On Tuesday, Google’s Matt Cutts announced several major platform updates, including a new version of Penguin, which promises to be smarter and more impactful than the first iteration. The update is aimed at producing less spammy and more diverse search results by cutting several “techniques” webmasters use to artificially boost their rankings.
So what’s the big deal for social media PR agencies, and why might SEO practitioners have to re-focus?
It comes down to the nature of the Penguin algorithm, which is designed to decrease search rankings of sites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines - you know; underhand keyword stuffing, cloaking, link schemes, churnalism et al. I dare any PR who hasn’t seen any of the above to leave a comment below?
The impact of this on social media PR should be very positive, as it lets us play to our strengths. Quality content and the long-tail is where Google’s at, so that means rewards reaped from cool, relevant stuff and a laser focus.
That’s essentially Cutts’s message. And hurrah! There’s nothing quite like SEO keyword stuff to compromise the narrative flow of PR content.
Here’s some of the other specifics on the updates Cutts outlined:
Google will now be chasing down websites using advertorials to artificially inflate their link profile
No more spam- Google will be targeting any queries spammy in nature (think adult rated content and money scams)
Link analysis will become more sophisticated and linking back to sites with more clout will continue to improve search
Helping those hurt by Panda- a lot of sites saw SEO crumble when Panda landed on the scene. Google’s acknowledged this and is looking to “soften” the damage
Sites with specific “authority” (electronics, cooking, auto, etc.) in a particular industry will be given a ranking boost- a good thing for users and those with strong content.
Rightfully so, public relations can lead the rethink on SEO. Simply put – Google is refusing to be gamed and public relations agencies are ideally placed to capitalise on this change.
However, there are lots of SEO agencies with darn good PR and content teams, so the question is, can / will the more traditional SEO agencies adapt?