Google Releases New “Web Spam” Algorithm Update

Google has recently released their long-awaited web spam (previously referred to as the over optimization) algorithm update. While there were hints of what was to come in the latest update, we now know the update affects approximately 3.1% of English search queries – and targets those sites that have keyword stuffing and unusual linking patterns. The new update is another move on Google’s part to clean up the SERPs and remove sites from the search results that utilize web spam tactics.

Moving forward, we can probably see more and more updates targeting “spam” sites. So what are the important elements to consider when optimizing your website? Google’s Amit Singha pointed out 23 questions one should ask when determining the quality of a page.

The questions are:

  1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  5. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  6. 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?
  7. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  8. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  9. How much quality control is done on content?
  10. Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  11. Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  12. 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?
  13. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  14. For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  15. Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  16. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  17. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  18. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  19. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  20. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  21. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  22. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

In summary, make your site relevant to your industry. Supply timely, compelling content to your site and be the authoritative source of information on a given topic in your industry. And, if your site has “shallow” content, now is the time to review and replace that content with something more useful and compelling.

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