2012 has been a tough year for many search engine optimization specialists and website owners. Google have made several changes to their algorithm that have drastically altered the way SEOs look at data, content and building trust online, causing many of us to be less-than-thankful for this barrage of updates. However, although the dust hasn’t yet settled from these recent updates, there are still beams of light that shine through the dirt and dust of chaos. Not everything in the SEO industry is doom and gloom. In fact, there are several “things” to be thankful for.
So, in honor of Thanksgiving, here are 5 SEO Things I’m Thankful For.
1. Link Disavow Tool
With Google’s release of their Penguin update earlier this year, 2012 has become a year of backlink profile second guessing and evaluation. Just about every webmaster and SEO has spent some amount of time combing through backlinks trying to find those that could possibly get them in trouble with Google’s infamous Penguin. But finding them isn’t necessarily the problem. Getting them removed is the more difficult step. Backlinks (typically) are from third party websites where no direct partnership/connection exists. As a result, getting in touch with these website owners and getting the link removed could be tough…especially if the link is from a questionable website. The introduction of Google’s Link Disavow Tool has made this final step easier. Instead of trying to beg and plead with questionable websites to take down backlinks, website owners and SEOs can now simply disavow these bad links. Although Google definitely caused some serious gripes on the web with Penguin (and only recommends disavowing links for those who received a warning letter), I’m thankful they created and released the Link Disavow Tool.
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Having been in online marketing for some time now, I’ve definitely seen the online landscape change over the years. For example, I’ve witnessed the birth, growth and conquest of crap content on the web. Part of the reason for its success lies in the search algorithm’s inability to truly gauge authenticity of content. With the introduction of the rel=author attribute, authenticity of content can now start to be established and even weighted. It allows true authors to gain credit and build authority online within their industry. So I’m thankful that with the rel=author attribute, crap content’s reign is starting to come to an end.
3. Google’s Responsive Design Endorsement
Mobile is the way of the future. And in many ways it’s already here. But not all web designers are embracing or recognizing the need to consider mobile web design. So many websites are still without a mobile option for their mobile visitors. The pushback is often a lack of understand of what Google actually wants to show mobile browsers. Well this year Google put their flag in the sand and has suggested responsive design for mobile optimization. Their stance gives web designers and optimizers a clear idea of what Google wants for mobile and marching orders on how to create an optimized presence for mobile visitors. Thank you Google for telling it to us straight.
4. More Social Data Tools
Social signals are becoming an ever-increasing component of how search engines perceive online value and authority. But social activity and determining the actual value these activities provide has proven to be difficult. But with every new problem comes new solutions. Today, social signal tools seem to be the hot product to develop, which helps push the envelope for these tools. And collaboration and integration of such tools into existing data sets and providers (like SEOmoz’s recent acquisition of Followerwonk and Google integrating more social data into Google Analytics) is starting to provide more clarity on social signals and their value. So thank you techy social media people for continuing to develop and innovate.
5. Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts is not a new face to the world of SEO; nor is he the announcer of consistently good news out of Google. In fact, there have definitely been times when we have all cursed the name “Matt Cutts.” But the bottom line is webmasters and SEOs would be lost without him. Not all news, updates and guidance Mr. Cutts provides has a detrimental effect on the industry. He mixes discussions of Panda updates and Penguin releases with tips and advance on how to fix your site and be successful in a post Panda/Penguin world. He is truly here to help and inform the webmaster and SEO who may be lost in the ever increasing storm of updates. So to you Mr. Cutts, I say thank you for existing.
So as you can see, it’s safe to say that there are still things to be thankful for in the world of SEO. You could definitely be a lot worse off. Happy Thanksgiving!