The Latest In SEO: What’s New With Google?

by Mark @ ThinkTraffic

What’s your New Year’s resolution? To lose weight? Make more money? Or finally crack the SEO barrier and get your site to page 1 for that awesome key phrase that gets loads of searches? If you said the latter, this post is for you!

As a result of working as a freelance SEO, I get a pretty close look at what is really going on in the SEO world, and right now I can tell you that it is slowly but steadily changing. Here are some tips on how you should proceed with the SEO on your site in 2012. Enjoy!

User Behaviour Matters

It has been talked about for a while, and often speculated on, but since Matt Cutts actually acknowledged it we can now be sure: Google is no longer just looking at what’s on your site and who’s linked to it. Any time they send you any traffic they are also going to be watching what that traffic does and how successful your page is at satisfying it.

What That Means For You
If your page appears in a search result and doesn’t get clicked on as often as it should, then your rankings are going to slip. In short, your page title and description matter more than ever, because these are the bits that display in the SERP’s. Get the meta data right by writing titles and descriptions that get users to actually click on your page and not the result above you. Click-through rate is THAT important.

Additionally, what if a user clicks on your result, but then returns to the search engine and clicks on a different result for the same query? To me that screams to Google that your site didn’t solve the user’s problem, so they tried again. Action plan? Check your bounce rates and navigation paths — there is no good or bad, it all depends on your niche, but one thing is for sure: actively trying to improve usability and bounce rates will help your site and your SEO.

Google Bot Chrome

This has been speculated upon but not proven, though the evidence is compelling (Google it). You know those previews that appear at the side of search results when you hover over them? They show you what a website looks like, and they even show you where the ‘fold’ is on the page.

The scary but amazing conclusion from this and some other evidence and anecdotal study is that Googlebot can actually render a page and ‘appreciate’ how a page actually looks, where content is and which bits have most precedence on the page.

What That Means For You
If your site looks spammy or just poor it might actually hurt you in SEO terms. So if the first thing in your content is a big ad, then Google ‘knows’ that you are prioritizing monetization over user satisfaction. Also, if your navigation looks messy or if your code has errors that make your images overlap your text Google will probably figure that out.

Remember that Google is constantly monitoring user behavior and finding patterns that might indicate good sites or bad sites. So if your site happens to have similar indicators as those found in ‘bad’ sites, you might get pegged as a baddy yourself. Maybe it’s time to review template through fresh eyes and make the necessary improvements.

Anchor Text Engineering Is A Risky Game

More and more Google is cracking down on link building that games the system. Think about it: if 100 sites linked to yours out of the goodness of their own hearts, without you asking them to, what are the chances of having more than a handful of them using exactly the right anchor text?

It’s likely that you might get 10 or 20 links using close keywords, maybe another 20 using vaguely related terms, and the other 60-70 might use ‘click here’, ‘more info’ or just your URL.

What That Means For You
So in reality those numbers will vary wildly depending on the context and maybe for certain pages your hit rate of anchor texts would be much better, but the point is, you are never going to naturally get a ‘perfect’ link profile. So when you try to build a perfect link profile you actually might be hurting yourself more.

The key takeaway here is that you need to vary it naturally, and sometimes that might even mean the occasional non-SEO’d link. There are of course many more intricacies to this which vary from niche to niche, but the focus is on making it natural and ethical; don’t try to game the system because you will lose.

In Summary

What I have discussed here is based on research, logic, SEO biz scuttlebutt, and mostly personal experience. That said, these ideas make sense to me. We can all see the direction Google is heading in, and it is clear that they have the technology available to work this way.

I hope that the ideas above will help you start thinking in a different way about how your site looks, reads, works, etc. Improving your site has always been a good goal to have, but now you have an extra incentive to do so.

And finally, link building is certainly not going anywhere. Quality link building is just as important as ever, it’s just that there are now a few newer and more important concerns to deal with as well.

Thanks for reading! Please use the comments box below to thank me for imparting my wisdom or to hurl abuse at me.

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Sanjay Nair February 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Nice post once again! I just read the Blogger Blues one prior to this. The anchor text engineering part was very useful. Yes, that always is an issue with link building especially when you outsource it to inexperienced people or teams.

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Elizabeth | Rotorua accommodation February 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Apparently I am follow Sanjay around today! Excellent point out having too perfect anchor text. I will have to pay that point closer attention next time.

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tom February 17, 2012 at 1:09 am

Thinking The article was very good.

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KennethThomas February 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm

thanks for the post and share a wonderful information about google…

I have learnt a lot about Google Bot Chrome…

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Sudhir February 20, 2012 at 5:18 am

wow very informative and nice blog :)

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kemon baca February 22, 2012 at 8:05 am

Nice information for new blogger like me.
I have biggest think here.
But, your reference link to optimize blog help me.

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sam@linkboostup February 23, 2012 at 7:18 am

Great article… No doubt. here I can share one thing from my experience that Google chrome is a great browser for website seo. It protects your website to link with bad neighbors, because it shows warning if the website you are trying to link with is not in a good shape. The chrome browser certainly reduce the risk of bad linking from seo prospect.

