Google Penguin Update: Highlights from SMX East

SMX was a whirlwind of panels on content strategy, native advertising, PPC, JSON-LD, structured data, and more. A few highlights were Matt Van Wagners’ (@mvanwagner) hilarious and extremely approachable “Paid Search Fundamentals,” as well as Catalyst’s own Benjamin Spiegel (@nxfxcom) and his presentation on the future of retargeting that combines social, CRM, display, TV, and more.

For me, the panel that had the most industry updates and insight was “Meet the SEOs & Search Engines.” Moderated by the ever-entertaining Danny Sullivan, Founding Editor of Search Engine Land, the panel featured Bruce Clay, perennial SEO and President of Bruce Clay, Inc.; Janet Driscoll Miller, President of CEO of Marketing Mojo; Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst; Vincent Wehren, Lead Program Manager of Bing Webmaster Tools; and Ellen White, Director of SEO for Ford Motor Company.

Below are a handful of highlights and key takeaways, most importantly A NEW PENGUIN UPDATE.

UX is becoming increasingly important, especially to Google – Gary Illyes (Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, @methode)

Penguin is coming in a few weeks. And it’s too late for disavows – Gary Illyes (@methode) For more on this, check out Search Engine Land’s article

Penguin is Coming

Don’t block a bunch of 404s with your robots.txt file – Vincent Wehren, Lead Program Manager of Bing Webmaster Tool (@vincentwehren)

Google is moving toward regular updates on Panda – Garry Illyes

“We discover new contents very, very fast; we discover page updates more slowly.” – Gary Illyes

When will webmasters get an alert when manual disavows go into effect? Gary Illyes said he would bring it up to Google internally.

What about using relative or absolute links, and their value? To Google, it doesn’t matter.

Be careful with 404s. Allow your site to trigger 404s, and not to autocorrect 404s to the closest URLs. –Everyone

Google doesn’t believe that there is something called “negative SEO,” according to Gary Illyes.

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