Google likes to keep us website owners on our toes, but while the end goal is ostensibly to perfect its search algorithm, one man has called Google’s methods a “totalitarian culture of misinformation.” Why? Well, when so many site owners are at the mercy of Google’s algorithm, the morality of obscuring the details of that algorithm is in question.
Josh Bachynski wrote a recent article called “The Complete Google Leaked PANDA Do and Don’t LIST—2011 to Present,” challenging Google’s tradition of secrecy by offering a well-researched list of tips for creating “high quality” versus “low quality” web pages.
Qualities of High Quality Sites
High quality websites have certain traits that Google looks for when giving them precedence over other web pages. Bachynski draws from multiple Google sources for clues on what makes a high quality website high quality, and compiled those clues in a list to help out web owners who simply want to follow the rules and improve their rankings.
High quality sites share these factors and as a result, end up on Google’s “good” list for sites that get ranked.
- A functioning shopping cart. A broken or poorly functioning cart is not going to appeal to Google’s algorithm. Consider that in its pursuit of the most accurate and helpful search results, Google won’t want to direct traffickers to your broken cart.
- Copyright is up-to-date on every page.
- Make a positive name for yourself on public online forums and blogs, like the BBB, Amazon, Yelp, and others. This is going to take some attention and effort on your part, but it wouldn’t hurt to put it on your radar now so you can start gathering positive reviews and feedback.
- An About Us page, mission statement, employee pages or other indications that your website does in fact represent a legitimate business.
- Complete contact and support information, such as phone numbers, physical addresses, and email addresses. Again, these details legitimize your business and website.
Qualities of Low Quality Sites
The last thing Google wants to do is to direct traffickers to poor quality sites with little or dubious value. But how does Google define what “dubious value” actually means? Well, if a site has any of these qualities, it’s considered a strong indicator that it’s not worth Google’s time or consideration:
- Duplicate content! Google isn’t going to favor a site that’s copying and pasting its content from elsewhere, or even within its own site.
- Keyword-stuffed content. Google hates pandering, unnatural content. Don’t do it!
- Content that has nothing to do with the purpose of your site or blog.
- Outdated info.
- Fake, spam-centered comments and posts.
- Lots of 404 errors.
- Slow loading speeds/lagging web pages.
- Non-functioning links and images.
- Spun text or poor grammar.
Following these guidelines will certainly give you an edge in the “appeasing Google” guessing game.
How have Google’s algorithm changes affected your SEO strategy?
Bachynski, Josh. “The Complete Google Leaked PANDA Do and Don’t LIST—2011 to Present.” http://themoralconcept.net/pandalist.html. (August 29, 2014.)