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Penguin 2.0 released recently, and most people immediately began analyzing the minute details, trying to figure out what, exactly, Google changed in the process of the update. What is the new balance of keywords to articles? How does one build links without getting accused of spam? These are the questions that seem to get asked every time that Google so much as refreshes its indices; people are conditioned to see any change as significant.

However, one post by Adam Morgan points out that, according to Matt Cutts, while the changes are significant, SEOs are probably spending too much time worrying about link-building. So, where does Cutts say the focus needs to lie?

User experience and site speed.

SEOs and web designers: How hard do you consider these two things? In my mind, it seems like these would be extremely difficult for a good website to improve upon, and so I wind up going back and forth in my head whether link-building is the tiebreaker, and therefore important to consider for companies that already have stellar user experience and a well-optimized load time, or if it really is distracting us from trying to connect with our customers in new and exciting ways.

In a way, I am reaching a little bit outside of my area of expertise, since I am not a usability engineer, but Cutts’ desire for websites to focus primarily on these two things leads me to wonder if the people at Google feel that slow sites with poor usability run rampant throughout the internet. Perhaps businesses feel that their website is “good enough,” and this statement from Cutts is Google’s way of calmly disagreeing. I don’t know, I’m probably reading way too much into this statement. Then again, that’s part of the fun of SEO, I suppose—trying to decipher all of the different, often mixed, signals that the people designing the search engines give.

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