Google rocked the SEO boat again this month with the release of their new Disavow Tool. The tool basically enables webmasters and bloggers to exclude low-quality backlinks from Google’s analysis of sites.
This update comes on the heels of Google’s recent Penguin update (April 24, 2012), which set out to lower rankings of sites that used “black hat” SEO tactics, such as link schemes, cloaking, keyword stuffing, and deliberately producing duplicate content. Many site owners were affected and cried out to Google in protest, so the Disavow Tool allows them to ask Google to ignore certain “spammy” in-bound link.
The other fairly recent major algorithm change, Google’s Panda update (February 2011), focused on reducing low-quality sites from search results. These drastic updates have left many website owners wondering, “What does Google want from me?”
The short answer: High quality websites.
The long answer was placed on Google’s webmaster blog with their post, More guidance on building high-quality sites.
Google’s ultimate goal is to produce the results searchers are looking for, and because many (not all) online marketers are attempting to take short cuts by quickly building low-quality, advertising-filled junk sites, Google brought out the broom and cleaned house.
Should you be concerned about all this Google update stuff?
Yes and no. Yes, because you need to be aware of what goes on in Google-land, but no if you’re already striving to build a high-quality site with great content that provides solutions to your audience. Does this mean you can’t attempt to monetize your sites?
Certainly not! The point is, Google wants to help searchers find answers – real, quality answers. And those sites that provide quality content will be rewarded by higher rankings in the search engine results.
What should you do to make your site high quality in the eyes of Google?
Here are some questions I summarized from the famous Google 23-points for creating high quality sites for you to ask yourself about your own website:
- Is your site trustworthy?
- Are your site articles written by someone who knows the topic or is it shallow?
- Does your site have similar (duplicate) articles that vary only by emphasizing different keywords?
- Does your site offer a secure means of processing payments?
- Is your site correct? (spelling, grammar and facts)
- Is your site content written for the purpose of helping readers or in hopes of ranking in the search engines?
- Are your articles original?
- Does your page provide value?
- Is your site an authority on its topic?
- Is your content mass-produced over a network of sites?
- Are your articles edited?
- If your site shares health-related content, can that information you provide be trusted?
- Is your site recognized as an authority for its topic?
- Are your site articles comprehensive in nature?
- Are your articles interesting and insightful?
- Is your site something others would share or recommend with friends?
- Is your site littered with excess ads to the point they distract from the content?
- Is the content on your site comparable to the quality of an article you’d find in print?
- Are your articles short and/or unsubstantial?
- Is your site designed well with attention to detail?
- Would a user complain to Google if they landed on your site?
Another trend in Google’s search results is the impact of social authority. During the coming weeks, we’ll go through the 23-point list Google provided and offer tips on how we can use this “from the horse’s mouth” advice to ensure our sites are high quality.