As someone who works in the Internet marketing industry, and more specifically the search engine optimization or SEO industry, my question is how do we ever know what we are doing is right. With Google making so many changes and making comments about “changes” that are to come without being specific. It’s almost like our job is turning into a guessing game and there’s nothing we can do about it, because Google is practically the only game in town and as an SEO expert we have to do what they tell us to do, the problem is we never know what they are telling us and if we do it’s usually too late.
The reason these thoughts are on my mind is because on Friday Matt Cutts from Google went on his Google+ page in order to address an issue in Google’s search algorithm. Apparently they mistakenly classified some domains as “parked” and guess what they were not parked at all. For those of you who don’t know what a parked domain is; it’s a URL that might have been purchased for future use or to possibly engage in cybersquatting. The point is the site lacks useful information. Cutts went on Google+ to say, “this was caused by an error that has since been resolved”.
My issue isn’t with Google having a policy in which they do not include parked domains in their search rankings, this most certainly makes sense and is fair. However the problem is this most recent “mistake” left many sites misclassified as parked and therefore they were removed from the SERPs. With Google making changes, making mistakes, and doing what it is that Google does, how is someone working in the SEO industry ever supposed to know what’s really going on.
Cutts’ recently made comments at the SXSW festival in Austin regarding a potential algorithm change that is going to focus on punishing sites that give most of their attention to search engine optimization rather than providing quality content to users. So, Internet marketers patiently wait for this update, left not knowing if or when Google plans to make this change. This most recent error that Google made with their algorithm, led some to believe the change had been made, however Cutts insists this was just an oversight. He said, “I apologize for this; it looks like the issue is fixed now.”
Others went on to say that companies need to start looking to adjust their websites to avoid issues related to “over-optimization” penalties and to focus on creation of original content as an organic way to drive search visibility. Isn’t this what we as Internet marketers have been expected to do from the beginning? The question is how can we be punished for doing what Google has been telling us to do for so many years. When 92% of marketers say content creation is effective for SEO, it seems that this is already widely known and practiced. Does this mean that Google is making the change for the 8% of people who don’t believe this, which means all other marketers will be hurt when the change really does come?
I say the takeaway from this is that Google will do whatever it is they want to do and all of us in the SEO world will just have to take a wait and see attitude. In the meantime continue to make unique quality content and hope Google sees your content as quality as you do.