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Google Panda Update: New Advice Directly From Google

23 questions to ask yourself about your content quality

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Google Panda Update: New Advice Directly From Google
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Google’s Panda update left a slew of victims in the wake of its warpath (the war, of course being on shallow and low-quality content). While Google has dropped some hints here and there on its philosophies for what it considers to be low quality, the company has now been clearer than ever as to what it’s looking at.

Do you think Google’s results have improved since the Panda update? Tell us what you think.

“Some publishers have fixated on our prior Panda algorithm change, but Panda was just one of roughly 500 search improvements we expect to roll out to search this year,” writes Google Fellow Amit Singhal on the Google Webmaster Central blog. “In fact, since we launched Panda, we’ve rolled out over a dozen additional tweaks to our ranking algorithms, and some sites have incorrectly assumed that changes in their rankings were related to Panda. Search is a complicated and evolving art and science, so rather than focusing on specific algorithmic tweaks, we encourage you to focus on delivering the best possible experience for users.”

Google lists the following as “questions that one could use to assess the ‘quality’ of a page or an article”:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

The company is careful to note that it’s not disclosing actual ranking signals used in its algorithms, but these questions will help you “step into Google’s mindset.” These questions are things that Google says it asks itself as it writes algorithms.

Singhal also reminds webmasters, “One other specific piece of guidance we’ve offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.”

We’ve already seen victims of the update respond by taking this approach. For one, Demand Media announced a big new clean-up initiative, in which it is cleaning house on user-generated content used on its eHow site – deleting some articles, while sending others back through the editorial process.

I’m sure we will be digging into all of this more very soon.

Are there any of Google’s questions that surprise you? Let us know in the comments.

[Image Credit: Stéfan on Flickr]

Google Panda Update: New Advice Directly From Google


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  • http://www.digitalalwaysmedia.com jim hedger

    Chris,

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve sent the URL to all my clients and strongly recommend other SEOs read the piece. I suggest you’ve done us a service compiling these points.

    best,
    jim

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Thanks JIm, I’d give Google more credit, but definitely appreciated.

  • Wrong

    What a joke. Letting a piece of code answer all those questions and ranking sites based on them. No wonder so many good sites and businesses are disappearing from Google. They should stick to indexing the web, not demanding site owners to comply with stupid requirements. They really need a good competitor to straighten their attitude out.

    • Mario

      100% Agree, these are stupid requirements. They are simply asking us to do the cleansing of the internet for them. No Algorithm can determine this information. So far it has penalized heaps of good sites. Google keep this up and your gone, FaceBook is already moving in. Google don’t forget where your money comes from. People may just get sick of playing your games.

    • http://www.thedirecttree.com John

      100% agree!! there is not way that some machine can determine all these factors! Unless google have developed AI there is no way these can be the factors for current SERP!
      It is up to the user to decide if the information on a website are factual or not!
      Google of course can see if the content is grammatically correct or it has been duplicated (although you can only write about a subject in so many ways and without even knowing the subject has already once been written in the similar way somewhere on the internet before)

      • http://www.back-pain-self-help.com Nick

        Google’s algorithm can’t determine these things? Visitors to the site can, and Google knows (of course they know) when a visitor jumps straight back to a search engine results page, having found nothing of interest.

        Bounce rate. Exit rate. Try a couple of google searches :-)

        Best,

        Nick

        • denzil

          Not true. Web surfing means just that. Readers often want a selection of different opinions. Therefore going back to search results and clicking through on several different links is completely natural and says nothing about the quality of those sites or that useful information wasn’t found there.

    • http://www.goodfella.com/categories/Safety-Razors/ DeRazor

      I agree, how can some off these criteria possibly be evaluated without physically reading the piece.

      • VBCruiser

        It’s funny how things change. When Google started they were kissing butt to get business. Now they want to control it all.

        After reading this post a Google boycott is in order.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      ‘stick to indexing the web’?

      What does that mean? If you have 25 million pages which potentially have content satisfying a given request, how would you order them? ‘index’ ~= ‘order’ so there has to be a method to indexing no matter what, right? If you have a better indexing scheme, you are more than free to implement the technology and start competing.

      ‘need a good competitor’ is a nice concept, unfortunately in practice, every competitor that has tried to step up to the plate has had to sit down again. Companies even try to join forces yet combined, can’t stand in comparison.

      Or is the rant more along the lines of, ‘Everyone is dependent on air and so air is evil so someone should come up with a competitor to air!’?

