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Google Search Secrets

How to Avoid Google's Search Wrath

According to the BRW just before Mother's Day this year Interflora disappeared from the internet.

A Google search for "flowers" failed to turn up the company's website reports Beverley Head.

Many organizations have felt Google's wrath which it believes are trying to game its search system.

"Organizations which rely on search to deliver leads and online sales know that, to rank highly, they have to be smart about organic search (SEO), invest in pain search (SEM) and analyse Google blogs the way soothsayers once studied goat's entrails," said Beverley.

google search secrets Google introduced a change to its search algorithm called "Panda" back in February 2011, then "Penguin" in April 2012, and now the new "Hummingbird" in September 2013.

Its aim of all these changes to Google algorithms is to rid the top results in search of "low-quality" web sites.

CNET reported a surge in ranking of news web sites and social networking sites and a drop in rankings for sites containing large amounts of advertising.

Google's goal is to sift through every corner of the net and find the most important, relevant web sites.

This change was designed at decreasing ranking of web sites that violate Google's Web Master Guidelines by using "black SEO techniques" such as keyword stuffing, link schemes, and duplicate content. Google’s guidelines caution against using tricks to improve search engine results. The penalty for getting caught is, as they say, a pair of virtual concrete shoes: meaning that organization's web sites will sink to the virtual bottom of Google’s results.

While some companies were crippled when Google effectively threw them off the net for a perceived breach of policy, Beverley says "of course, Google doesn't own the internet and Interflora is still thriving and selling online."

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, says the overriding goal is to publish high quality content.

google search hummingbird "The sort of content that people really enjoy, that is compelling. The sort of thing they will love to read. That you might see in a magazine or a book. That people would refer back to or send friends to," said Matt. 

Google has created a ready-reckoner as to what counts as a high-quality web site.

It offers content publishers 23 questions to consider from "would you trust the information presented in this article?" to "would users complain when they see pages from this site?"

For the full list of questions / consideration click here.

Search Ready-Reckoner: Credibility

Google asks us to really consider credibility of the web page's content. Google asks us to consider seven questions about credibility, namely:

  • 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 article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Ask yourself - what connotes credibility to you? Stuff that resonates with you as credible and true is likely to also resonate with others. No matter what topic you are writing / publishing about in order to rank well with Google, you need to have credibility.

Search Ready-Reckoner: Is it Spam or Ham?

Google poses four questions of us to consider if the content we are publishing is, really, spam or authentic ham. These questions are:

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • 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?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Can you tell the difference between content created by bots from content created by authentic authors? Google thinks its algorithms can.

Do you know what real human authors do? They REVISE. Most real-deal content creators don't just throw up web pages onto the net and never refine them. Just like a good web site that is useful for real world users, I'm confident that Google wants you to revise and refine, and refresh your content.

Search Ready-Reckoner: Technical Prowess

You know what? Google rewards a web author who has taken care in their writing. Here are the questions that Google asks us to consider when we are creating content.

  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • 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?

Just consider one of these questions for a moment. When journalists are writing feature articles, a short feature article is usually around 500 words. Whereas a longer, quality feature article is often 1,500 or even 2,000 words. So it is likely that shorter, less substantial web pages are seen as less valuable to Google.

Search Ready-Reckoner: Thinking of Your Audience

When you start writing a brand new web page, brimming with potential content, ask yourself: am I writing this with the audience in mind? That's what Google wants to know. Google asks:

  • 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 describe both sides of a story?
  • 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?

Search Ready-Reckoner: Brand Your Audience

Some say that Google is the most well known brand in the world. No doubt it values "brand value". When giving web masters advice, Google asks us to consider:

  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

This might explain why authentic brand web sites, even if they don't answer the other questions well, still rank highly.

Search Ready-Reckoner: In Conclusion

In conclusion, the best web pages are authentic, and are good representations of their own brand. These web pages are written with care. They don't have spelling mistakes, nor obvious grammatical errors. And yes good feature articles, or good web content, gives the reader reliable sources, gives the audience interesting and new primary research / sources, content that they can really trust.