We reported last April that Google were set to roll out changes to their algorithm that would reward high-quality websites. Google’s aim last year was to improve the search rankings of websites with quality coding, relevant, well-written content and fast, efficient page-loading – critical in todays mobile-connected world.
In the face of increasing perversion of search results by black-hat SEO ‘experts’, one year on Google is now taking further steps towards rewarding high-quality sites and penalising ‘over optimised’ websites.
We also want the 'good guys' making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded.
The long and short of it is that Google has finally realised the danger to its business model that the explosion of the SEO industry (you know, the ones who spam you constantly and seemingly turn up to every networking breakfast in townâ¦) poses and decided to mitigate this threat by taking websites employing such ‘black-hat’ techniques to task with lower ranking.
Google distinguishes ‘black-hat’ (or ‘webspam’ as they nicely put it) and ‘white-hat’ SEO as follows:
White hat search engine optimizers often improve the usability of a site, help create great content, or make sites faster, which is good for both users and search engines. Good search engine optimization can also mean good marketing: thinking about creative ways to make a site more compelling, which can help with search engines as well as social media. The net result of making a great site is often greater awareness of that site on the web, which can translate into more people linking to or visiting a site.
The opposite of white hat SEO is something called black hat webspam (we say webspam to distinguish it from email spam). In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don't benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings.
All in all these steps can only be seen as a positive by web professionals doing the right thing – building high-quality websites with valuable content. The sooner the SEO ‘industry’ is wiped from the web, the sooner we can all get back to focusing on quality and sensible search results.