Updates and Confirmations from the SEO Top – SMX West Updates

SMX West didn’t bring many new things to the table, but it did explain a few things better for everyone to understand, especially regarding the Farmer/Panda update. We have Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan and other SEO experts to thank for that. You can read the detailed post on Search Engine Land if you want, honestly, I recommend that you do. If you don’t have enough time you can read the brief summary with my personal notes here.


Google Farmer Update


Google farmer updateThe Farmer update placed emphasis on low quality content and weeding that content from the SERP, at least from the top pages. Matt Cutts suggests something he said countless times already, and that is to either modify the content that is considered low quality or to remove it; even placing no follow to those pages is a good place to start. Although this isn’t anything new, it is very important that we do so now, as Famer update will be merciless with low quality content, so if you prolonged this part up until now this is the time to look back on your pages and make them better.

Matt also noted the use of too many ads on the site in regards to the content, or content to ad ratio and the fact that we should provide more content, and quality content in order to avoid being devalued because of too many ads. Next on the line, I found this to be of great importance, is the crawl rate. This is a great way of anyone to see how important and relevant Google sees your website. If the crawl rate is fast, in other words if your pages get crawled once a week then you are on a good track, if you get indexed once a month then you have to change a few things and provide more useful content for your users. This will affect your SERP rankings as well, at least the speed at which you improve your rankings.


Quality Content Rules After All – White Hat Cloaking? WTF!


White Hat vs Black Hat SEOMore updates are on the way, like always, and this year they will be focused on quality content and removing low quality content and duplicate content from the SERP. So start creating unique and useful content for your users, on your website and for the websites you get links from, don’t play around with this or you might wake up to see your website in the SERP gutter.

The rest discussed at SMX was about the usability of the website and the currently popular topic of white hat cloaking. If you ask me there is nothing white hat about cloaking, and I agree with what Matt has to say on this one. There is no need to use CSS tricks and text indent to get the best results, there are far better legit ways to go about it. After all, this is a clear violation of Google webmaster guidelines.

Getting your website to show one page to the users and another to Google bots is a waste of time in my personal opinion. Creating a site that is pleasing to both is not that hard. In fact, sometimes it is harder to sit on two chairs, one for users and one for Google, than it is to display everything under one single curtain. Webmasters should think twice about this.

Article Marketing Takes a Direct Hit

Article Marketing Takes a Direct HitOne thing that got me confused is a strong argument against any form of article marketing using article directories. Yes, guest posts are welcomed, but I don’t see why we should refrain from posting quality articles to article directories. I’m all against submitting one article to 100 of directories, but submitting 10 articles to 10 directories should be perfectly fine. This just goes to show that Google and other search engines are up to destroy article directories and other lair types of mass low quality content, well, good luck with that one.

Another WTF? Do Follow Links That Don’t Count!

One thing that got me a bit by surprise, have to admit this even though it’s a bit painful, is that links from Press releases don’t count towards page rank value. So you should think about this long and hard, Matt clearly stated that a do follow link of this type is not counted towards Page Rank value, so are there other do follow links like that? My guess is that sites that have high PR that came from thousands of links from article directories will suddenly start losing that PR. Think carefully about the update and what it may have in store for you. On that note, go for both do follow and no follow links if you think they are of value.

Regarding social media and link building, in my previous post I said that social media links will help you get your website indexed faster, and they will, but I was also of the opinion that they influence your ranking directly. According to Matt and Amit this is not the case, I was wrong. In fact they claim that aside from Realtime search which is intended for Twitter and social media feeds there is no direct influence on the rankings. They will sometimes use the Realtime rankings as a part of the global rankings, but it is mostly due to the reactions of social media mentions that others took liking to your content and linked to it or talked about it, which is what caused the increase in rankings.

Like I said in the beginning, most of this is well known, there is not much new, a few updates here and there and one surprise for me as well, but the point is that even though this is not something new to most of us, now, it’s really important that we do follow what was said. SEO is a large and ever changing game, sometimes we have to think out of the box to succeed and sometimes we simply have to follow the rules of the game.


