Recently at SXSW Google spokesman Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, made a remote appearance (he was unable to attend due to his wife receiving foot surgery) and made a few revelations on how Google is attempting to deal with the SEO industry. Matt made mention on how Google are trying to make the web a worthy place for the “average Joe” who doesn’t have the resources to build and fund a massive SEO drive. Google want to “level the playing field” for people who just have good content, and don’t focus too much on SEO.
The official description of the session was as follows:
If you build it, they might not come, if you haven’t thought about how search engines view your web site. Forget testing for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Search engines are the common browser that everyone uses. The good news is that search engine optimisation (SEO) doesn’t mean terrible design or some type of black-magic trickery. Rather, there are good, sensible things that everyone should do that pleases both search engines and human visitors. In this session, representatives from Google and Bing provide this type of advice.
The official SXSW page has the audio for the entire session.
So what does the session and announcements from Google potentially mean for SEO? Google algorithm changes have the ability to make or break a business as was experienced by many in the famous Google Panda update. Well Google have always wanted to weed out obvious SEO tactics, things that webmasters and SEO specialists do to try to influence search engine results and they are undoubtedly still sinking lots of money into this, so will the career of the SEO specialist become a thing of the past? Probably not, it’s always going to be a case of man vs machine and man usually wins.
Google are trying to highlight the plight of the average man who doesn’t do or can’t afford SEO, to quote Matt: “The idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit, so all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, ‘over-optimisation’ or overly doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little more level. So that’s the sort of thing where we try to make the website… the Googlebot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive, so the people who don’t do SEO, we handle that, and then we also start to look at the people who sort of abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on the page or whether they exchange way too many links, or whatever they’re doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area. So that is something where we continue to pay attention, and continue to work on it… we have several engineers on my team working on that right now.”
So where does this all leave you? Well the same place it always has; don’t go to the ‘specialists’ who claim to be able to offer you number 1 in Google but stick to creating an online resource that is useful, that’s what searchers and therefore search engines want. We can help submit your website to search engines and also offer consultancy on making your website desirable to searchers and search engines alike. Get in touch.