Google updates its “secret sauce” hundreds of times per year; the vast majority of these cause no more than a blip on the screen, and in fact, most of us don’t even notice. But then there are the Pandas and the Penguins that shake websites and push forward the evolution of SEO, search marketing, and our concept of content. Earlier this year, Matt Cutts indicated that there would be another major update in 2013. What might this look like for us?
This is entirely speculative, of course, but here are some predictions about the next Google animal.
- It’s rumoured to be a zebra! Cute!
- It is expected to target social media. Schemes involving fake followers, spammy comments, fake profiles, and spam-filled social bookmarking sites.
- Because of Google’s penalisation of Interflora, a popular UK flower vendor, for its use of advertorials, expect that this is going to be a very slippery slope and you might want to abandon these adverts/editorials.
- There will be increased focus on authorship (so set up your tags now!). Google is also likely to start looking really closely at these tags and penalising misuse.
- Some experts believe Google will be targeted slow, poorly coded websites with lousy navigation in an effort to create better user experiences. They may also reward sites with responsive design.
- Will Google continue to target link-building practices? Likely so. It is thought that the search engine will not only look at the links, but how they are built.
- Content, content, content. It’s not anything new, but whatever the update targets, high-quality content will be at the core.
Get a jump on Google Zebra, Skunk, Dalmatian, or whatever it will be called by combing through your site for duplicate content, bad links, and other factors that may cause you some pain when the update rolls out. Keep your focus on high-quality content that is relevant and easy to access to your audience.