At SXSW, Matt Cutts discussed many topics in his panel with Danny Sullivan. The most interesting portion was the answer to a question about how large companies were able to muscle out “ma and pa websites” with aggressive optimization techniques. Cutts replied by saying this:
“What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.“
It would appear that “a few weeks” is already here as some of the larger SEO networks are reporting having their networks completely de-indexed by Google. One of them, Build My Rank, lost over 5000 domains and is shutting down operations. Other networks are reporting similar penalties and are also in the process of ceasing operations.
What does this mean for SEO? Google and Bing have held the same mantra for a couple of years now that high-quality, relevant content and organic inbound links were the key to success. Until now, they have not been able to make this a reality as they have still rewarded those who use aggressive, “blackhat” techniques. Those days seem to be coming to an end.
“This is a great thing for quality SEO companies,” said Richard Valenta at KPA SEO. “Those of us who focus on quality and work hard rather than employ automated systems and link farms will be able to help our clients more easily.”
While Cutts has said on numerous occasions that SEO is a good thing when done right, they have never fully explained what “done right” really means.