How Panda sniffs out low quality sites

43 replies
Interesting take on how google is targeting content farms, and they look to be getting better at it.


Search Engines Are Winning the War on Content Farms [STUDY] - Search Engine Watch (#SEW)
#low #panda #quality #sites #sniffs
  • Profile picture of the author wAvision
    thanks for the share
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    They Say You Can't...Show Them How
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  • Profile picture of the author Ray Wilson
    It's a matter of time when Google will only place the best content on the top results. It won't take many years.

    Their mindset and business psychology is pretty much clear. And it means that we will need to constantly crank out our best content or SEO will be a nightmare.

    -Ray
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Ray Wilson View Post

      It's a matter of time when Google will only place the best content on the top results. It won't take many years.
      This.

      The way things seem to be moving just at the moment, it may not even take "a couple of years"?

      Originally Posted by Ray Wilson View Post

      Their mindset and business psychology is pretty much clear.
      This.

      And just in case people imagine it isn't, and that there's some kind of guessing-game involved, they keep clarifying it pretty expressly on their various sites, blogs, videos and so on.

      The guessing-game is about the exact algorithm-details, as always. Not about the general direction and policy - that's openly, repeatedly and consistently stated.

      Originally Posted by Ray Wilson View Post

      And it means that we will need to constantly crank out our best content or SEO will be a nightmare.
      This.

      Over the last year or so, people have increasingly been finding this. And Google promises that the future will be "more of the same".

      However much those promoting "cheap backlinking services" would like to pretend otherwise, there's no great mystery about these things.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Problem is, when Google starts deleting/penalizing smaller sites to be replaced with bigger (and supposedly better) sites. Many times there are bigger sites with bad information. And bigger brands have $$$$ to invest in writing teams, killing all the smaller ones.

    Food for thought.
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    • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
        In this case google seems to be targeting the bigger sites like, Demand Media one. They don't like mass produced standardised sites. The lesson might be to keep site individualized, unique and quirky.

        From the article:

        In that example, sites with generic lists of tips were present in the March test, but had disappeared from the top 10 by the August test,
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    • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Problem is, when Google starts deleting/penalizing smaller sites to be replaced with bigger (and supposedly better) sites.
      Funny that, if the performance of my smaller sites is any indication, just the opposite is happening. Google is rewarding good relevant content regardless of the size of the site. I've had nothing but increased traffic during the last few google updates.


      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Many times there are bigger sites with bad information. And bigger brands have $$$$ to invest in writing teams, killing all the smaller ones.
      So you're suggesting that bigger sites are investing lots of money to produce bad content? Looks like I've got nothing to worry about.
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      • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
        Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

        Funny that, if the performance of my smaller sites is any indication, just the opposite is happening. Google is rewarding good relevant content regardless of the size of the site. I've had nothing but increased traffic during the last few google updates.
        Me too. But I just deleted analytics/webmasters tools. Ironic huh?

        So you're suggesting that bigger sites are investing lots of money to produce bad content?
        Yes I am. Authority site + reasonable content = more annual profits.

        Looks like I've got nothing to worry about.
        Good for you.
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        People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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    • Profile picture of the author enterscope
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Problem is, when Google starts deleting/penalizing smaller sites to be replaced with bigger (and supposedly better) sites. Many times there are bigger sites with bad information. And bigger brands have $$$$ to invest in writing teams, killing all the smaller ones.

      Food for thought.
      True, but that's all part of living in a capitalist society.
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    • Profile picture of the author sonicadam123
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Problem is, when Google starts deleting/penalizing smaller sites to be replaced with bigger (and supposedly better) sites. Many times there are bigger sites with bad information. And bigger brands have $$$$ to invest in writing teams, killing all the smaller ones.

      Food for thought.
      That's an interesting take on the situation, I'm not sure if it will playout like this but I completely see how it's a possibility.

      It's just like how supermarkets have destroyed small local businesses.

      Whether Google allow this to happen remains to be seen, so only time will tell... but I hope it doesn't.
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    • Profile picture of the author home maker lady
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Problem is, when Google starts deleting/penalizing smaller sites to be replaced with bigger (and supposedly better) sites. Many times there are bigger sites with bad information. And bigger brands have $$$$ to invest in writing teams, killing all the smaller ones.

