Google’s Matt Cutts addressed this question on the Google Webmaster Help YouTube channel in early August, to clarify that SEO is not spam. Cutts states that optimizing a webpage through white-hat, ethical tactics, is a strategic tactic to enhance the visibility of a website on search engines. The search engine optimization industry has unfortunately been under some scrutiny as black-hat SEO firms have emerged and lead to question of the integrity of the industry.
Cutts further explains that there is an enormous amount of benefits with optimizing a website. Keywords, Meta Tags, H1 Title Tags, Back linking, and page load speed are just some of the ways that sites can be optimized to create a unique user experience.
WebiMax, the well-regarded leader in SEO services, practices white-hat SEO tactics that are highly ethical and endorsed by major search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo! and others.
The WebiMax SEO Code of Ethics:
- Our business operations adheres to all laws and regulations set forth by the agency(ies) of the United States and International Governments for business, cyber and internet regulation.
- We treat each and every client as if we are consulting our own brand and the brands of our own team members.
- We never put the clients business or brand reputation at risk when working to improve the clients rating by finding disreputable or “black hat” methods.
- We adhere to the conventions as specified by the various search engines and directories we use.
- We act in good faith when consulting and giving direction to our clients, first and foremost committed to the well-being of their firm, and in line with their organizational objectives.
- We maintain complete confidentially about our clients and their information as it relates to their business operations and their SEO results.
- We adhere to a “non-competition” clause in that we will not contract with competing firms within the same geographic industry.
- We never practice dishonorable means of achieving a higher search engine rating including using linkfarms, hidden links and text, copied content, unauthorized software, doorway pages, or plagiarism.
When Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke that the United States Senate hearings back in September, he was asked if the company’s methods could be a bit more transparent. The CEO of the search engine titan replied “There is a limit to the amount of transparency – it is proprietary and if it was more open it would be heavily gamed”. He did however then state that “we can do a better job describing our changes”. Perhaps the most recent evidence of the “better job” came last week as Matt Cutts stated “Weather report: expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates”. This statement is of course referring to the Panda update that was first launched in early spring of 2011.
The Panda update is on every search marketer’s mind and for good reason. The Panda (which is updated on an almost monthly basis) is an algorithm change that acts to weed out poor sites that lack sufficient (and valuable) information. It strikes websites that are considered “spammy” including linkfarms, content farms, and the like.
The enhanced transparency has its advantages and disadvantages with the Panda update. First of all, search marketers know exactly what they’re doing when optimizing a site using “black-hat” SEO tactics. Black-hat SEO includes using unethical and unscrupulous tactics to improve a website’s visibility. Ever heard of steroids in baseball? As Cutt’s recent tweet stated, “expect some panda-related flux in the next few weeks”, the black-hat SEO firms know they better change their methods so they don’t get affected.
The advantages, however, mostly steer to combat the arguments that were presented at the U.S. Senate hearings that suggested Google controls everything on their search engine, and thus prohibits fair competition amongst firms. The Senate feels as though increased transparency and communication may rid the company of any unfair competitive edge they have with what gets published on their search engine and why.
As of now the exact changes have not been released however there is a margin of error that affects reputable websites including Forbes, TheTodayShow.com, and PR Newswire as of recent.
More updates to come as we find out!
Earlier today at the Search Marketing Expo, Google’s Matt Cutts announced that they have developed an update to the Panda algorithm, version 2.2. He further stated that the update has been officially approved, and they are waiting to send it out, which should happen any day now.
Further tweaking and some “clean-up” work will be included with the update, in addition to improving “scraper” detection. This is when a website re-publishes content to trick the algorithm. (Fresh, new content helps with page rank and SEO).
The exact release date has not been revealed, however Cutts did say that the update is imminent and webmasters should expect it any day now.
Cutts also described how the attack of the Panda operates. The algorithm is run against all of the webpages and domains that Google indexes. This is done to pick up which sites should be caught. This occurs on an “infrequent” basis (about once every two weeks).
Websites that get penalized get sent to the very last page of search results, completely damaging their online visibility. Once this happens, it’s tough to recover. JC Penney’s was penalized for about 3 months when they were hit back in February.
Of course, much like anything else, practicing ethical standards and not cheating the system are the best ways to ensure you’re not affected by the vicious bite of the Panda.
Amid all of the recent news that has been hitting newspapers, online blogs and forums, Google continues their campaign on useless websites. Announced yesterday (Thursday, February 24, 2011), Content Farms are the most recent casualties, affecting 12% of websites. Content farms are websites (and companies) that have a lot of textual content, aimed at pleasing search algorithms, so their website appears high in search engine results. They typically lack useful data however.
So here we have it, another crackdown in the movement toward eliminating websites that don’t contain good, original content, worthy of sufficient page rank.
Google’s Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts discussed yesterday in their blog “In the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking – a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries – and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality websites which are low-value for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.”
WebiMax Founder and CEO Kenneth C. Wisnefski discussed in yesterday’s blog that he “envisions another large scale update via Google in the near future, aimed on eliminating ‘search spam’ (aka useless results)”.
As search engine guidelines change (what seems to be daily), it is becoming ever more important to make sure your SEO Company adheres to the changing policies and follows the SEO Code of Ethics. Many SEO firms aren’t paying attention to recent news on crackdown and changing policies. There is 1 out there however that has proven to always stay 1 step ahead of the curve. That’s what separates #1 from the rest.