      Also, they are not asking ‘us’ to clean up the internet for them, they already know that would be a waste of time. What they seem to be saying, as they seem to have all along is that they will base their actions in providing their service on experience that attempts to improve the quality of accessing the service.

      If you don’t like Google’s service, don’t use it or use the feedback system to improve it.

      • NMa

        You guys should read this:

        http://insidegoogle.com/2011/05/new-book-explains-why-you-cant-trust-google/

        • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

          Read it. Basically, ‘access to ultimate information corrupts ultimately.’ or, ‘Someone could be corrupted by the access to data that Google has therefore Google must be corrupt.’

          A lot of supposition that could actually apply more to Microsoft or even your own ISP than it does Google itself.

    • denzil

      Exactly true. Google say they are now examining long-tail search query results. But do they seriously think that every idiotic query a user can enter should bring up a well-researched, well written, well-referenced page about that topic? They obviously haven’t thought through the feasibility of what they are trying to impose on website owners. First rule “garbage in, garbage out”. If someone wants to ask, “How I drink a glass of water”, or “How I tie my shoe-laces” do they really expect an article from NY times or Harvard? The content farms were filling this gap, and how is punishing them for their content improving the internet or peoples experience? Quality is in the eye of the reader. Google should not impose its own standards on what the rest of us should be reading.

  • http://gowebbaby.com Wordpress Designer

    It’s a great post, you really are a good writer! I’m so glad someone like you have the time, efforts and dedication writing, for this kind of article… Helpful, And Useful.. Very nice post!

  • http://blogarticlesite.com/blogging-for-beginners-tips/ Natalie

    “Does the article describe both sides of a story?”

    Well the answer to that is going to be dependent on your point of view. Personally I think their statements are rubbish as mainstream media never present both sides of a story but still rank in the SERPS.

    This is getting pathetic. Google is playing with peoples sites now and I believe that they do not even know what they are doing.

    They are now presenting some code as being the master of life information. Seriously Google, you are making a mess of things now!

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      How is Google playing with people’s site? They haven’t changed one bit of code on any of my sites, have they on yours?

      What they are ‘playing’ with is a service that they provide in a claimed effort to improve it. If the ‘improve’ it to the point where people find it worthless, it will become so. They don’t seem to be doing that though.

  • http://www.luqman-technologies.com SEO Companies

    Hiya Chris,

    Great effort to bring this post in people’s knowledge, I have/had been collecting email addresses of nearly every other SEO Company from all around the world, and they have been sent this URL to have a look at, I have also notified customers to have a look at your post….

    All the best and good weekend

    Tina

  • http://www.centralchauffeur.com Steve

    Our other problem is that panda also directly references Google Places adn sometime competetors have added fake address locations E.G< within an Airport and there is no real way for Google to know.

  • Mike

    What does this mean for eCommerce sites though?

    I have about 1500 art prints, and as a niche retailer – a spider/algorithm might interpret these pages as being similar or overlapping in terms of the text. The main diference is the image (which a customer with human eyes will see) but now I worry that Google won’t be able to differentiate the pages and therefore rank the site lower. Although we’re the leading site in our market, we’ve just seen a 25% drop in traffic since Panda. This is really worrying. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • http://kkltd.co.uk/ vybixa

      Fantatic observation there. eCommerce sites do not require essays of “content”, but as in your case, the image speaks louder, and the algorithm updates et al can NOT see this, and thus could penalise your site, whereas an aggregator of your content could thrive by adding nonsensical (but unique) content. Now, that is a travesty!

      Essentially, with all the self publicity that google seeks and geberates through these so called major updates (they are simply a purge of their index and a fresh re-indexation using new algorithms), coupled with the follow-up misleading “guides” from them, it is about time to start an open-source search engine, with profits going to a charity supporting / promoting the web.

      • JustRenaldo

        I love the open source search engine idea and profits going to charity, hopefully someone with the knowledge needed to get this started will be working on it already?

      • http://www.seoacuity.com SEO Acuity

        I have been saying the same thing for years.

        Open source search will be the future if we make it happen.

    • http://www.trueportraits.com Ray Bilcliff

      I to have a photo website with lots of pictures that are different and unique but come under the same similar headings and similar text. My site has dropped from page 1 to page 3 or further for main key words. I would say my traffic has dropped about 40% over the last few weeks.

      If I describe a photo of a beautiful woman or a Florida Alligator the text I would use would be same/similar to a lot of other sites out there. What I am saying is the photo is unique but the text is not and never can be.