      Food for thought.
      agree 100%
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  • Profile picture of the author itmasterservices
    Interesting perspective...It will be interesting to see how google moves forward with site rankings.
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  • Profile picture of the author simranjeet singh
    Nice share,
    its really bad to cut smaller sites to replace bigger sites. Sometimes small sites have better stuff than bigger sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    In a few years Google will be like MySpace. (I hope)
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  • Profile picture of the author sandarr
    Interesting article, as a writer and website owner, I can understand why many sites are feeling the brunt of the updates. I have been a writer for many years, and I have watched the online writers market go from gigs that paid enough to pay your bills, to many forums posting for writers to write 500 words for $1.00. There is no way this is going to be quality content that is error free or informative.


    On the website part of it, having real quality content, and not filled with advertising that blows your eyesight, I think will find some benefits, like more traffic. I could be wrong, since I am a little tech challenged, but I have seen increased traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    I still think applying the same criteria, in terms of "ranking sites inline with high quality content" to all site owners is needs a rethink.

    How can site owners that sell nuts and bolts, toilets, plumbing supplies and harmonic balancers, write "high quality content".

    These people have businesses to run. The majority of their inventory is in spreadsheets and downloadable PDF's.

    Google seems to have this skewed perception that its a perfect world, where site owners sit around all day sipping caramel lattes, whilst watching Oprah and writing articles.
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    • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
      Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post


      How can site owners that sell nuts and bolts, toilets, plumbing supplies and harmonic balancers, write "high quality content".

      It's not all about writing high quality content. Writing is just part of what makes for good user experience. Think of usability and navigation, and how related material is presented along with the content. Content is still king, but content is more than the writing.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
        Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

        It's not all about writing high quality content. Writing is just part of what makes for good user experience. Think of usability and navigation, and how related material is presented along with the content. Content is still king, but content is more than the writing.
        Of course a good user experience is essential, as is a 100 other things.

        Whats interesting is the "level playing field" that Google are now talking about where regular "mum and dad" type sites can supposedly compete with big businesses and firms with large marketing budgets.

        Not sure if you've heard about this or not.

        What does this mean though?

        That Google is going to start rewarding small sites with crappy onsite optimisation?

        I really hope not, but heres the problem.

        A LOT of these "uncle and aunty" type sites are built with a lot of heart. The users put everything into their content. Many of them arent out to make money, they just get a kick out of "having a website" and being able to upload photos and write about baking brownies.

        A lot of these people know nothing about SEO, SEM or usability.

        Whereas us lot, know how to manipulate the search engines through backlinking and other means.

        So ....

        I revisit my original question.

        What does "a level playing field" really mean?

        If you really stop and think about it, it seems Google is going in circles and theyve demonstrated that over the past few years.

        1. Put your ads above the fold for best effectiveness
        1b. Wait, dont do that, otherwise we'll penalise you.

        2. Optimise your websites so that you can be found in the SERPS.
        2b. Wait, that doesnt really matter too much anymore.

        Theres probably a boat load more examples, but I think you know what I mean.

        Continually shifting the goal posts simply because "everyone has figured it out" seems a failed approach.

        Hopefully some of this made sense (its 3am here)
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        • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
          Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

          Of course a good user experience is essential, as is a 100 other things.

          Whats interesting is the "level playing field" that Google are now talking about where regular "mum and dad" type sites can supposedly compete with big businesses and firms with large marketing budgets.

          Not sure if you've heard about this or not...
          That's interesting, can't say I've seen much about that from G. I agree with your earlier comments that there are tons of business categories and niches that don;t lend themselves to what G calls 'rich content'.

          Few people have any interest in blogging about and viewing 6-part videos about insulation fasteners..
          _____
          Bruce
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        • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
          Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post


          Whats interesting is the "level playing field" that Google are now talking about where regular "mum and dad" type sites can supposedly compete with big businesses and firms with large marketing budgets.

          Not sure if you've heard about this or not.

          What does this mean though?

          That Google is going to start rewarding small sites with crappy onsite optimisation?

          I really hope not, but heres the problem.

