Since the Google Panda Update first launched back in February (and really for some time before that), there has been a lot of discussion about search quality throughout the industry - the quality of the content that search engines are returning in their results.
This is the whole reason the Panda update exists. It's all about improving the quality of results. Some will dispute the success of that, but it is the reason for better or for worse.
But what about Bing? It doesn't command nearly the search market share that Google does, but as it powers Yahoo search, it's really the only major competitor in town.
Bing talked a bit about its own views on content quality this week, and content producers might do well to check take notice of that as well - especially those who may have been hit by the Panda update, but are still doing ok in Bing.
Whereas Google had a list of questions one could ask themselves to asses the quality of their site, Bing has published a list of things to avoid, which reads as follows:
- Duplicate content – don’t use articles or content that appears in other places. Produce your own unique content.
- Thin content – don’t produce pages with little relevant content on them – go deep when producing content – think “authority” when building your pages. Ask yourself if this page of content would be considered an authority on the topic.
- All text/All images – work to find a balance here, including images to help explain the content, or using text to fill in details about images on the page. Remember that text held inside an image isn’t readable by the crawlers.
- Being lonely – enable ways for visitors to share your content through social media.
- Translation tools – rarely does a machine translation tool leave you with content that reads properly and that actually captures the original sentiment. Avoid simply using a tool to translate content from one language to the next and posting that content online.
- Skipping proofreading – when you are finished producing content, take the time to check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and for the overall flow when reading. Does it sound like you’re repeating words too frequently? Remove them. Don’t be afraid to rewrite the content, either.
- Long videos – If you produce video content, keep it easily consumable. Even a short 3 – 4 minute video can be packed with useful content, so running a video out to 20 minutes is poor form in most instances. It increases download times and leads to visitor dissatisfaction at having to wait for the video to load. Plus, if you are adding a transcription of your video, even a short video can produce a lengthy transcription.
- Excessively long pages – if your content runs long, move it to a second page. Readers need a break, so be careful here to balance the length of your pages. Make sure your pagination solution doesn’t cause other issues for your search optimization efforts, though.
- Content for content’s sake – if you are producing content, be sure its valuable. Don’t just add text to every page to create a deeper page. Be sure the text, images or videos are all relevant to the content of the page.
The rest of Bing's advice basically boils down to focusing on creating a good user experience and letting Bing know about your content. "Whether you call them rich snippets or by their proper names, the act of marking up your content to tell the engines more details about the content is a wise investment," says Bing's Duane Forrester. "By following the plan outlined at Schema.org, you can embed meta tags around your content. Visitors won’t see them, but the search engines will, enabling us to understand your content and use it in unique ways to create more engaging search experiences. Take some time and review this idea to see if you can leverage the great content you’re creating in new ways."
If you're living up to Google's definition of quality, you probably won't be doing too bad in Bing either, and if you're doing well in Google, you're probably getting a lot more search referrals from Google than you could ever get from Bing anyway, but it's still helpful to get a look into Bing's own thinking on this issue.