    • http://www.flipit4u.com Chris

      In your case with the pictures, I would recommend if you don’t already do so. Make sure your meta tags and picture text is included on all photo’s with descriptions as well. This way the spider won’t see it only as a picture but a picture with substance and relevance. Just my two cents, hope it helps.
      Chirs

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      If you use W3C Standards in a way in which your image content is accessible regardless of one’s sited capabilities, your content won’t have any problem.

      Consider using the alt=”" image tag attribute to describe the content of the image, if you don’t already do so in surrounding text.

      Building a search engined friendly site is more about making a site accessible to all potential visitors than it is concentrating on that pesky search engine visitor to the exclusion of all others.

    • http://www.BuyFastpitchGloves.com FastpitchGloves

      I too have an ecommerce site. I try very hard to make each and every image unique by use of meta tags. The alt image tag does very well. I even had some images rank very highly themselves.

      I have unique descriptions for each product as well and I have not seen my site drop. I have seen all my articles that I spent hours working on and getting ranked disappear from the goog.

      My blog has disappeared as well – not sure what is up with that.

      I do still see many visitors are finding my site from the link in my articles. So I guess loseing them from the serps isn’t all that bad. After all, there were a lot of crap articles out there.

      I agree with others on here that the Goog doesn’t want anyone to make money except themselves. Yet they are content to take thousands of dollars a month from us for advertising.

  • http://www.blogginhealth.com Admin@BlogginHealth

    I have always wondered if google is not being biased. Most of the topics outlined seem to be biased and this is what I mean.

    There are millions on people out there who depend on internet marketing to make a living. They promote affiliate or their own products and target the English(the US for instance) speaking audience because of the large market. The non English speaking authors(like me) lose on this because they can not write articles the way an English speaking guy would.

    Spellings can be taken care of by using online spell checkers but then what about the LSI? What about misspellings which searchers type to querry google from SEO aspects?

    People really write good articles but have poor control of English. I have written series of articles for tech magazines in my language but the audience is just a drop of water in the ocean compared to the English speaking world. If I have to depend on this, them I would starve.

    Is google ready to learn my language spoken by less than 3 million people? I will just be too ready to teach them.

    • http://www.BuyFastpitchGloves.com FastpitchGloves

      I feel your pain. I am also an electronics design engineer. At one company I was assigned to assist a Korean engineer translate documents into English. It was quite a chore. His english was really bad and broken. I even understood what and how the product worked and I had a hard time translating his writings.

      You might try translating your articles as best you can into English, then hire an American to help re-write them to make better sense to the English speaking customers. We all know that spell checkers don’t work very well. Kind of like the help instructions in Microsoft products – they are great help if you already know how to use the product.

      Just my two cents worth.

  • Nick

    Google is not a Democratic search engine. Like the regime in Egypt it worked to topple, it is not of the people, for the people, by the people.

  • marbou

    Thanks for the post. I agree with Google that everybody must maintain good quality content. It would not be fair for a searcher to get junk site. This also will allow and encourage good writing and info.

  • sachin agarwal

    google says improve your content quality and at the same time it also says that they dont know who own the content. there are number of cases where, duplicate content is ranking high then the original owner of the content, and google does not respond to the DMCA. Google just count high quality links, nothing else….

    • http://cctvinstallation.org cam

      I know the internet is evolving fast all the time, but how can Google make such sweeping changes overnight ?

      They are telling us to spend so much time (which is money) fulfilling their ever longer list of requirements, but why should I bother as they keep moving the goalposts in all their future hundreds or thousands of updates ?

      • http://gaycontentwriter.com Gay Content Writer

        But the demands have not changed. They have always had the same goal; to provide relevant and useful content for a search query.

        This has been the ambition of Google since they began, but people keep focusing on the SEO tactics rather than actually doing what Google need them to do.

        Believe me, I am no fan of Google and their domination. But since the very start all they have wanted to do is present the best of the Internet in response to a search. This ambition has not changed.

        If people focussed on what Google is looking for rather than constantly trying to game the system for a quick $ most would not be affected by these updates.

        Work on making your site the best in its field, and you won’t be harmed by any Google update.

        • http://www.guitarsreviewer.com Guitar Reviews

          In response to gay Writers comment.

          If that’s the case then why is sponsored content at the top of the results page?

          I see Marketing still has it’s uses.