          A LOT of these "uncle and aunty" type sites are built with a lot of heart. The users put everything into their content. Many of them arent out to make money, they just get a kick out of "having a website" and being able to upload photos and write about baking brownies.

          A lot of these people know nothing about SEO, SEM or usability.

          Whereas us lot, know how to manipulate the search engines through backlinking and other means.

          So ....

          I revisit my original question.

          What does "a level playing field" really mean?
          Hi John.

          I think Matt Cutts explained pretty well what this level playing field is all about (emphasis added is my own):

          “And the idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over-optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”

          It seems to me that Google is going to rely less on inbound links to determine ranking, and that's a good thing in my opinion. I think Google is moving beyond the pagerank principle which was a good idea for an academic context for which it was designed, but is ill suited for the commercial internet where there is much more motivation to exploit it.

          I think Google's algo's are evolving such that they are better able to recognize good relevant content and dependence on less reliable indications of good content (like backlinks and keyword density) are being phased out.

          Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

          If you really stop and think about it, it seems Google is going in circles and theyve demonstrated that over the past few years.
          More like refining things if you think about it.

          Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

          1. Put your ads above the fold for best effectiveness
          1b. Wait, dont do that, otherwise we'll penalise you.
          I don't have a quote, but I don't recall Google saying they would penalize ads above the fold. They seemed to say that you shouldn't excessively place ads above the fold so that users have to scroll down before they see any of the main content. Google is not going in circles here, but just simply refining things a bit as some people are inclined to put 600 vertical pixels worth of ads before any content.

          Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

          2. Optimise your websites so that you can be found in the SERPS.
          2b. Wait, that doesnt really matter too much anymore.
          Search engine optimization was needed much more in the past than it is now because search engines weren't as good at finding the meaning of content. In other words, the only reason that SEO was ever needed was because search engines weren't good enough to do their intended job and needed help from webmasters to help the search engines out in determining the meaning of pages.

          Recently, Google has grown to understand the meaning of pages better, therefore website optimization is not needed as much to tell Google what a site or page is about.

          There's no going in circles here either. SEO is still needed, just not as much, and does not need to be done in the same way.

          Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

          Theres probably a boat load more examples, but I think you know what I mean.

          Continually shifting the goal posts simply because "everyone has figured it out" seems a failed approach.
          Yeah, I know what you mean in that I see a lot of changes happening with Google, but if anything I think the way that Google has evolved makes things better for webmasters and for users, not worse.

          As a webmaster, wouldn't you like to rank based solely on the quality of your content, ignoring things like how many back-links you have? I'm not saying Google is that sophisticated yet, but it's moving in that direction.

          And as a surfer, don't you want SERPS that are influenced more by quality of the content than by the extent of a site owner's SEO efforts? I sure do.
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

            I still think applying the same criteria, in terms of "ranking sites inline with high quality content" to all site owners is needs a rethink.

            How can site owners that sell nuts and bolts, toilets, plumbing supplies and harmonic balancers, write "high quality content".

            These people have businesses to run. The majority of their inventory is in spreadsheets and downloadable PDF's.

            Google seems to have this skewed perception that its a perfect world, where site owners sit around all day sipping caramel lattes, whilst watching Oprah and writing articles.
            Spreadsheets and downloadable PDFs are content. If I'm searching for brass or stainless steel screws for my boat building project, and I can download a catalog of brass screws, one of stainless steel screws and a PDF about how to properly torque them for joining various materials, I'd call that "high quality content."

            Remember, it's about user experience. A user searching for specialized hardware will likely consider a site that wastes their time with a bunch of superficial articles as a poor experience. On the other hand, someone looking for information on how to build a boat might find a site loaded with relevant articles, graphics, videos, etc. to be a good experience.

            The intent, according to what I've been reading, is to make the algo smarter. And they're using human reactions and evaluations to help guide that evolution.

            Originally Posted by Palusko View Post

            Totally agree. I think the keyword here should be "relevancy", rather than "high quality".
            Even "relevancy" isn't enough on it's own. If it were, we'd still be putting "celebrity nude photos" 500 times in a tiny font that matched our background at the bottom of every page.

