Google reveals 2013 plans
Matt Cutts, the head of webspam at Google, has spoken out on a Google's plans for the coming months, including details of a significant change to the Google Penguin algorithm update.
From the comments made by Cutts, it certainly appears as if the latest Penguin update will have a significant impact. Speaking on the changes, Cutts said: "This one is more comprehensive, we expect it to go a little bit deeper and have more of an impact than the original Penguin." He also revealed that the update was being referred to as 'Penguin 2.0' internally, suggesting that the changes are certainly seen as revolutionary by Google. Cutts previously spoke of significant Google updates earlier this year, foreshadowing this announcement.
Also included in the blog post from Matt Cutts were details on how high quality content will become even more important in the coming months, as well as a crack down on paid advertorials. He said that the company would be "looking to be a little stronger on advertorials", adding that "if somebody pays for an advertorial, it should not float page rank."
A further point briefly addressed by Cutts was the introduction of tougher penalties for link spammers, individuals who find low quality ways to place a significant number of links to their website in various locations. He stated that Google was in the early days of producing a "completely different system that performs sophisticated link analysis". This is likely to be a major change to how Google works in the future, but it appears as if this new system is in the very early stages.
Help on the way for webmasters
In addition to the plans to crack down on black hat SEO and link spammers, Cutts also spoke on a number of ways that Google would be looking to help webmasters in the coming months. One of the main points of focus looks to be increased levels of communication with webmasters, including simplifying the process of reporting and recovering a site which may have been hacked.
Continuing from this, Matt Cutts spoke to reassure those users who have not been practicing spammy SEO tactics. He commented: "If you're already producing high quality content when you do SEO, you won't have to worry. If you've been hanging out at black hat SEO forums, you may have a more eventful summer in store".
Content is king
High quality content certainly appears to be at the top of the list for Google's priorities, with Cutts stating that users should be working on producing a site which users loved, told their friends about and wanted to visit over and over again. "If that is your goal, we are aligned with that goal and working hard to show your high quality content", he remarked. Cutts indicated that author authority would become a more significant impact on rank in coming months, as Google would look to assist websites which provided expert information on a range of topics.
Finally, Cutts spoke of how Google had responded to user feedback by becoming increasingly tough on adult material and traditionally spammy terms such as 'payday loans'. He concluded by saying he was "really excited" by many of the changes lined up, outlining his hope that they would help small or medium businesses, as well as regular webmasters.
Rachel Hand, head of content at theEword, commented : "While webmasters may be apprehensive at the prospect of such significant Google changes, it certainly appears as if these updates to Penguin are designed to ensure that high quality SEO content is rewarded, while black hat tactics are punished. We have already seen content become an increasingly important factor in how Google determines page rank, and this focus on quality content looks set to play a key part in the changes that Google is rolling out in 2013."