Web designers should be aware of information that is flying around the internet that Google is about to move the goalposts as far as web ranking manipulation is concerned. This, according to their head of the search quality web spam team, Matt Cutts, is being rolled out in an effort to create a 'level playing field'.
Speaking on a panel at the SXSW conference in March, Cutts let the cat out of the bag over Google's plans to create equality between webmasters that build quality websites and those that rely on aggressive SEO tactics to gain higher rankings. This, it appears, will give those that do their own SEO and online marketing an even chance to compete with the specialist agencies and web production companies.
This is what he said:
"What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don't normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization 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. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now."
From the comments Cutts contributed it seems that Google will be trying to make it easier for those that don't do SEO to be recognised, while, by making GoogleBot smarter they aim to stop those that abuse it. In simple terms it is likely that designers and webmasters that create first class content that is of genuine value to website visitors will be recognised while those that use every trick in the book to manipulate Google spiders will be penalised. There is also expected to be an emphasis on improving the way websites interact with social networks in a positive way to influence rankings.
Google, it seems, does not agree with the commonly held view that blogs are untouchable marketing tools that can be used to influence rankings. This, according to reports, has resulted in Google de-indexing thousands of blogs controlled by Build My Rank. Read the story here:
For more information including an audio recording of Matt: http://www.seroundtable.com/sxsw-cutts-forrester-sullivan-audio-14885.html