            There are two things that must be evaluated properly to generate good search results - the intent of the search and the degree to which the results satisfy that intent. Hence my answer to John above...
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            • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
              Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

              Spreadsheets and downloadable PDFs are content.
              John, I was referring to the old school business owners that have spreadsheets stored on floppy disc drives - not on their websites.

              Yes, theyre still out there!
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              • Profile picture of the author PattC
                I worked for one of the more well-known content farms, and when Google started cracking down, the content farm had massive layoffs. It was my best job, and it's been hard to replace it.
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          • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
            Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

            As a webmaster, wouldn't you like to rank based solely on the quality of your content, ignoring things like how many back-links you have?
            Absolutely.

            But thats not happening.

            As it stands, a crappy 400 word article with a ****load of useless backlinks will still outperform a high quality, factual and engaging 1,800 word article packed with a range of diverse media, every time.

            Until Google fixes that, people will continue to take the easy way out.

            PS - I should note, that I agree with you, Im just sayin'
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    • Profile picture of the author Palusko
      Totally agree. I think the keyword here should be "relevancy", rather than "high quality".

      Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

      I still think applying the same criteria, in terms of "ranking sites inline with high quality content" to all site owners is needs a rethink.

      How can site owners that sell nuts and bolts, toilets, plumbing supplies and harmonic balancers, write "high quality content".

      These people have businesses to run. The majority of their inventory is in spreadsheets and downloadable PDF's.

      Google seems to have this skewed perception that its a perfect world, where site owners sit around all day sipping caramel lattes, whilst watching Oprah and writing articles.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      Exactly! Google seems to come across like the whole business world especially small business revolves around them. Not true!

      Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

      I still think applying the same criteria, in terms of "ranking sites inline with high quality content" to all site owners is needs a rethink.

      How can site owners that sell nuts and bolts, toilets, plumbing supplies and harmonic balancers, write "high quality content".

      These people have businesses to run. The majority of their inventory is in spreadsheets and downloadable PDF's.

      Google seems to have this skewed perception that its a perfect world, where site owners sit around all day sipping caramel lattes, whilst watching Oprah and writing articles.
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  • Profile picture of the author OhioWriter
    I think people are finally starting to realize that they can't get by with cheap writers any longer. Why play that game and pray it doesn't drop in rank? The only long term solution seems to be having quality from beginning to end on your website.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeTucker
    As a consumer (someone who searches for things)
    I have to agree with Johnnie on this one...
    Some of the worst search experiences I have had
    since 1999 have come from Google in the last
    several months, to the point where I have stopped
    using their search completely... There is no reason
    for me to search for an exact phrase in quotations
    and not find what I am looking for until the fourth
    page, that is just terrible.

    Of course, my crack-pot conspiracy theory is that
    they are doing this to try to force people to click
    on the AdWords to find what they are looking for...

    Either way, I'm still finding cheap PLR in the first
    several rankings and it only seems to be getting
    worse, from my very limited perspective as a
    single annoyed person without access to tons
    of data.

    I live in Houston, a city of 4 million people plus
    suburbs, and Mom & Pop shops will never have
    a chance as things stand.

    Eventually, the Geniuses are going to have to
    come to terms with the fact that Yahoo! was
    partially right in the beginning...
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by MikeTucker View Post

      Eventually, the Geniuses are going to have to come to terms with the fact that Yahoo! was partially right in the beginning...
      Mike, what was Yahoo doing?
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeTucker
        Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

        Mike, what was Yahoo doing?
        When Yahoo! first created their directory, most of the listings were guided by what people said-- Not what algorithms read. Computers just can't speak perfect Human yet, and until they do, it is going to take real people to tell them how to organize things. Not everything can be automated and still be done well.
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  • Profile picture of the author NoviIM
    Great Share.. it is pretty much over for those "micro sites" with 5 articles sold all over this forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    IMHO Google wants "destination" sites. Not the generic content site that people quickly leave to search for better information. Not the affiliate site where the merchant is the destination. Not filler being used to support ads.

    For some searches the "brand" is going to end up being Google's choice because that is what the generic content, affiliate, and filler sites refer to. Brand sites do not refer to generic, affiliate, and filler sites!

