam, article spinning and keyword heavy anchor text links – so we should expect to see more of the same with the new update – but I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg (sorry!). Google’s already told us that we should forget about link building and concentrate on content instead – so I think this next update is going to seriously start tackling some of the more obvious link building techniques like link selling and buying, reciprocal linking, link networks (they’ve started on this this week) and any links that are deemed to be irrelevant.
If you’ve mostly been playing by the rules and only really indulged in some of the more grey-black hat techniques once or twice, I wouldn’t worry too much but if you’ve really been gaming the system and building links left, right and centre from any site that says ‘yes’, you might want to prepare yourself for the worst!
2. Advertorials/Native Advertising: Following the Interflora episode, it’s no surprise Google’s looking to crack down on advertorials that violate their quality guidelines and pass Page Rank.
Should You Be Worried?: If you’ve been publishing shed-loads of advertorials on your site without declaring them to be paid content, then yes, you should definitely be worried. Seriously – the Interflora debacle was a warning! Why didn’t you listen? Similarly, if you’ve been using sponsored advertorials to link build and pass Page Rank, you might want to clean up your act.
3. Clean Up Spam Queries: While they’ve previously looked the other way when it came to tackling queries where spam is prevalent in the SERPs like ‘payday loans’ and pornography keywords, Google have said they’re now working on two new changes to clean up the SERPs when dealing with queries like this.
Should You Be Worried?: It depends on your industry – and what you’ve been doing to secure your SERPs. If you’re working in an industry like payday loans and you’ve been using spammy techniques, you know for sure a change is coming – they pretty much spelt it out to you – however, it’s hard to say what other industries could be hit. If you’re part of a dodgy affiliate network that’s currently dominating the SERPs in a competitve industry, there’s a pretty strong chance you’ll be affected.
4. Reward Authority Sites In Niche Industries: It’s the news all hard working online businesses that invest heavily in authorative content have been waiting for – Google’s going to start rewarding authority sites in niche industries! Hurrah!!
Should You Be Worried?: Unless you’ve been failing to produce great content and you’ve been living off your history alone, probably not.
5. More Sophisticated Link Analysis: This one’s a little cryptic but Google’s currently working a new system which allows it to carry out more sophisticated link analysis on certain sites.
Should You Be Worried?: Maybe – if you’ve been sneakily collecting links using a spammy method Google has yet to identify! This new system means Google’s going to be better able to analyse all of your links so if you’ve suddenly amassed a solid 500 new links a day from a certain date, you might have something to worry about. Remember, Google wants natural links – so anything it identifies as ‘unnatural’ could potentially be a target in the future!
6. Limit ‘Cluster’ Results: Google are currently working on a technique to limit cluster results (different pages from the same domain) to one page of the SERPs.
Should You Be Worried?: Not really – this is just really going to affect how SERPs look in the future. If you’ve been enjoying cluster results across multiple SERP pages for a while, this update is obviously going to affect you – however it’s aimed at giving users a better experience so there’s not really much you can do about this!
Passed with flying colours? Then roll on the changes! Identified a couple of potential issues? It might be time to rethink your strategy and clean up your act now… before it’s too late!