Matt Cutts has just announced that an update is rolling out targeting those markets traditionally dominated by black hats. Among those affected are payday loans and, of course, porn.
In a web spam video last month, Matt Cutts displayed an uncharacteristic burst of excitement as he explained that for the first time they would be targeting specific markets rather than simply rolling out a broad update. Clearly he and his buddies in the web spam team must be feeling pretty happy with themselves as the contrast that exists between the mainstream markets and the small number that continue to be charactised by spam, highlights the undeniable progress that panda and penguin have made in the last two years. It is because of this progress that they can now afford to hit the last few black hat niches in a far more targeted manner.
The question now then is how on earth are sites going to rank in those markets? Are porn sites going to begin investing in high quality PR and social campaigns? Given the stealthy manner in which people consume this kind of content, it seems unlikely the normal signals would have much relevance here, but perhaps that’s why Google felt a more bespoke update was required? Fortunately I’ll never have the data to find out.