On the 6th May Google posted the latest information on their recent Panda algorithm changes that have caused so many problems and so much confusion out there in SEO land. The piece, entitled ‘Providing More Guidance on Building High-Quality Sites’ was posted on the Google Webmaster Central blog and is a useful source of information for getting to grips with the latest changes and how they have affected rankings in the last few months since February 24th.
Ever since they updated their system with the new algorithm Google has attempted to answer some of the (occasionally angry) questions about the new site requirements and has come up with questions such as ‘would you accept medical advice for this site?’ or ‘would you feel comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?’ However, unsurprisingly, such Zen like answers were not enough for many site owners who feel they have unfairly slipped down the rankings and consequently Google have expanded their list of questions that a site should ask itself about its content, to the following:
Does the information in the article in front of you seem trustworthy?
Has the article been written by an expert in the subject matter or at the very least an enthusiast who knows what they are talking about, or is the information a little light on the ground?
Is the site itself made up of 100% original content or does it contain redundant, overlapping and duplicate content?
Would you be happy giving the site your credit card details?
Are there factual, stylistic or spelling errors?
Does the site’s content seem to be inspired and written by genuine readers of the site or does the site appear to generate content that is driven by search engine rankings?
Does the page in front of you offer substantial value and interest when placed in comparison with other pages that come up in the search results?
How much time have they spent on quality control?
Does the article present both sides of the argument?
Is the site an authority on the subject matter it deals with?
Has the content been outsourced or mass-produced so that it appears not much care and attention has gone into the selection of the articles?
Would you trust the site for a health related question?
Would you classify the site as an authoritative source when you hear its name mentioned?
Is the site or the article you are reading the sort of thing you would consider bookmarking and / or sharing with a friend or recommending through social networking?
Does the site or article have too much advertising that distracts you from the content?
Would the article be good enough to fit into a magazine, a book or an encyclopedia?
Are the articles too short, insubstantial or generally lacking in useful and specific information?
Do the pages of the site seem to be produced with more care and attention or less care and attention than you would expect?
Would users be likely to complain about the articles and content that is offered up by this site?
As usual, the single most important lesson to learn from this latest post is that when it comes to search engine optimisation and advancing your site, quality wins out every time.
Alex is a journalist and copywriter. He likes to blog about cricket and jazz but these days seems to be mostly writing about search engine optimisation.