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Speaking at SXSW event in March this year, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s WebSpam team, spoke of further major changes to the Google Algorithm – and we want to look at how this may require further SEO training for those who carry out their own SEO.

Google Panda changes

Last year, the “Panda” changes to the Google algorithm had an impact on the ranking of many websites, but more importantly it had an impact on how SEO was perceived – and carried out. The next set of changes look to be a continuation of Google’s attempt to make search results reflect more closely web user’s actual needs. The search results will show quality websites with content that matches the requirement of the person doing the searching. Its emphasis on quality of content means that pages that have just been created for SEO purposes or spammed with keywords will be penalised. And this may mean more SEO training for everyone, even people involved in social media marketing, copywriting, content creation, blogging and even video production. For those interested in the finer details of the Google Panda changes, the SEOmoz team have listed all of the changes on their Google Algorithm Change History page.

Need to update your SEO training?

As Matt says himself: “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 optimization’ 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 bit more level” “We’re always trying to best approximate if a user lands on a page, are they going to be really, really happy instead of really, really annoyed? And if it’s the sort of thing where they land on a page and they are going to be annoyed, then that is the sort of thing that we’ll take action.” Its still early days in the proposed changes, and the USA is usually the testing ground for changes that are then rolled out globally. But in advance, web managers could be looking at the following three areas:

  • The quality of their content and whether there are signs of over-optimisation – this could include factors such as keyword stuffing and duplicate content.
  • Closer and more regular analysis of Google Analytics to see in greater detail the keywords that bring different customers to their website and how these customers behave while engaged with the website.
  • Use of social media marketing to engage fully about what customers want from the website, so any future content makes them ‘really, really happy’ as Matt would say. It’s likely that any future changes will value this type of interaction more highly so this really is a win/win activity.

It might be Panda + or it might be the start of an even more radical overhaul of how websites are ranked, but whatever the outcome it looks like the next algorithm change will mean more SEO training for everyone involved in internet marketing. If you found this tutorial helpful then please click the Like or Tweet button below or leave a comment. Remember to watch this space as we will be releasing a range of web design, ecommerce video and other Magento video tutorials over the coming months.

Image credit – Kevin Dooley


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