Always in motion, is Google.  And while we prepare seemingly every six months for a new YouTube update, Google also likes to change around their search engine algorithm to better figure out what a site that is providing quality content rather than one that spams links or has misrepresented itself in some way or otherwise uses black hat SEO to rank well in search.  Google has just released a video with Matt Cutts describing the upcoming changes.  Some of them are improvements on the continuing war over black hat, many are additions that make it easier to know what to do when a site is hacked or unleashes malware.

Hat tip, Search Engine Land.

Google’s Penguin “2.0” Update for Summer 2013

Some of this should have some effect on video: for instance, I think the native advertising where videos show up on a website and “fool” people into thinking it’s organic are going to have some hurdles to jump through.  It’s the first thing Cutts mentions:

  • Advertorials.  These would be native ads that violate quality guidelines.  If someone pays for an ad, those ads should not pass the standards of PageRank.  Google has seen websites link to other websites that pass PageRank. Cutts says there’s nothing wrong with the ads themselves, but they should not pass PageRank.  There should be “clear and conspicuous disclosure so that people know that something is not paid, not organic, or editorial.”
  • Queries.  Two changes will be made to curtail queries like “Payday Loans” or pornographic material.
  • Deny Value to Link Spammers.  Touting new data they want to experiment with over the next few months, Google wants to get rid of pages that rank well due to irrelevant links.
  • Hacked sites.  The new update will try to detect them better.  Also, there’s an issue with the difference between hacked sites and those that serve up malware.  Webmasters need a place where they can go to get all the resources they need to fix the problem, which is being addressed with this update.  Also: more details and example URLs webmasters can use.
  • Authorities.  Google wants to do a better job figuring out who the authority is of a specific space, so that those will rank better in search.  The update will rank better if you’re an authority according to the algorithm.

Of all the ones mentioned in this video, this one perhaps bothers me the most.  Mainly because “authorities in a specific space” is widely subjective, and it means the “little guys” will have a harder time ranking in search, even with perhaps better and higher quality information.  Maybe I’m wrong, but something didn’t sit well with me on this one.

  • Gray Areas.  Google is looking at Panda (their algorithm) to find additional signals to refine sites that are “on the border,” or in the “grey zone.”  They want to soften the effect for those sites that have these so-called additional signals.
  • Multiple Redundant Results.  Google wants to avoid giving multiple results for the same site.  The previous update addressed the issue of that happening on the first page, but now people are complaining about it happening as far as the third page.

If you’re putting out a lot of high-quality content, then none of this should matter.  And Cutts threw down the gauntlet for Black Hatters when he implied that people who visit black hat sites and trade information about how to game the system are going to have a rough summer.