Google’s Amit Singhal published a blog post that addresses the concerns of sites affected by Google’s recent Panda update. The purpose of the post is to provide sites impacted by Google’s algorithmic changes with insights into what Google values in online content. Naturally, Singhal doesn’t divulge Google’s actual ranking signals, but he does provide marketers with a set of questions to help them better understand why some sites were affected by the changes. The consistent message throughout Singhal’s questions is that marketers should focus on providing their users with the “best possible experience.”
Here are the questions Singhal suggests marketers should ask themselves to test the quality of their site and content:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- How much quality control is done on content?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health-related query, would you trust the information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
Singhal’s post offers a number of recommendations, most of which would be considered best practices for any content marketer. Google’s recent actions have heightened their importance. How has Google’s Panda Update impacted the way you create content for your site?