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1. Links from “on-topic” sites matter more than “off-topic” sites

Many within the SEO industry precipitated a weighting given to links from sites of a similar topic to the one being linked to. e.g. a law firm getting a link from a blog about the legal industry would be worth more than if the law firm got a link from a site about technology. However, this has not been the case. Rand hypothesises that the rationale for Google not implementing this is that it would narrow the types of results users would receive and may not return the best results.

2. Anchor text’s influence will eventually decline

Currently, anchor text that is contains relevant keywords is still much more valuable than links without keywords. Rand predicts this will actually change in the future, but at the current stage, Google is finding the results would not be as good if they were to lessen anchor text’s weighting in the algorithm.

3. 302 and other redirects would be treated more like 301s

While 302 redirects were initially intentioned as a temporary redirect many sites use them even when moving pages permanently. The link juice is not nearly as strong though as it is from a 301 redirect which was intended for permanent redirects. Many SEOs thought this misuse of the 302 redirect would mean Google would treat it more like 301, but apparently not.

4. Rel=Canonical would become more of a “hint” and less a directive

Mistakes with rel=canonical can deindex many of a domain’s pages. However, SEOs must still be very careful using these as it appears Google still takes them as ‘gospel’.

5. Shares from trusted/important/influential social accounts would have a more direct and observable impact on rankings

With the rise of social media, SEOs though these signals would become a lot stronger but they have not. Rand believes this is because Google thinks the best content on social media eventually gets citations which would send ranking signals form the link graph. Social signals also could be spammed which is another possible reason why Google is reluctant to give these signals more weighting.

6. Google would take more cleanup action on hyper-spammy keyword niches in PPC

When Rand refers to PPC here, rather than an acronym for ‘pay per click’ advertising, he’s referring to porn, pills and casino sites in the SERPs. Many thought Google would come down harder on these spammy sites however, the SERPs for these types of sites can still be used by SEOs to see what changes Google is making to the algorithm.