About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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13 Response to Updates and Confirmations from the SEO Top – SMX West Updates

  1. Patel@Diabetes in dogs on March 15, 2011

    Everyone is talking about this new update from Google and most of the people agree with this kind of changes. Personal i like the idea to removing the duplicate content from SERP’s.

  2. DailyAppNews on March 16, 2011

    I think Google makes many mistakes with the new updated. If I look at search result, on the first page and on precedence on top are filled by blogs/sites with farm content. I’m so dissapointed to know that. I think Google need to evaluate the new updated.

  3. Zarko on March 16, 2011

    I agree with Patel, I like the idea of the update, yes it’s not perfect but what do you expect, we don’t live in a perfect world, it takes time to build something that will work the way we want it to and in the end, not everyone can be pleased with every Google update there is…

  4. Maria Pavel on March 16, 2011

    The change about article submission only affects those website to which you submit (i think). They’ll probably drop in rankings, but i believe few people find articles on them by google search, instead they just visit those websites directly.
    I think this was just a side effect of rooting out duplicate content on the web.

  5. Zarko on March 16, 2011

    Well not quite Maria. You know that the links we get are measured by their authority and that influences our rankings, so what happens with our rankings when we have hundreds of links from websites that are now considered as content farms and have low authority in Google’s eyes, we also drop in rankings. that is how this goes.

    the second thing, yes, for most of them you can’t find the post in Google, but Ezine, Article Base and HubPages… well they have a great number of top spots in Google, and you can find tons of articles in Google SERP.

    So whether we want to admit it or not, this update influenced all of us, some of us in a positive manner, some in a negative and other can hardly notice the difference, but this was far from an update that influenced only those content farms, we were all somewhat affected!

    Hope this explains it a bit :)

  6. Kyle @ FinallyFast on March 16, 2011

    Wow. That press release link news is surprising to me as well. That puts the writing on the wall for Do Follow comment links as well. I think the SERPs are going to change in a big way by the end of this year. That said, I’m all for having more relevant and usable search results. It’ll just force Online Marketing folks to be more creative! (not in a sneaky way of course ~_0)

  7. Zarko on March 16, 2011

    yeah, it bugged me as well, I really wasn’t aware that press releases sites were not counted into Page rank, not that I care, I was never the one to go for Page Rank, but most of my clients are…

    And I agree with you about SERP’s changing, I mean they always are, that is what SEO’s and the internet industry has been for the past 10 years, always on the move, always changing, but this year things may change faster then we are used to, but that is fine as well, there will always be people who can follow and insure that they get the best ranks. Now, more and more Google’s words are coming to life, Content is king, so people, go for quality and unique content and the links may come on their own…

  8. lawmacs on March 18, 2011

    Google keep changing and one thing we must not forget Google is the dominent in the Search Engine Market it is just like Firefox and Internet Explorer the good one has less of the market but the dominating one is not what we want what if Google aproach is wrong? Just my thought.

  9. Zarko on March 18, 2011

    Hi Gary, yes, my thoughts exactly, maybe Google’s approach is wrong. I just wrote a post about it on my new personal blog, so check it out http://www.zarkozivkovic.com/a-story-about-seo-two-sides-of-a-coin/

  10. Sunday Post Roundup #12 on March 20, 2011

    [...] (4)Updates and Confirmations from the SEO Top – SMX West Updates – SMX West didn’t bring many new things to the table, but it did explain a few things better for everyone to understand, especially regarding the Farmer/Panda update. We have Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan and other SEO experts to thank for that. You can read the detailed post on Search Engine Land if you want, honestly, I recommend that you do. If you don’t have enough time you can read the brief summary with my personal notes here. [...]

  11. Jesica Wills on March 22, 2011

    All webmasters are talking about this topic and try to find the ways for the websites. This changes are all about content. Better quality content is being the first preference of Google. Thanks for sharing this wonderful informative article.

  12. Mark @ TheBitBot SEM Blog on March 22, 2011


    Interesting point about PR and press releases. I know a lot of webmasters who rely on press release backlinks.

    In the end, I think that optimizers will be relying on guest posting, link bait and paid links to boost relevancy and PR (if they are pursuing that too).

    Nice breakdown.


  13. Web Development Comapny on May 21, 2011

    @Patel is right and recently it has been resolved

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