        • Mae Johns

          I haven’t found that to be the case at all. Quality sites are no longer at the top of Google search pages. Not when Wikipedia, which has a dubious record of accuracy at best, ranks at the top of most search strings. And I recently did a search for “flavor food without salt”. One of the highest ranking sites was a collection of Biblical phrases about salt, which was totally useless.

  • http://www.healthalkaline.com Brimel

    It’s ridiculous questions like, “Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?” that will put an honest blogger out of his ‘home business.’

    Google is obviously is much more than a search engine, it looks like they want to dictate who deserves to be on the www, hijacking an average person pursuit of online success.

    Now one can only be successful on the Google god’s terms.

    I guess unless you’re an expert, a recognized authority and spend big money on your website you are screwed.

    Welcome to Google tyranny.

    Brian
    www.healthalkaline.com

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      So how would people find your web site were it not for Google or any of the other search engines? Besides following the links to your site you post all over the place.

      You don’t think other search engines don’t have methods, to a greater or lesser degree, to filter results based on what THEY think is most relevant?

      If one asking one’s self if the article one just wrote sounds reasonable and written by someone who knows what they are talking about is too much to be asked of an ‘honest blogger’ than one would have to ask the question of just what is it that honest bloggers do write about? Things they know nothing of?

      Actually, I’m starting to see your point. ;-)

  • http://gaycontentwriter.com Gay Content Writer

    I work with affiliates of gay adult content, and there has been a massive shift in the adult blogosphere because affiliates refused to accept that copy/paste of sponsor content was now unacceptable.
    Many of them still focus on keyword placement, 50 word posts with ten links out to the sponsor, and ads all over the sidebar. They had built their traffic through links alone, and now that Google has refined its criteria, they’re watching their ten year-old site crash through the floor.

    I have been preaching for months that affiliates need to step up their game and actually WRITE in order for their site to survive. They need to provide more than simply sponsor posts, and they need to be more than just 50 words.
    Many of them have continued as they were, and these sites are now failing because they either don’t have the time or they don’t have the imagination to write enough for each of their updates.

    Basically, Google has been saying for years that websites need to have a personality and offer something of value, and that this value has to be seen. This can only be done through providing relevant and lengthy content, with the audience able to offer their thoughts, providing that opportunity through Tweeting, commenting, rating and sharing.

    This is not new, but people prefer to try to game the system because they’re lazy. You don’t need the SEO games and tactics, you just need to provide good content and allow people to do the other half of the work for you.

    • STR82U

      That’s about the gist of it. I have a pile of sites that got penelized for my laziness and I knew it was coming. The sites that have, “personality” are the ones that are making it.

    • Good Dog

      You’ve been brainwashed by Google if you think that real value is only in written content. It’s only that way because Google says so.

      Not everyone wants to read on the net – and more especially in the adult content industry. Most of it is about live images and movies. So what the user wants to see when they visit an adult content site is PICTURES – not writing.

      Google dictate – and telling the adult content sites to add written content – is actually taking away from what most people are looking for.

      I have one crappy site – something I fiddled around with a couple of years ago. It contains junk and links and affiliates and feeds – I haven’t touched the content since I set it up and my traffic has slowly but surely been increasing since Google’s updates.

      So Google says one thing but they’re actually doing another. I am getting less and less enamoured with them. I don’t use them for personal search anymore because I am getting results dating back to 2007 which are outdated and no longer relevant too.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      +10!

      I’ve had to worry about exactly 0 Google updates in the 10 years I’ve been developing web sites.

      Getting ranked is easy, provide compelling content that get people interested and talking and the positions in the SERPs usually follow fairly reliably.

      I do well in search engines probably because I don’t worry about them or try to take advantage of this short-lived quirk or that uncovered hole in how a given search engine works.

      All that said, Google has about the best guidelines for webmasters which if used well, helps to make web sites that are everything a visitor could ask for.

      Do the work for the visitors you hope to receive on your site, not for search engines you hope will drive visitors to your site because going that route usually ends up with short term results only leaving long term results to complaining about search engines changing this, that or some other thing while you weren’t looking.

  • http://www.mybabygiftbasketsandmore.com Joyce

    Thanks for the article on what Google expects. I know I have also a directory and some of the articles that are posted I read a couple of sentences, go to the next one and it is not much different. My question would be though, has Google put less emphasis on article writing when it comes to back links? I know spinning the article from some of them I have seen most times makes no sense at all.
    Thanks again for the article.

  • http://www.canadaupdates.com Canada Updates

    Thanks, Very interesting article.

    If Google or any search Engine is able to differentiate between content pages based on above parameters, it would definitely drive away many dummy sites delivering no value but are able to rank high on search engine results by manipulating the ranking parameters

  • bob

    your article not explose complete information about this panda. google is big brother and last changes in search results making him less and less relevant. I personally already start using again also bing and yahoo because google search results sometimes stupid so much. and them need to drop wikipedia and “aboutus.org” simular domains

    • http://www.trueportraits.com Ray Bilcliff

      When my site dropped from position #2 to #30 on Google for the keyword “photos women” it dropped the same amount on the same day in Bing. How is that explained away? All of my serps are the same in Bing as they are in Google.

  • http://aurumwriters.com Freelance Article Writer

    Well, to me it seems Google wants every webmaster or content writer to be as genuine as possible without worrying too much about any keyword usage or tactics (black hat or even white hat…better if we can throw the hat away…lol).

    Well, good sign for those writers who strive to provide only the best quality and authoritative content to their users.

    Overall a great news..at least for me.

    • http://www.panama-real-estate-sales.com Panama Real Estate

      The article, to me , was a little redundant.

  • jilo

    I do not understand what Google do with search ranking Some time u get up to 4 list for one si te for one keyword just easy example just
    search for
    /happy birthday wishes / you get one site 1-4 search result . my search experience.

  • http://looseweightfastsecret.com/ Lose Weight Fast

    I think some of the questions are only relevant to certain sites. Why have considerations on whether you will buy from the site if the site is not selling stuff?

    Some sites are meant to be more conversational and despite the fact that in general it should be readable, social sites will not fall into this category. How would google evaluate those sites then?

    Feels like although the points they propose can good, they’re not applicable across board. I don’t see how they can automate it.

  • http://kinembe2.com Kinembe

    google is getting harder and harder to please. how can their results be so different than the others? i have sites that are #1 on yahoo that don’t even show up in googles first pages.

  • http://www.gasta.com Francis Higgins

    Google are not only penalising what they say is poor content but also other search engines and meta search engines, they are doing this simply for one reason: profits slide.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      Why should one search engine index another search engine???

      If you want information, do you want to go to the source, or at least what can somewhat reasonably be determined to be the source or an index of sites which indexed the information you are looking for?

      Would not the more direct method be quicker, try to determine who is ‘the’ source and index them?

      Determining the source may not be 100% fool-proof but it has to be better than just listing anyone who has even obliquely mentioned or indexed or indexed an index of information pertaining to a given search string.

  • Mark Hagerling

    Why not have a search engine where the algorithms are totally public and there can be different “algorithm sets” you can click on to have the search results reshuffled according to a particular set. This way you choose and you’re not subject to a particular search engine’s bias.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      Do you know how many algorithms search engines employ to qualify and quantify content? We’re talking thousands.

      Beyond that, the user would be required to know the operation and functioning of a given algorithm to know whether or not to turn it on or off and not only would the average person performing a search not have a clue, publishing the information as to what specific filters do and how they do it would basically render the filters useless as the more popular filters used by people performing searches would just get the most attention for trying to bypass them.

  • Tommy

    “Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?”

    Attempting to guess?

    Google itself suggests (from http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769#1):

    “Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.”

    So which one is it?

    • http://www.milatova.com Tova

      Apparently, there must be a right and a wrong way to guess.
      Next step for Google is to explain what is the googalically correct way to guess…

      • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

        Both of you are being pedantic.

        A webmaster trying to guess what people are going to search for could be doing it so that he/she can write topical content based on their experience that they already know people are searching for or, use the knowledge to write low quality keyword filled content just so that it will show up in searches. See the difference?

        Google ‘Suggest’ has nothing to do with whether or not a given webmaster does or does not provide quality content. It is only provided as a way to make people’s use of their search engine more user friendly.

    • Beamer

      “Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.”

      Absolutely correct. No fan of Google, but this is how to get a site to rank and is what relevency is all about.

  • http://www.j2pulsa.com Bisnis Pulsa

    This Panda comes with very slight difference from other Google’s systems. Quality of content has to be underlined by webmasters.

  • Nathan

    Rather than the article it was the comments that was revealing.

    One would expect a search engine to help web surfers find information. Google seems to be trying to develop an algorithm that will ensure this result.

    On the other hand, people who want to build a business using search engines want to game the ranking system rather than provide good content. They are naturally angry when their gaming efforts are nullified by algorithm changes.

    • Dianne

      I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think that Google is asking too much, provide good unique content that you didn’t steal from some content farm. Anyone who does SEO and really researches the keywords and the competition for any given word has seen all of the spam and the same article showing up over and over again. I was happy to see some of the crap I am competing with shuffled out.

      I am just thankful for the hints I can use to make sure my site is good quality so Google will keep sending me traffic…FOR FREE! Geez…I could see people getting pissed about paid search…but come on, they send people to my site daily and all I need to do is meet the requirement of having quality content on a quality site. Seems reasonable to me.

      • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

        +10 to both of you!

        Google even tells you how to build quality sites in the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Who could ask for more from them?

        Notice those are not ‘How to rank well in search engine’ guidelines. They are much more about the quality fo the content and making it accessible than they are about specific search engine foibles mainly because ‘quality’ doesn’t change, just our, and Google’s ability to determine it programaticaly.

      • gail

        I read 30-40 articles a day on highly searched topics on the web. Of these I find at least 10 that are gibberish! Complete nonsense, I obviously do not select them to be highlighted on any of the 7 blogs that I personally write for and maintain. I think Google wants quality and they are battling this constant flow of garbage…I’m for anything that sucks out the garbage.

  • http://timesnewstoday.com/ timesnewstoday

    thanks for this article…With this new advice I will try to make a new strategy for my site…

  • http://www.livingportugalproperty.com portugal property

    Hi Chris, Another great update. When looking through Google’s latest comments, I must admit that not all of our articles are what you call top notch quality and given this new information I shall now be revisiting all of our articles to try and take all the criteria into account.

  • http://getandstayfit.info David Ambrose

    Great article, very interesting comments! I have to agree that webmasters and bloggers need to focus on quality of content vs. the ever changing SEO algorithms. Providing value to your readers is the key in my opinion. Focusing on SEO does not add any value. Focusing on content quality without too many distractions does add value.

  • http://www.marketingloudly.com Mike G

    I absolutely cannot wait for a competitor to step up and challenge Google. Bing has a long way to go, and IMO, I don’t know if they will ever ‘get it’. Duckduckgo? Blecko? The opportunity is enormous, and the time is now. Google’s days of dictating to the Internet using population what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ need to end. Now.

  • http://learnchineseintaiwan.com Study Chinese In Taiwan

    Writing good quality content for people, not for search engines may be the slow road to increased SERP rankings, but over time it’s the most successful.

  • JustRenaldo

    Actually, NO. I reported multiple results in the Google webmaster forum that was started by one of Google’s employees asking for feedback from webmasters who felt their sites were adversely affected wrongly. These Serps included blank forum pages, pages that had absolutely nothing to do with the searched for phrase and after two months, those pages are still ranking in the top 5 positions? Additionally, the google employee who started the thread in the google forum responded one time about page 10 (there are now over 50 pages) so I really doubt the entire exercise of that thread is little more than entertainment for the plexies at googleplex.

    • http://simbos.web.id/simbos-software-sistem-informasi-bos-pelaporan/ software BOS

      i do agree with your opinion. i think it’s too hard to find which one is interesting for human and which one is not.

  • http://www.relationshiproblem.com Ken

    Thanks Chris, Very good writing. This is new to me. I will share this with my friends.

  • http://www.carbon-footprint-defined.com Jane

    Very revealing post, though I do have to wonder how all of this would be tracked short of human eyes. Many of the questions could simply call for opinions; what I might think is poor, someone else might think it’s just fine in terms of quality/quantity of info provided. I do agree with a number of the points. Nothing worse than landing on a site loaded with spelling errors, nothing to read, information promised isn’t there, too much flash going on etc. Again, just trying to understand how they would technically pick up on all of this.

  • JustRenaldo

    A follow up to my comment made above – the following is a question posed in a forum I belong to and my response to that question -

    “How many pages would one expect me to write about foot fungus? And how many links do you think I will be getting from other sites. Or what about genital warts, now there is a link I want on my Facebook fan page.”

    My post – THANK YOU for raising the very questions I have had for years.

    In regards to ‘how many pages’ could one expect to publish about a single subject before the information becomes redundant?

    Google pushes the issue of publishing more, more and even more because in the end Google as an entity does not care about the publisher, they care about filling up their SERPS that help them sell advertising.

    If you have 100 or 1000 people publishing about foot fungus, Google now has 100-1000 potential views of their advertising, Google has no feelings, they are a corporation that must maintain or grow their revenues and publishers are what helps feed their beastly appetite.

    Let’s carry the Google kool aid a bit further – they say how if you write great content other website publishers will want to link to it. Yeah, right! Other competing web publishers have that thought foremost in their minds “to give you linkjuice” for your page or site.

