Quarterly SEO Update & Advice Q1 - 2011

Google updated its search algorithm to help reduce web content ‘spam’ in its search results.

What has changed in Google

Google made a number of changes to document classification and page indexation processes. Main objective: To detect spam- and duplicate content and to make it harder for poor on-page content to rank highly.

  • Google redesigned their document-level classifier, which can now better analyses individual web pages. This will enable Google to detect duplicate content across your website and also detect ‘template’ copy pages, where your text copy is the same for each page with only minor keyword changes.
  • The changes primarily affect sites that copy other website’s content and sites with low levels of original content.

Our Advice

The Google changes will mainly affect content farms, sites that syndicate content and sites, which use the same copy template for each page with only minor keyword variations. I believe the changes will also affect sites with generally low levels of content and sites, which have pages using the same intro and exit paragraphs.  I have not seen any adverse changes to rankings across my client base, but I noticed some small drops for site with low levels of content.

We recommend the following:

  • Don’t copy other website’s content.
  • Only publish unique and highly relevant copy on your website and blog.
  • Avoid automatic aggregation of third party content.
  • Don’t copy news and other third party material (blogs, news, tweets etc) – rewrite:
    • Comment on news stories rather than publish an exact copy.
    • Don’t link to the original content.
  • Don’t use the same copy template to publish different content pages.
    • Just changing a few keywords won’t be enough to make your pages unique.

As you all know, we have always taken the line that good SEO starts with highly relevant, unique and well structured website content. None of the above should affect your site, but please keep the changes in mind when creating new content pages.

You can follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/netleadz. I will tweet SEO, online marketing, web-based lead generation, online reputation management and other relevant topics.

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