A few months back, Google’s major algorithm update created an uproar as many sites suddenly found themselves significantly demoted in Google’s results pages.
The websites affected were not just small unknown sites but huge sites we’re quite familiarr with, since they once dominated Google’s SERPs for a lot of popular search terms.
The “fall” of websites such as ezinearticles.com and the like from Google’s graces signalled that the big G is indeed serious about prioritizing content quality when it comes to ranking. A fact that they have always maintained to be true, but has, until recently, also always been quite questionable with the significant number of “article sites/content farms” that obviously have very shallow content ranking really well in their results pages. Because of the demotion of these sites though, it is now obvious to everyone that has been trying to game Google’s algorithm that it is time to take the importance of high quality content to heart.
As SEOs does this mean though that you should stop paying attention to the other factors that we all once figured to be part of Google’s ranking algorithm? Of course not! However, what this means is that it is high time you really pound it into your client’s head that you can only do so much for their site, unless they provide quality content for their visitors. According to Google’s Amit Singhal, instead of focusing on trying to find out the ranking factors that they use, what you should do is ask yourself key questions that will ensure that Google will see your site’s content as being of high quality. Some of the questions he suggested asking include:
• 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?
• 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?
As you can see, the questions will push you to consider the trustworthiness, authority, professionalism, originality, and fairness, not just of the entire site but also each article on each page. This pushes us as SEOs to really look beyond the immediate goal of ranking well in results pages to the ulitmate goal of providing useful, informative, and trustworthy sites to your users.