    Consider also, how many people have websites who use the Internet? Probably in the single digits percentagewise so here again the Google kool aid – who are these people who are going to massively “link” to your foot fungus page if they are simply some poor soul suffering from this condition who has no website to link from or who does not care to let the world know they have been looking for a source to cure their condition.

    And how about ecommerce sites that describe a specific model of an item, be it electronic or other type, how many pages must be written about this specific model before it becomes redundant?

    Google cares only about Google’s bottom line and all publishers do is feed their beastly appetite. Do whatever you have to do to rank your pages and sites and stop drinking the Google Kool Aid with Matt Cutts or Amit Singhal sweetener.

  • http://www.guitarsreviewer.com Guitar Reviews

    It appears to me that these Google anouncements are incredibly self serving in their nature. I should build the web-site equivelant of the Encyclopedia Britannica or have the authority of the news at ten? For what reason? so Google is first choice amongst internet users? Also, being that I am cynical in both nature and attitude (sometimes) It would certainly suite Google’s advertising ambitions to lower the rank of perfectly valid and well performing web-sites to “persuade” these sites to increase their on-line marketing revenues. What was that about Trust? ps. My own rankings haven’t suffered at all, so this is not bitterness. I’m just tired of being manipulated by the corporate mentality.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      Your rankings haven’t changed so you are being manipulated how exactly?

      On the other hand, if your rankings haven’t changed, it could be said that you were in affect ‘rewarded’ for doing what comes to you naturally.

      Could it not be said that while there may be little reward in doing good, the best ‘reward’ that one could expect is for those who don’t, are punished?

  • http://simbos.web.id/simbos-software-sistem-informasi-bos-pelaporan/ software BOS

    That just LOL, it’s become realistic if they review all the content manually.

  • http://video2net.com Keith Foster

    The new advice is really not new, or helpful. When a situation exists, as it does, where stolen content shows up on spam websites that get higher search ranking than the original source websites, then most of the “Google Questions” and answers are irrelevant. While this problem may not be experienced by 100% of the websites negatively affected by the Panda changes, it has happened to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of legitimate content producing websites. It is a good example of how bad things have become.

    Google made an attempt to fix what was not really broken and in the process they broke their search system. The word coming out of Google’s office in New York is that they know they screwed up and they are in chaos. They’ve made so many changes that they can’t even go back to what the system was in early February. More and more information about the Google screw-up will be publicly revealed as team members become more and more frustrated with their inability to fix what they destroyed.

    Regarding the focus groups that Google used the questions on, the fact remains that you cannot trust the opinion of people who are not qualified to give it. I’ve been involved in marketing studies and focus groups for international companies and local businesses for 40 years. This is the one tenet that is evident from all my experience.

  • http://datastats.com Raymond Matkowsky

    no change.

  • http://www.fixpcfreeze.com Mathews

    Highly informative. Most of it is known to all webmasters. The point is if you write an article, keyword is very important. Now Google shows the site to a user searching for it using keyword. Unless a webmaster writes with care and caution how and where and how many keyword to use, how will the site rank well on google. How can google say if the site is made for the user or for the search engine even after all the great complicated algorithms they have placed into the Panda Update?

  • http://www.qubok.com Matt

    This is really nothing new, Google are just reiterating what they have always said, and now with the panda update they actually have algorithmic swing to follow through on their requirements.

    So the tall and short of it is – write quality content aimed at the user. Simple.

    • http://www.stcontact-umbrella.com umbrellcompany

      White hat or black hats, these hats have always been around and google has always spoken out on these and now its time to remove the black hats. Maybe this will see white hat seo finally being rewarded for fair seo practices.

      When the seo heat starts burning too much the white hats get going.

  • http://www.furpetsonly.com R. B. Jeffrey

    I may be dead wrong, but, I think that there is a bias that Google has to give the best rankings to the people who have the most money to spend on writers, and SEO professionals. If is likened to the car show circuit where the person that has the most money to spend on a show car always wins. The independent business person that has to learn all the methods on his or her own and does not have the resources to spend thousands on professional help just ends up getting the worst from Google. If you can’t afford a tuxedo you cant go the party.

  • http://www.toothygrinsstore.com David

    Maybe this information will help people see through the thinly veiled – terrible content – money making products that so many gurus throw around from here to there!

