In 2012 the most obvious changes as they relate to search engine optimisation was the way in which search engines view content and links. They are all getting much smarter in identifying poor content and cheap links and those that have or continue to use manipulative practices are being hit hard.
For those who are still ranking by spamming sites with automated links it is unlikely that these ranking will last much longer. We have already seen some big networks take a hit and for those that walk on the edge of Google’s webmaster guidelines these penalties are likely to come faster and harder than before.
A lot of the most scalable link strategies were identified and hit by the all-powerful Google last year and Google has made it clear that manipulative techniques that skew the natural search listings will not be tolerated.
The biggest shift was how Google focused on sites that took pushed the edges of what was acceptable or that took advantages of loopholes in the algorithm that invited those with manipulative intent to drive their sites nearer the top of the rankings. Google has clearly understood the issues that were causing most of the problems and allowing these webmaster to rank their sites above more deserving content and the cheap tactics have taken a justifiable slap recently.
With the introduction of verified Google+ place pages Author Rank, Google is finding ways of confirming sites that will be around for the long term and that look to serve their uses with useful technique. These tools allow Google to identify a persona to each site making it far more likely that it is a genuine “real world” business or community. It’s clear that Google refining their crosshairs to penalise sites publishing poor or low quality content.
Google made more sweeping changes that impacted SEO than ever before did last year and has continued that momentum through 2013. The two major update Panda and Penguin attacked thin content sites with exact match domains and also over done anchor text.
The takeaway is that natural link building and the creation of fresh content is what will win the day in the long term. Not just from the perspective of rankings but more importantly the way in which you engage with people that read what you publish online.
Barry Duddy heads Outbox 4 Marketing Which provide Pay on Results Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing.