Matt Cutts, head of the Webspam team at Google, recently delivered a keynote at Pubcon that touched on a variety of important issues for any business that has a Web presence. Matt hinted at the future of Google search – which contains some good news for people who have been struggling after some of Google’s updates, but also points to a new direction that businesses need to embrace in order to succeed on the Web.
Google is Looking at Softening Panda
One of the most newsworthy items from Matt’s keynote is the fact that Google is looking at softening Panda. Google Panda was a change to Google’s search algorithm that was released in February 2011. The aim of Panda was to lower the rank of “low-quality sites” – but a lot of legitimate sites were caught in the crosshairs.
Businesses have been scrambling to recover from Panda for nearly three years now, and it’s good news that Google is looking at revisiting this release. Matt indicated that businesses that maintain quality sites, but are caught in the grey areas of Panda, could see their sites climbing in rank if Google soften’s Panda’s rules.
Authorship is Becoming More Important
Google has been heavily pushing establishing authority through authorship. Authorship promotes higher visibility and better search results, and Matt confirmed that Google is going to continue to promote authorship as a way to establish authority and rank better.
Mobile is Key
Smartphones have become ubiquitous in today’s society, and it’s more important than ever for sites to be mobile-friendly in order to continue to rank with Google. Matt explained that smartphone ranking takes several mobile-specific considerations in mind, including:
- Google won’t show Flash sites in phones that don’t display Flash (i.e. iPhones)
- Sites that are slow on mobile phones will get lower ranks
- Sites that push mobile traffic to the homepage instead of the page link the user was attempting to visit will be ranked lower
Matt made it clear that mobile is more critical than ever to getting a good Google rank, so businesses should begin prioritizing mobile strategy immediately.