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Google announces new focus on quality in search results

How to fix a google penaltyGoogle wants it’s users to receive the highest quality search results possible. As anyone who uses Google knows, this is often not the case. Just today, I was looking for a website to compare car insurance costs and I kept coming up with websites full of insurance jargon/jibberish designed to make money from people clicking on Google AdSense advertising. The website itself was useless to me.

How will Google do this?

Just today, Google announced that it has updated it’s algorithm (the super-secret formula that ranks search results) to improve the quality of the results. Some of this will be new and some will be a greater emphasis on aspects of a website that were previously not so important.

Google says: “… it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis…”

Thoughtful Analysis

Sounds a little hard to define what “thoughful analysis” is but when you think about it… An obvious way to do this would be to take a website already recognised for it’s importance (like Oxford University’s website) and give “brownie points” to websites that Oxford’s site links to. In theory, if Oxford considered it worth linking to, it should be “thoughtful”! Of course, Google already do this but it sounds like the algorithm has been refined to improve the results.

Original Content

Original content is probably the single biggest factor in improving the results pages. Content scraping (stealing content from other websites) has become so prevalent that some articles appear on dozens of different websites. If you have detailed, well written information on your website that is relevant, specific and useful, then you shouldn’t have a problem. Content is now “King”.

Have you been a bad website?

Google’s own browser, Chrome, has a new extension that allows the user to add websites to a blocklist. Google say that the list of blocked websites was a consideration in making the changes to the algorithm. As Chrome becomes more popular, I can only see this becoming a more important factor in ranking. Google says that 84% of the top “several dozen or so” blocked websites are affected by the algorithm change.

Will it affect your website?

It’s very likely it will but not yet if you’re outside the USA. It’s being trialled in the US and will be rolled out gradually to the rest of the world. You can prepare for this by ensuring that your content is original, high quality and that people linking to you are “nice”. Rubbish links produce rubbish results!

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