  • http://www.khotsana.com Khotsana

    Well,
    ok for content sites, I get it, but what about classified sites? For example, my website, except the FAQs, there is no proper contents, only ads posted by users, so those rules (or guidelines) cited above can’t apply! How could I ask people who post for their condo for sale to write a different ad than on the other sites he already posted? Ok, I asked it in fact before posting, but how many of them really do it?
    I agree that for an article those rule are good BUT, you must agree that all websites aren’t blog or content oriented.

    What about social networks, classifieds, directories, auctions and other eboutiques? What must be the rules or guidelines to follow for them?

    We can’t treat all the websites the same way, can we?

    Could be good to ask Google about the other kind of sites ;)

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

      “How could I ask people who post for their condo for sale to write a different ad than on the other sites he already posted?”

      You could tell them that if they DO write original content for each submission, they are likely to get better results, then leave it up to them.

      You picked a hard market that was easy when search engines were less selective but the market and the industry has moved along since then.

      You just have to adapt or find something else to do.

      Original content being important is not something new with the Panda update, it’s been in the Google Webmaster Guidelines from day 1.

  • http://www.pcgamescontrollers.com/flight-simulator-controls.html Flight Simulator Controls

    I’m never too enthusiastic about Googles “improvements” to it’s algorithms. Google has become bigger than most of us would like them to be. I would love to see Yahoo! or Bing surpass them in the near future. Google has got too big for itself. Seo is one major advantage most of us small online e-tailers have over the corporate giant’s. Since Google has become a corporate giant itself it’s no wonder why they seem to be siding with the other multi-million dollar empires out there.

    • http://www.1stcontact-umbrella.com umbrellcompany

      True that, Google has really made it easier for us to compete with the fortune 500 companies and boy do these guys seem to be filling the pinch of having so much online competition. If there is a new start up with seo skills, just because they are still starting doesn’t mean they dont know what they are talking about.

      If a site is sitting at the top there for a certain keyword, then there is certainly something special they have done to be there and as long as others havent utilised that, thats their competitive edge.

  • http://www.infoupon.com gĂĽncel blog

    thanks for this article. there are useful information.

  • http://www.womensradio.com Pat Lynch

    I was very surprised to hear that Google is weighting “short” articles adversely. In our research, our audience prefers “short” articles and we have to work hard to have our contributors keep it short. Most of our contributors are accustomed to writing much longer articles and find it a painful transition to writing more concise articles that appeal to our busy, women leader market. I have an issue with several changes that Google has made recently that adversely affects the emerging women leaders on the Web. It appears that the people who are once again making the rules without checking in or looking at the research for this major audience, are “men!”

    • http://www.taxrefunds.co.uk lb@taxrefunds

      Unless you are doing some research for a project or something, no one likes having to alot of content with the majority of us sifting through the page as quickly in order to go and compare if what we have gotten from the website is in deed what other websites say. With search engines its all about comparison,when one searches for something its not easy to get them to sign up or make a purchase at one go thus the need to be as informative and convincing as we can when writing our content.

  • http://pullyourexbackreviewss.blogspot.com Gaurab Borah

    I don’t know how does google determine these. They have billions and billions of website to search from and not even a robot could do that. It’s just few guidelines to squeeze high quality original content.

  • Peter Weicker

    Google’s stated objectives seem sound enough. The quality of their efforts is bound to decline without effective competition, but whose fault is that? Somebody needs to actually show up and make a game of it.

    Google’s conduct and statements imply a hierarchy of value. Searchers are exalted at the expense of content providers. It may be because hostility towards SERP gamers has taken root and is be growing without constraint. If searchers and content providers were valued equally, then you’d expect more transparency and consultation.

    A complacent air of impunity pervades their public statements, but that’s just how social groups behave in a position of unchallenged advantage. Until somebody gives them a bad day it’s going to continue. We may eventually see “megooglomania” emerge. Let’s hope it doesn’t get that bad. They do great stuff, but if they go off the rails they’ll do even more harm.

  • mike

    Cl$assic boring tale from google itself. Thanks chris for sadly having to deliver that worthless info. So google does 500 changes meaning more than 1 a day. Haha that sounds just silly. hey amit down in the other cube, I make a algo change in a few fyi and you make yours after I’m dome before lunch then we’ll play our ping pong tourney before day is out. The search results are just boring.

  • Michael Muth

    Good article Chris, and thank you for all your writings. This article is the approach I have always taken for my site and through all the changes, this approach has paid off.
    For those bashing Google, read between the lines. For the comment, FB is closing in, LOL!!

    • Sandy

      Michael thanks for the worthless input.

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