When Google’s leading spam man Matt Cutts announced at SXSW that Google would be cracking down on overly optimised sites, my initial reaction was “can they really do that?”
On the surface this seems like an unfair move which favours laziness or a total lack of SEO effort over hard work. As with all big changes, people will either adapt and learn to work around them, or bolt and never look back. The thought of your SEO efforts leading to your site being penalised might make you want to not bother; it’s like being told eating too healthily is bad for you. However, there is still a strong case for optimising your site to the best of your ability.
The changes are not meant to punish those who optimise their site because they want to rank higher and provide relevant information to users – these changes simply want to weed out the spam sites. You know the sites I’m talking about; all keywords and no real content. Google wants to “level the playing field”, and this can only be a good thing.
On a panel at SXSW Cutts said:
“All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimisation or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect.”
If we look at these changes in relation to the Semantic Search plans, then you’ll have a new approach to SEO. Don’t think about the search bots crawling your site, these are simply a means to an ends. Think about the user searching for your site and their behaviour, as this is exactly what Google focusses on.
SXSW just wrapped up, and as we speak, MozCon is well underway; for those not in the know, MozCon is the place to be right now if you want to be rubbing elbows with the best talent in internet marketing.
We all know how great conferences can be for mixing things up and refreshing your ideas, they’re also great for networking and meeting with industry leaders. If you’re not lucky enough to be in Seattle this week, fear not, there are still many conferences lined up for the rest of the year, and they’re all around the world. So here are some top tips for making the most of conferences… Or any networking opportunity for that matter.
- Harness the power of social media and make plans to meet people before you get there; but don’t limit yourself to this group of people only. It’s nice to have a bit of background knowledge about the people you’re going to be bumping into, but be sure to use the opportunity to meet as many people as possible without being rude.
- Don’t be the guy (or gal) who walks in, litters the place with business cards, and leaves. No one looks at these business cards again; we use them to scrape chewing gum off shoes and fix wobbly tables. Don’t hand over a business card until you’ve had a real conversation and there is a mutually beneficial reason for handing one over.
- If you’re terrible with names, scribble a little reminder on the back of business cards you receive (when they’re not looking, of course). This will help jog your memory when you get back to the office and you’re looking at stack of identical business cards and trying to remember who ‘Jake’ is.
- If you want to talk to one of the speakers, play it by ear. I’ve read advice which says you should march over to them before their slot; as this way, you’ll be more memorable; this could hideously backfire if you’re marching over to a nervous or highly focussed speaker who will forever remember you as the great pre-speech distraction. Play it by ear, ask if it’s a good time, and pick up on social cues. They’re not going to flat out tell you to go away, so just be perceptive.
- If there’s a drinks mixer involved, do not, and I repeat, do not! Be that person. Have one too many drinks and that is all you’ll be remembered for. Also, remember that there are probably a lot of cameras around, people like to record these events, so just be sensible and grab an OJ.
While you eagerly await the arrival of your brand new iPad-it’s-pretty-much-the-same-thing-3-S, here are some news stories and articles from the past week to help the time fly by that much quicker.
Breaking News: Google has begun encrypting natural searches in the UK, meaning advertisers will no longer receive referral data. More on this next week.
In an open letter to new SEOs, Dr Pete from SEOMoz dishes out some top tips for all those new to the SEO field.
If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Texas for SXSW this year, Mashable have compiled a list of must see panels, check it out here.
SEO.com shared the secrets to marketing your company using less that $5 per month. Although this cost depends entirely on how much you value your time, as it’s a very time consuming method.
A quirky take on social media marketing, Coca-Cola have launched a series of URL riddles to keep users entertained.
Zynga is working to build its offline presence away from Facebook. Frito-Lays has partnered up with the gaming company and Walmart to offer players virtual world prizes for buying real world snacks.
Zynga is also quietly testing in-game advertising; players are offered freebies for participating in surveys or watching short ads from external advertisers including Coca-Cola and Mastercard.
Stop Kony 2012 has gone viral, but it has brought more than just awareness to the child soldiers in Uganada. The charity organising the campaign has come under fire for their expenses reports, prompting many to ask if they are suitable to run the campaign.
Cartier have stunned US audiences with a 3:30 epic story-telling ad. Is this the start of longer, movie-style ads?