In a recent interview between Eric Enge and Matt Cutts, head of the Search Quality Team at Google, they explored some of the recent concerns SEO practitioners have had since Google released Penguin, which plans to progressively change the way they would index content in the future.

We look at some of the search engine optimisation topics he touched on.

Query Deserves Diversity

Google tries to return a variety of different results on their SERPs to any given query. They try not to assume the user is interested in one single type of service or website when typing in a certain keyword. For example, “restaurant” might bring back some specific local restaurants’ sites, a review blog, a dining publication and possibly some career listings in the culinary services.

The point is, focusing your SEO on broad keywords will drastically widen your competitive base. Google tries to imitate physical markets and offer a range of solutions. So try to offer something extra that stands out.

Go For Niche Markets and Work Your Way Up

Even without this focus on diversity, Matt Cutts advised that is wasn’t a good idea to compete exclusively on the broad keywords either. New websites should rather focus on niche markets and begin dominating those search terms. Then you can leverage this position to expand into broader keywords.

Reiterating what has been the general message we’ve been getting from Google over the last few years, he said that link building is only a constructive exercise if it’s preceded by content building.

Websites should stop simply linking to each other for the sake of it, but rather link to content that that complements your site and adds value to people visiting it.

Stay away from pages that don’t abide by these principles, or look poorly managed. These type of links will just reflect badly on your site.

Infographics

These neat and visually interesting ways of concisely illustrating a given topic or series of statistics have always been popular, but they’ve recently gained meme status online. Their popularity has led to their use as a link building method. This is a form of link-baiting.

Matt Cutts warns that the weight of the links to these infographics might be ignored the future. His main complaint was that while very nice looking, they often digress or have poorly researched information and don’t add value to the user.

Content Curation

This is a practice by websites that involves the sharing of entire pieces of content or just little snippets. This is not just get around creating their own, but rather to aggregate and share interesting content more widely

Essentially this is seen as duplicate content. You aren’t contributing anything new really. This won’t be penalised but don’t expect a rankings boost either.

Overall Message: Add Value

Matt Cutts’ consistent theme throughout the interview is to always try and bring something new and interesting to the user. Treat your website as if it’s operating in any other regular market that’s trying to attract customers.

Trying to cheat the system and trick the algorithm is an empty victory because, in the end, a poor value proposition won’t get many conversions. Even if your site get a million hits.