During the recent SMX Advanced (Search Marketing Expo) in Seattle (WA), on Jun 11th & 12th, Matt Cutts has revealed few important things for webmasters.
Matt has addressed few existing issues as well as some future developments of Google for better search results, and gave some SEO tips to webmasters to rank higher in Google search.
1. Example URLs for Penalty: Google performs algorithm updates almost 500 times a year with more than 200 ranking signals. But every time it doesn’t announce it for webmasters.
You will only receive a message in your Google Webmaster Tools if they take manual action against your site. Google is also planning to include “example URLs” in the notification message. The two or three URLs may not be the exact pages on your site which violate the Google’s Quality Guidelines, but will provide sufficient hints to detect the root cause of penalty.
2. Maximum Penalty Period: Every penalty levied by Google has a self expiry date.
But sometimes, if the website is completely spammy and doesn’t provide any value to web-surfers, then they penalize the domain till its expiry. The penalty automatically expires when the domain expires. If the new owner breaks the rule, then it again gets a penalty.
3. Page Speed On Mobile Devices: Just like the desktop version of your website, page loading speed will be a ranking factor for the mobile version.
Better page speed may not rank your site higher in mobile devices, but slower speed will definitely lower your ranks in search results. This ranking factor will be rolling out very soon.
He also pointed about faulty redirect – In mobile search, when every page of your mobile site redirects users to a single mobile page, instead of mobile optimized versions of each pages.
4. Most Affiliates Are Spammers: In terms of volume, there are very few affiliates who add value to web-users. So most of the affiliate sites are low in quality.
5. Facebook Likes Don’t Boost Ranking: Google doesn’t have a special feed for Facebook Likes. And they are not capable of crawling all the pages on Facebook.
Matt completely disagreed that Facebook data affects ranking. He also pointed out, higher ranking pages tend to get more number of Facebook likes.
What he didn’t tell was – Social media signal as a whole (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.) helps web-pages to rank higher. Although not individual social data, but a combined social media data is definitely a search engine ranking signal.
6. Category Based Ranking: Google is working on – Ranking websites based on different categories in different industries. Authority sites in a given category will rank higher in future.
7. Bounce Rate: It’s not a ranking signal. It’s more of a user behavior.
8. Google Panda: Google rolls out Panda data about 10 days in every month.
9. Google Penguin: Penguin 1 was affecting the entire site. Where as the Next Gen Penguin or Penguin 2 is capable of affecting individual pages of a website.
So Penguin 2 can affect the entire site, and if, only few pages of a site are spammy; then it can hit at individual page level also.
10. Social Media Hype: At present, the most overrated thing in SEO is “Short-term social data.” In long-term it may be different.
11. Design and UI: The most underrated is – site design and user experience.