Elsmarc - 12:07 pm on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
I'm one of those that didn't do much at all with regard to SEO other than the basics. I have always built sites for users, not Google. Since my first site in late 1995 I have build my sites for people - "user experience" and all that. I never even did link building, always depending on "natural" links visitors would put places. Quite a few links to my main site are on Wikipedia, for example, that people put there, not me. My main site was hit, and hit hard starting on 25 July 2012. So - Matt Cuts can say what he wants, but just because people build sites for people, not Google, doesn't mean much, if anything. My "saving grace" is that over the years so many people have linked to my main site in various places. In fact, one of the search key words people use to find my main site is the name of the site its self (and the site name is not only *very* unusual, it is the name of a street so if you search for it you'll find very few entries). So, not even my domain name was chosen with Google (or any other search engine for that matter) in mind. If the site wasn't as well known as it is it wouldn't be getting much if any traffic. I don't know what Google is doing, but these days most of the searches I get come up with Amazon this, or Amazon that. Is Amazon building sites "for people"? Or I get a list of entries for pages on About.com which are typically small entries that they pay people to write, and those writers are typically ignorant of what they are writing about. I have no idea what Google is doing, but I'm at the point where I don't care, and I think we are finding out that it really doesn't matter if a site has "white hat" or "black hat" SEO. Google's algorithms have put them into the "drug war" territory where what they do with their algorithms has little effect when you look it from way up high. And don't get me started on the "social media" thing where they want to *make* people get involved in Google+ if they want to be in their search results. In the end, to me, if my sites don't make money I'll shut them down. I'm in my 60's and retired. I don't need the money. What I see happening is what I call the "Walmartization" of the internet. Not too many years from now only big companies/corporations will be the first page for most search results. One thing that *does* surprise me is that pages I put up way back in the late 1990's which I have never changed, are doing *very* well in Google serps right now. Cutts talked about things like "freshness" and my highest ranked pages are from the 1990's (with dates on them, no less) right now. Go figure.
<snip> But, he has been saying for quite a long time that people should be focussing on their users, not building for Google. Then suddenly, Penguin aggressively targets SEO techniques. You can't say you weren't warned. <snip>