There have been many SEO “experts” claiming and predicting that the mighty Google is preparing to put an end to websites that are over-optimizing to manipulate (or fit perfectly) their sites to Google’s requirements. It is said that more emphasis will be placed on fresh and unique content. But on the WWW, there are so many new and unique content written every minute, how can the rankings be justified then? What will be a good criteria to dish out ranks fairly?
While Google can made their bot smarter, it’s still AI (Artificial Intelligence). While it can get better, it is never perfect. Users bend on breaking or bending the rules will always have a way to overcome the rules created by new Google updates. To draw an analogy, the government can setup laws and regulations for citizens to abide, however there will always be individuals who thread on the line, and profit or abuse the legal system YET still remain not-illegal. There will always be loop-holes to be exploited. So even if you are law-abiding (daily witting unique and excellent content), you still need other factors to shine and tell the world why you are better, and why you deserve to be the cream of the crop (page 1). Otherwise you will be the same as everyone else. That means content is only the prerequisite to rank. You need to hit the right places/factors to go higher than your competitor
For people who wants to take shortcuts, and break the rules, with too many obvious footprints, a ban hammer could be hovering over their heads. Future updates can make the bots smarter and tasked with stricter guidelines on which sites to ban. Google is probably gearing up their bots to hunt down those site owners who stuff too many keywords, had too many links in the bad neighbourhood, exchanging links the wrong way, many backlinks and no/little content and have escaped so far.
Whenever new or stricter Google guidelines kick in, it will succeed it getting rid more spammy and MFA sites, unfortunately there will be innocent casualties for sure since bots are not perfect. Although Matt Cutts hinted more changes could come soon in a few weeks or months, he didn’t reveal exactly what kind of (drastic) changes is coming on our way. It is said that relevant and unique content will be safe. However it’s still making many individuals nervous, especially when their business depended on their search engine rankings. The recent updates claimed a big casualty BuildMyRank.com, where an overwhelming majority of their network has been de-indexed (by Google), as of March 19, 2012.
With so much things happening and more changes coming, is backlinks really going to be worth lesser? I don’t think so.No matter what, Google has to rely on SEO metrics to rank website. There are over 200 ranking factors with varying importance, but backlinks will still be one of the big factors when it comes to ranking a website, assuming the content you put up satisfy Google’s bot unique-content-check. With the introduction of Google+, it indicates the shift in focus and weight that the giant is placing on social media. The amount of +1, the CTRs, the time visitors spend on your sites, the bounce rate, social media interaction, etc may actually give you more power to rank higher. Think of it as 3D, the latest wooo-hah in cinemas – the updates will add a new layer and give depth on how Google crunches data, analyzes websites, understanding, “decrypting” and measuring backlinks relationships in new ways etc
Google is always changing. But as long as you put users first, and give users what they really are searching for, Google will give you what you want. Bad SEO pratices may escape or remain under the radar, but Google will uncover them sooner or later. The cycle will repeat – this cat and mouse chase is going to last forever. Google Panda will come and go, and another will come again.
2012 is going to be a year of changes – likely a roller coaster for some of us. Put on your seat belt, follow and obey the rules, and enjoy the ride ;)
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