Penguin, Panda, Spam Query Changes Coming, says Matt Cutts

What does the future of SEO hold for Webmasters?

Matt Cutts has decided to share some upcoming release details as well as a tentative timeline in his latest webmaster video. We’re excited to see the changes he discusses in the video:

Penguin 2.0 (AKA Penguin 4)

Link spam is like a virus. That virus is rampant in local search queries all over the internet. Business owners, or webmasters wearing multiple hats, learn SEO by imitation. When they find the #1-#5 sites in their target queries have backlink profiles filled with directory and comment spam, they go out and use these same tactics on their sites. This isn’t a new issue, and it used to be that larger and higher competition terms experienced this same issue. Google’s done a increasingly better job over the last few years at targeting spam and eliminating sites that a ranking because of it. The problem has been that low domain authority sites haven’t really be impacted for their abusive link profiles. My hope is, that is all about to change.

Panda Softening

Panda was brutal for large and small businesses alike. If your site was targeted by Panda, your top earning pages all fell at once, with no warning, and no clear indication of what exactly the problem is. I’ve come to have different theories as to what exactly makes one site hit by Panda when another seemingly similar site wasn’t. Obviously, there aren’t many people in the world who can actually tell you, but their names start with Matt and Amit.

Panda needs to be softened. There are good sites, that were hit severely, that have taken significant and meaningful actions to recover but have never been able to. Panda shouldn’t entirely eliminate you from search traffic in middle ground cases. I’m glad to hear Google’s considering this perspective and planning to take action for the ‘grey’ cases.

Spam Query Quality

This is an interesting mention. Obviously, google only has reason to cater to these search queries because there is a significant amount of volume for some spammer searches such as those in the porn industry or medical or gambling for example. With the massive abuse and strangeness these industries experience, I can’t imagine what direction Google is taking to improve these queries but I’m confident it is extremely complicated to clean these up.