If you own a website that relies largely on organic search, you may want to know that frequent modifications to search engine algorithms might be affecting its ranking on SERPs and flow of traffic to it. The bone of contention now is to find out whether the effect is positive or negative. In the early part of this year, Google updated its ranking algorithms that affected how Internet users search for links, as well as the links that are displayed for them on search results pages. Here we’re going to discuss these updates and how they relate to your SEO efforts.
Google announced sometime last January that it was about to modify its ranking algorithm that would affect the type and quality of content displayed to Internet searchers. It called the new ranking factor “Farmer” and it is designed to target websites that rank well on Google’s search results, but in reality have very low quality content. These are content farms that pump out numerous articles, tutorials and other guides on routine basis, but in reality the write-ups lack substance. What these sites do is simply rehash other people’s already published content. In most cases they just generate truncated spinning of other people’s articles.
As if the “Farmer” algorithm wasn’t enough, Google introduced yet another one last month – April 2011 called “Panda” to lend more weight to the former. The results of these ranking algorithm updates have had devastating effects on numerous known content farms and other websites whose owners have unknowingly created poor quality content. For this reason, it is important to review your site’s content, to see how satisfactory your visitors are with it. Does it engage users or is it boring? Do visitors feel they’ve found what they’re looking for after visiting your site via search engines? Or are they outright disappointed?
After the last update, Amit Singhal, the head of Google’s core ranking team, made a blog post that talked about the modifications and how they’re revolutionizing the quality of web pages that are displayed on Google’s SERPs. But in line with the company’s non-specific disclosure policy, he stopped short of giving in-depth technical details. However, he gave some insight in form of the following questions to indicate what the algorithms monitor:
- Do you have trust in the correctness of the information found on your site?
- If you were a purchaser, could you furnish the site of this quality with your financial information, including credit card details?
- Is the content on your site written by someone knowledgeable in the field or topic?
- What about the grammatical correctness of your content or are they full of grammatical errors?
- Do you reword the content on a web page and post it on a different page, or do you create multiple web pages for one item using different keywords?
- Is the help or tutorial on your site comprehensive or not?