On May 6, 2011 Google’s Amit Singhal published and article that offers insight regarding what Google’s new algorithms look for in determining if a web site contains high quality content.
The article is entitled, More guidance on building high-quality sites. The article details 23 specific questions that you should ask about your site’s content. He also mentions that there are about 500 ranking algorithm changes that Google plans to make over the course of 2011. The Panda-Farmer algorithm ranking update and other changes made thus far this year may represent only a small number of these changes.
Google’s new focus will be on helping users to find high-quality sites by reducing the rankings for low-quality sites. After reviewing the list of 23 questions posed in the article, you may feel the same as I do that it will be next to impossible to make these determinations using the computer algorithms known as spiders. However, the questions do make it clear that Google is trying to take their ranking algorithms to the next level. It may soon be a brave new world for Google search results.
I don’t see any way that a Google algorithm can determine if the information in an article is trustworthy, or if it is professionally written by an expert in their field, or if users would complain about the shallowness of an article, or if it tells both sides of a story. Some questions do emphasis the issues that I have stressed for many years, such as the importance of the quality, value and uniqueness of the content. The quality and value of the content are are fairly easy to determine based upon the number of web pages that link to an article. If you write a good article or provide content that is interesting or solves a problem, other sites that cover similar topics will very likely link to the page. Likewise, the issue of duplicate content and the need to avoid using content from other sites is pointed out.
Overall, the recent Google Farmer/Panda Update has eliminated a lot of the sites with trashy, low-quality, mass-produced content from the search results. But in the course of doing that, there was a considerable amount of collateral damage done to the rankings of other sites. This is a common occurrence with major ranking algorithm changes. Google has since made several corrections that restored the former rank positions for some sites.
So what can you do if your site tanked in Google’s search results at the end of February? Start by improving the quality of your content. Make sure that the content that you write addresses issues that people are searching for. If you have content on your site that also appears on other sites, either remove it or rewrite the content. It has never been a good idea to borrow content from other web sites, even if you have the permission of the site owner. Remember that Google’s GoogleBot spider is looking for unique, informational content that satisfies a user’s search.
E-commerce sites need to make sure that they are not using content from a manufacturer’s or product distributor’s web site. Take the time to write unique descriptions for each of the products or services that you offer. Always try to write at least 250 to 500 words. Focus on the needs of your site visitors, but keep the search engines in mind while doing so.
Keep your web site focused on an overall theme. If your business focuses on home remodeling, don’t include articles about fishing or other off-topic themes. The more pages that a site has that are focused on a specific theme, the stronger the site’s theme for that topic will become. This can give the site a large advantage with Google search results.