Google’s information retrieval specialist Amit Singhal just wrote a piece on the Google Webmaster blog giving more insights into what a post Panda world will look like.
Indeed, months after the Panda update (Google’s largest update to their algorithm in recent memory), SEO’s are still scrambling to pinpoint what exactly has changed, and what strategy and tactics to use to remedy penalized sites.
The point is, the update didn’t target one specific item, but instead, addresses a range of factors made possible by Google Caffeine and their index infrastructure.
We don’t know the exact factors the algorithm update focused on, because Google “doesn’t want folks to game our search results.”
Below is a list of questions from Amit’s post that provides insight into what Google is looking for in terms of quality content. Some of these are qualitative and quantitative, but “if you want to step into Google’s mindset, the questions below provide some guidance on how we’ve been looking at the issue”.
• 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?
• Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
• 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?
• Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
• For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
• Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
• Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
• Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
• Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
• Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
• Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
• Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
• Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
• Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
In a post Panda world, remember that fixing your strategy won’t immediately get you results, as you will have to wait for an algorithm refresh, meaning Google will have to re-evaluate your sites ranking score.
If you’re struggling with your SEO, look closely at these questions and re-evaluate your content and marketing strategies. Better yet, speak to us today to see what we can do for you.