The idea was to reduce the power of content farms and increase the availability of quality content. While Google regularly updates its search algorithm, the program that determines what results populate when you search for something, the most recent update, deemed Farmer, has caused some major waves.
Spurred by user comments and feedback, Google revamped its search function to prevent sites with stale, canned content from being among the top contenders on its search engine results pages (SERPs). The idea was to reduce the power of content farms and increase the availability of quality content.
Determining low-quality content
The Google team determined which sites offer high versus low-quality in an amazingly simple way: they asked people. Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, Google engineers, told Wired magazine in a recent interview that by asking testers questions such as, “Would you be comfortable giving this site your credit card?” and “Do you consider this site to be authoritative?,” they were able to distill which types of websites people consider to have low quality content. These disreputable sites are pushed down on the SERP to make way for forums and specialty sites that offer high quality, trustworthy content.
Another side effect of the algorithm revamp is that sites that were gaming the system with shady article marketing or spinning, low-quality content that is submitted to article directories with high search rankings to increase their rankings, are going to find it more difficult to get through.
How to avoid looking like a low-quality website
The new search function is affecting nearly 12% of all searches. While there aren’t hard and fast rules to stick to in order to avoid being on the losing side of those 12%, it may be time to take a serious look at how people are viewing your website.
Sites with a large amount of advertisements that are grouped together tend to appear scammy and of lower-quality, even if the content is great. Speaking of great content, taking the time to ensure that any content posted to your site is up-to-date, rich, and insightful will do nothing but improve your rankings. Instead of the old methods of duplicating keywords over and over, use synonyms and varied sentence structure to make your point without dragging down the tone and quality. Finally, consider a UI-overhaul. Sites that appear modern and clean stand out in users’ minds and contribute to their overall sense of professionalism and quality.
If there are pages on your site that aren’t pulling their weight, either plan on substantial content changes or cut them out altogether and move on. They will muddy the waters and pull the rest of your site down into the murky SERP depths.
If you’re not sure if your site looks the best it can or if your content is up to scratch, give us a call. We can help you to understand Google’s new algorithm and how it applies to your unique situation and get you back to the rank you deserve.