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Sites' positions in our search results are determined based on hundreds of factors designed to provide end-users with helpful, accurate search results. These factors are explained in more detail at http://www.google.com/competition/howgooglesearchworks.html [google.com].
In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share. For more information about improving your site's visibility in the Google search results, we recommend visiting Webmaster Academy which outlines core concepts for maintaining a Google-friendly website
Previously, the article had a line that read:
In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.
We’ve bolded the key part, which was changed on May 27th to say:
In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.
You can see the old version on The Wayback Machine; [web.archive.org...] the change was spotted yesterday by Erik Baeumlisberger. [twitter.com...]
The change is consistent with a message that Google’s been pushing recently, to focus people less on link building and more on building quality content. The head of Google’s web spam fighting team, Matt Cutts, spoke about this in a video to publishers on April 29 .... see article for more details : [searchengineland.com...]
[edited by: phranque at 11:33 am (utc) on Jun 20, 2013]
[edit reason] fixed url [/edit]
I believe that Matt Cutts is trying to do us a favor by emphasizing the quality content.
by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.
A large part of SEO is just making it obvious what your page is about. This helps both the user and the search engine. A lot of it is just usability, but usability specifically for a user who is coming from a search engine.
It might be worth reflecting on the above and this statement, I referred to in another thread, in the context of the OP :
So you can spend money on all the best UI and content and it's worth zip, without people talking via signals to Google. There's limited ability to [ old style SEO ] manipulate Google's keywords without that. [webmasterworld.com...]
If I were to speculate on the weighting of ranking factors [ others may disagree ], in the order of importance it would be:
1. Brand Signals
4. Links [ essential for some sort of indexing ]
With better control over links with Penguin, I think Page Rank may have some chance of influence, if not now, sometime in the future, as link equity will be more scarce for sharing, raising it's validity again, now that many penalized sites and publishers have been squashed.
I just wonder where folks requiring links are going to get any link equity from across the net, in general terms, that doesn't run the risk of being penalized. Links require a lot more effort and risk now with siteowners /SEO's being discouraged from participating in this space.
There's definitely an aggressive stance by Google to eliminate the influence of links, but every now and then Google continue to say that links are an essential part of the web and the way a search engine works. MC reiterated that on a video a few weeks back.
I don't think the latter statement by MC should be seen to override the OP though. Not sure how SEO's feel about launching new sites if they can't get a link to kick off the indexing. The above ranking factor order [ speculative ], get's thrown about a bit when many sites rely on those factors being engineered by SEO's in reverse.
blackhat works perfectly
Given #1, is there any possible universe in which #2-4 would not happen?