Recently we posted about “Google getting tough on SPAM” with algorithm changes aimed at improved detection and penalising of websites with scraped or copied content – or simply little or no original quality content. In the last couple of days Google has officially announced on their blog the roll out of an algorithm change that, in their words, “noticeably impacts 11.8% of [our] queries”.
From the official Google post;
This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.
We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.
Whilst the algorithm change is at this stage being rolled out only in the US, Google’s plans to extend this to search results in other countries excites the heck out of us! E-Web are, and will continue to be, advocates of quality, original, and regular content addition to any website wishing to increase exposure and rankings. The addition of content adds value to your visitors and expands the scope of reasons one has to visit your site – which means more visitors, lower bounce rates, higher primary rankings, and rankings for a bunch of relevant long tail terms you may not have even realised your potential customers were seeking.
The debate between content, links, or the quality, ratio and correlation of the two can and will roll on forever. So to simplify we will focus on content adding value to your customers and potential customers. That can never be a bad thing.
What to expect when this change hits Australian search results? Personally I hope to see a shake-up of many heavily competed search term results pages. However as someone who still sees websites with invisible content and other stone-age black hat techniques continuing to reap the benefits of prominent rankings, I remain somewhat skeptical of just how much impact these algorithmic changes will have in an “automated across-the-board” fashion.
Google made over 450 algorithm changes in 2007, and surely many more in the last couple of years, yet search quality remains an issue. Matt Cutts recently posted a comparison of matching search results in 2000 and 2011 – things have definitely improved. Maintaining and improving search results quality will continue to be a perpetual cat and mouse game. At times it may be a case of bending the rules or losing out to more audacious competitors – however announcements like this offer positive signs for those who follow the rules diligently in the hopes of justice!
Where do you sit on this? Do you invest the time or resources needed to grow your website? Do you feel some of your competitors will or should suffer under this change?