SEO Quotes of the Month - March 2012

Written by Stephen Jones - 25 Apr 2012

It’s almost the end of April and what with a lovely break at Easter, lots of updates from Google, and the organisation of the "Digital Sweet Spots" client day at Fresh Egg Towers, we're a little behind with our SEO quotes! With a strong push into localised search with the Venice update, dissatisfied murmurings from Camp Google and Matt Cutts threatening to sharpen his fangs on the legs of websites with too much SEO, there are interesting times ahead, so without further ado, here are some interesting and notable quotes from the industry in March.

Josh McCoy, Search Engine Watch [source], on search personalisation…

". . . Google and Bing are becoming smarter at corralling SEOs into today’s search model.  The days of building out pages with content just to target a certain term, building some links, and walking away are over."

Ahmed Khalifa, SEO Engineer at Fresh Egg, says, "If you remember the old-fashioned early 90s/post-millennium SEO techniques (or remember reading about it if you were too young back then), you might think, "that was easy."  Fast forward to 2012, and it wouldn't surprise many people if you are thinking somewhere along the lines of, "Oh no, another Panda update . . . I need to update the website . . . are we getting enough traffic . . . why are they ranked above me . . .?” etc.

"It's true that search engines are becoming smarter every day, but then again, so are we.  SEO is a challenge, one that is making us bang our heads against the wall and punch the air as the result of our rankings all in the same day.  It's up to us to use the latest techniques to fine-tune our websites to provide the search engines - and ultimately the user - with what they want.  So let's embrace the changes and challenges that come in the daily routines in the SEO world."

James Whittaker, MSDN blog [source], on why he left Google…

"The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus."

Ahmed Khalifa, SEO Engineer at Fresh Egg, says, "Google is known to be one of the most innovative companies in the world, where they encourage employees to be creative, take risks and use their brains.  The company is even said to allocate 20% of employee working hours to their own projects.  This has helped them to roll out some incredible products such as Google Street View, Google Chrome, Gmail, and dozens of other products which we take for granted.  But judging by the quote from a former Google employee, that innovation has seemingly been overtaken by their advertising business model.

”Google relies on advertising revenue for funding, but this has traditionally been the source of genuinely creative and fun products that anyone could try out in Google labs, you could forgive a few adverts if you got to try out something that could become an entire new application.  Worryingly though, the drive for ad revenue that we see on search seems to be echoed by the comments from within their own development department.  Google used to be “the” search engine, now it’s more prominent as an advertising company.”

Matt Cutts, Head of Google Web Spam team [source], on sites with too much SEO…

"We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO - versus those making great content ...”

Steve Jones, SEO Engineer at Fresh Egg, says, "As the sort of things Matt warns about explicitly are the types of things most SEOs have avoided doing (or insisted are corrected on sites they manage) for some time, the general perception is that this is a ‘tip of the iceberg’ moment and more updates are on the way.  Oddly though, in many sectors I’m seeing the reverse of this, with poorer quality sites that got Pandalised last year popping back into high search positions with apparently the same tactics that got them slammed still in operation.  Teething troubles perhaps?”

Michael Gray “Graywolf” [source], on the failure of Google+…

"Nowadays when Google sets out to build something, they don’t do it to build the best product in its class; they do it to extract more data from/about you, profile you better, and sell you to advertisers as a more targeted and qualified prospect.”

Steve Jones, SEO Engineer at Fresh Egg, says, "It’s not just disillusioned developers at Google, others too are seeing the paint flake off the flagship product and getting tired of the ad banner underneath.  One imagines that the general web public won’t be too far behind.”

Myles Andersen, Search Engine Land [source], on the findings of an online review study…

"Approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.”

Steve Jones, SEO Engineer at Fresh Egg, says, "It’s a principle that Amazon started to champion many years earlier, and their assertion that more positive information about a product influences its sale still rings true in the 2012 study.  Google provides rich snippet display for rating and review results, but with such easy ways to spam and manipulate these it will be interesting to see if these confidence levels are maintained, or if Google takes more postive action against those that are abusing this obvioius method to affect consumer behaviour.”

Some take-away thoughts from the month's quotations raise some questions you may want to ask of your site in today's search environment:

  • Is your site usable and can users find what they are looking for? Once on your site, do they stay there?
  • Do you have a strategy for your onsite content and blog?
  • How is search and social media activity integrated for best effect? Are you engaging with your site audience and do they want to engage with you?
  • Do you understand how your site's back link portfolio is made up? What about your competitors? Do you have a strategy moving forwards?
  • How are you tackling the prospect of local search?