How they affect publishers and SEOs

There seems to be a pattern in Google’s actions toward publishers and the digital marketing industry that worries me a bit. It seems the company has become less and less transparent with publishers over the past couple of years – and frankly, that makes me a little uneasy. Google Transparency Now, there have always been conflicts between Google and the SEO community; some think Google hates SEOs, while others think Google really needs us. I’ve always been in the camp that thought Google knew they needed the SEO community because they couldn’t control the end product. No matter how good the search results are, the end product is always the website. If the websites returned by Google aren’t very usable or relevant, people won’t use Google to find them.


However, in light of recent actions by Google – such as bypassing standard SEO industry channels to announce major changes and representatives telling us they know five percent or less of algorithms – I think we have to business fax numbers list  consider the possibility that they have started to care a lot less about transparently communicating Google’s website guidelines to SEOs and publishers. Of course, those of us who spend our lives immersed in these algorithms know this is not a successful strategy. No matter how many useful webmaster guidelines you post, the average site owner will still never understand the intricacies of what makes a good site without the help of a knowledgeable SEO specialist. It won’t stop spam either, because spammers represent money, and money can still flow through Google. However, for the rest of us in the industry, SEO is starting to become a painful process.

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The loss of Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts – the former head of web spam at Google who went on indefinite leave in July 2014 – has always been a polarizing figure in search. Some felt he deliberately misdirected the industry, while others felt you just needed to understand ‘Matt Speak’, and you could learn a lot from what he said (or more importantly, what he did not say). I fell into the latter category. Whichever way you slice it, Cutts had a very difficult role. I felt he was doing his best within the parameters of this role to help us understand how research worked and how it didn’t. He had a fine line to draw between the needs of the industry and the company he worked for, but I felt he did it well.

The Cutts transparency effect
Cutts was instrumental in what was communicated to publishers and SEO professionals. There was advance notice of changes, sometimes months or years in advance. Editors were notified of the algorithm update and CG Leads guidelines change, and Cutts made himself available to answer questions via Twitter and YouTube videos and at industry events. Matt Cutts helped create the rules. He understood these rules and communicated them to us as much as he could. For all the controversy surrounding his role, Cutts was the little bit of transparency between Google, its algorithms, SEOs and publishers.

Then things changed. Google released Hummingbird, their entity-driven algorithm. Cutts went on leave soon after. We now have machine learning and RankBrain. Updates to anti-spam algorithms like. Penguin will soon be happening in real time. Google relies more and more on. AI and apparently less and less on humans. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. Personally, I find the quality of research. Outside of “micro-moments” like. Reviews, schedules, and directions. To be sorely lacking these days. More and more, I go to Facebook. To get answers because I can’t find them in Google anymore. Google uses AI to throw a kitchen. Sink at me when I’m not sure, and that. Kitchen sink rarely contains. much useful stuff for me.

However, anecdotal experience proves nothing.

What I do know is that information from. Google about organic search has. Become increasingly convoluted and often inaccurate. So much so that in private spaces. Behind social walls there is a general. Rejection of the fact that. Google has a lot of information to offer. the industry at all.

Google went further in their black box and the little transparency offered by Cutts disappeared. The rest of us are left guessing.

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