Barring an act of God, or at least the United States Congress, Google is never going to reveal how they decide what matters to them. Of course, for those of us selling Search Engine Optimization services, that’s a good thing; you need us if you want your business to rank in Google.
But SEO is a funny thing. We get results; we always get results; but we can’t guarantee SEO results because search engine optimization is ultimately art as much as it’s science.
Yesterday, an article was posted at the SEO Roundtable, suggesting that Google had started telling people when they were doing things on their web sites that run afoul of Panda. Panda is a set of Search Rules that Google started using about a year ago that at the time was described as being a way to combat Content Farms posting thousands or millions of poorly-written articles designed to trick Google into believing the sites where they were posted were important.
What’s funny about Google punishing content farms—and they should, by the way—is that soon after Panda started rolling out, Google bought a piece of Hubspot, which for all its facility is really just a big content farm.
I’m very much on the record, by the way, as saying that businesses should stay away from Hubspot. But I digress.
If you follow my link to the piece at SEO Roundtable, you’ll see the comment I added to the article. My point, addressing both the article and subsequent discussion and the fact that Matt Cutts, Google’s king of anti-Search Engine Optimization SPAM efforts has joined in is that trying to figure out precisely what Google’s doing at any given moment relative to Search Engine Optimization isn’t meaningful, because absent a complete revelation of Google’s Secret Sauce, trying to categorize Google’s search-crafting actions is speculative and imprecise.
I applaud the fact that Google is now communicating with you when you run afoul of their rules; they used to punish web sites without communicating at all and this new approach makes things a lot more fair. But calling a communication “specific to the rules behind Panda” just doesn’t mean anything.
And that’s a big reason why you need to hire someone who understands Search Engine Optimization to do your Search Engine Optimization; there’s enough grey in SEO that following a formula doesn’t work. And keeping up on techniques that align the science part of SEO with the art part of SEO is a lot of work.
Yes, you can do SEO yourself. Yes, you’ll get some results if you write well and work hard, and keep at your Search Engine Optimization tasks. And as long as you don’t do anything dirty, you’re unlikely to suffer Google’s Invisibility Penalty. But as soon as you butt your head up against realities like PageRank Being Finite and don’t know how to adjust, you’ll understand your reality:
It’s time to Contact The Answer Guy About Search Engine Optimization.