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Nfs carbon February 26, 2012 at 2:12 am

Really nice style and design and excellent subject matter, practically nothing else we need .

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insanely cheap flights February 27, 2012 at 12:19 am

Quality plus quantity is the best way to do in SEO. Nowadays, When the last google panda update I think we should do that criteria, not just putting links anywhere.

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Ankan February 27, 2012 at 6:04 am

Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before.Thanks for making such a cool post which is really very well written.

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Koyoworld February 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

Nice share for newbie like me.. i’m still learning about this… This article very good for me. TQ

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magento ecommerce development February 28, 2012 at 1:53 am

This post is nice. Thank You

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gary m February 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Thanks for the great update I will certainly bear this in mind when looking at my Site in the future

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Discover Walking February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

I find that Google is factoring social engagement more so what is on your page is combined with the buzz on the internet about your article.

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Jack Coxill March 1, 2012 at 6:46 am

Awesome post.

I totally agree with you about the Anchor text being a ‘risky’ game. It’s so important to show Google that you aren’t out to optimize everything in an instant, to do things naturally over time. I think that’s one of the most common issues with new marketers, they pump out hundreds of these anchor links and texts right off the bat, and wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere.. Just leaving a normal link sometimes is better, as it shows you aren’t as fussed about telling people to GO HERE NOW sort of thing…

Great stuff,


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mistermind - Business schedule March 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

Thanks for this very informative post :) .

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China Smart Phone March 2, 2012 at 1:39 am

what’s a great post, we have been watching seo latest news now,the most useful blog i found!

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Travel Guide Information March 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

looks great. thanks for useful information mate. keep posting. i always wait for your latest article. :)

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Fraser March 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

The bit on google previews is pretty interesting. I checked mine and I think I may make some changes based on what it looks like. I heard elsewhere that if the searched content doesn’t appear above the fold then google will penalise.

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chinho80 March 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm

great post. keep it up. thanks for the sharing.

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Ajnabii March 6, 2012 at 12:25 am

Great post about SEO! i have learned many new things after reading this post. You are rock in blogging please keep writing more usefull posts to improve more our blogging brain :)


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uitun March 6, 2012 at 10:11 am

This Blog is very Informative …..

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Al Qasr March 8, 2012 at 5:15 am

This article reduced my headache I was so much worried about latest in SEO and I got there solution here!!

Thanks For Sharing It :)

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Deforestation March 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

I tend to disagree with several aspects of what you posted, especially those about ‘anchor text engineering’. First of all, if I have an EMD, it’s impossible to use a different anchor, and don’t see all the viral campaigns/widgets and more being penalized for this, do you?

Mircea (btw, hope you didn’t mind I used a KW as my Name. I couldn’t find any comment guidelines, but if I did this wrong, please replace it with my name; this is a genuine comment)

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Richard kitchenaid stand mixer March 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

excellent seo info i’ve learned a few new things after reading this. Thanks for sharing :)

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Chris Vendilli March 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I really like the tips about taking caution and being careful when considering the type of anchor text you’re attempting to persuade others to utilize when linking to you…

Google knows something is up when all of your backlinks have the same anchor text.. I think eventually Google won’t consider the anchor text very high if even at all…

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Rare.My March 11, 2012 at 4:41 am

Thanks for this great post!Nice information!

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silk bridal bouquets March 11, 2012 at 10:13 am

I love the content on the site keep up dude ;-)

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R Karmakar March 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I have found your writing so late. It will really help me.

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Alyssa R March 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Great article… No doubt. here I can share one thing from my experience that Google chrome is a great browser for website seo. It protects your website to link with bad neighbors, because it shows warning if the website you are trying to link with is not in a good shape. The chrome browser certainly reduce the risk of bad linking from seo prospect.

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gulab March 17, 2012 at 2:45 am

I am having a problem while sharing to facebook. It does not show the image and info and breaks it down only into the url. This is how it looks

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Music March 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I believe this is among the such a lot vital information for me. And i’m satisfied studying your article. However wanna commentary on some common issues, The website style is perfect, the articles is actually excellent : D. Just right job, cheers

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Michael Belk March 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm

It changes too much for me to keep up with. I love keywords but it is really hard to know you are doing the right thing.

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Amit March 20, 2012 at 4:22 am

Google is going to be more content friendly in the future. As they have said that if you’re not SEO expert but have a great content then also you’ll get traffic in the upcoming Google Algorithm.

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Durresi March 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

Thanks for this post…very useful

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Valerie McEvoy March 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I get so confused on SEO and how to make my sites ‘do the right thing’. My blog at is Wordpress, so I think there is some traction happening there. I will continue to write naturally and with good information, but restrict the SEO to title and a few well placed keywords until I understand of this better. I use commentluv, so if you need a DOFOLLOW backlink, then come over and comment sometime!

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firman March 22, 2012 at 2:37 am

nice article guys

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