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Back to the Future. Google Re-Releases Hilltop Algo

WRITTEN by: Bill Sterzenbach |
categories: SEO

Feb 2012


Update. We're seeing lots of news that Google is actually discounting certain link types. This is actually great news for real SEO.

What do WE See

We're seeing traditional non-relevant links performing much more poorly as a result of this recent update. SEO folks from around the world are reporting the same results. The interesting thing is, forums, blogs,etc are still working GREAT where there is actual contextual relevance.

Early Lesson?

Work your social signals. Get on REAL message boards, get real clicks from real users.

Ah sweet deja-vu. I seems like it was only 8 years ago when Google announced how they would change the way links are handled. Wait - it WAS 8 years ago...

Alright, I might be exaggerating a bit, how about Hilltop refreshed?

Today Google announced MAJOR CHANGES to how they will be handling links moving forward. My professional opinion - I'll believe it when I see it. This recent announcement looks like Hilltop redux with an emphasis on ignoring anchor text.

The changes that have the SEO community concerned are their ambiguous references to retooling how they handle links.

What does this mean for you?

Nothing. If you built your entire SEO campaign with anchor text optimized backlinks, at some point you might see a shift, but if you did "the other stuff" you will probably notice that the other guys who did more and possibly spammier link-building will be less of a threat.

Is Google Moving in the Right Direction?

I don't know. If you look at their PPC philosophy (basic economics will police search results) then link-building follows that model to the letter and should be fine for their results. Think about it like this, in PPC, quality of results are controlled by the bidding system - ostensibly people won't place high bids for keywords unless they bring high-quality visits, meaning they will not spam the results as it's economically silly to do so. The same philosophy should apply to link-builders. Why would a site spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on links only to bring non-targeted visitors? The real question we should be asking is "what's wrong with basing SERPs on inbound links?".

What should you do?

I'd say sit tight. If you're building spammy links, you should have stopped doing that about 12 years ago anyway. If you're building questionable links, let's wait and see if Google really starts to disregard them. You'll see it in your traffic soon enough.

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