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author The A
      Are you saying that world of affiliation will soon be dead due to this google update? I doubt it bro. The "brand" site will never succedd without affiliate site. Moreover, there are some affiliate sites out there that provide real value to visitors, not just screaming "buy this product from this link, I'll get you a hell lotta bonuses" thing. I think affiliate sites will still survive for years to come if they dedicate enough effort to decently serve their visitors.
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      IMHO Google wants "destination" sites. Not the generic content site that people quickly leave to search for better information. Not the affiliate site where the merchant is the destination. Not filler being used to support ads.

      For some searches the "brand" is going to end up being Google's choice because that is what the generic content, affiliate, and filler sites refer to. Brand sites do not refer to generic, affiliate, and filler sites!

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author medxpower
    This is not true google give equal chance to all the online user. You need to be honest with your information on the internet then only you can get the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author rooze
    The Google algo is becoming more influenced by social profiling data - it's basically being tuned. As the social profiling data becomes more abundant and reliable, the algo will depend on it more. And it's potentially a great system for determining quality.

    If you think about it, a new site appears and gets well placed in the SERP's for a short period. The good placement is so that google can 'measure' the user experience at that website.
    It shoves a 1000 targeted searchers through the site and measures -
    - how long they spend on a page
    - how they interact with the site
    (you know, all the Google analytics stuff)

    It then compares the results with those from other relevant sites and determines 'quality'. It doesn't need to understand grammar or even spelling, it just needs to measure how long people spend on the page and what they do next.

    So your little 'Google dance' or 'sandbox' is just google shoving enough people through your site to measure your performance and create a quality score.

    It no longer needs to depend on all the old yardsticks for measuring quality like PR/Backlinks. It measures how users interact with your site and that's all it needs.

    As it collects more info through GA, G+, Chrome, Cookies etc, it can tune its algo and provide "better" search results.

    "Quality" isn't about writing a cute article, it's about the whole experience at your site as encountered by your visitors and watched over by Google.

    Hmmmm.....
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    • Profile picture of the author cbernst1
      I came across PeelSearch yesterday, has anyone used that? A search engine powered by google that cuts out all the crappy affiliate sites through content regulation. It hasn't been bad so far.
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      • Profile picture of the author discrat
        My Biggest Site is a make money from home site focused mainly around Surveys. Yes, I do have about 6 banners for 6 survey sites on the side that made me money from CPA. And they are all Surveys sites I made money with from over a period of a year.

        Over 95% of my material is original and helpful to the end user to make money from home.

        And on top this I am celebrating my 4th anniversary this month with this Blog.

        But I got the Google slap October 14th and the Earnings have plummeted, and never recovered.

        But I am not going to biatch and moan because you gotta adapt to change. I think Google's decision on awarding great content and weening out the overly SEO sites out of the rankings is nothing but a good thing.

        I have always believed that content wins in the long run. And with my other Blogs and for this one I will continue to stress this as I have COMPLETELY stopped any backlinking or using any backlinking services !!
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  • Profile picture of the author Lightlysalted
    I'm glad they are getting rid of duplicate content. Surely the web should be about originality, not repetative content scrapped from article distribution sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author zaco
    Are you guys serious? Panda sniffs low quality sites? haha..this is all BS..how can they know the low quality from the high quality? the only way is grammar..

    Lets face it, if Google update will reward sites for quality then why are the ****ty sites are still ranking? some sites do not have any content btw, I am not sure if you guys read an article but some sites ranked without content lol so quality is nothing..not that I don't encourage to write quality content but basically Google is BS us..I post quality content to respect my users

    I have done a test on keyword density because Matt Cutts went over and over and said they will penalize the sites who are over optimized, my site had a keyword that was repeated all the time 24%.. I wasn't doing keyword stuffing but it was a keyword that has to be in the menu side for each item, like "phone" so blackberry phone, samsung phone, appple phone..etc..

    My site was had good rankings, so I decided to follow their guidelines and removed that "phone" keyword and my site dropped in rankings and its not even in the first 100 pages as of today, it has been almost a week.. the site kept losing rankings..

    Long story short..Google tells you to do what they cannot do, they want you to write quality content and lower the keyword density but in fact they have no control over anything..
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  • Profile picture of the author Alcon
    Thanks for the awesome share, I'm thinking that google is trying to bring about a new era that the internet hasn't seen before. One fully devoted to the user experience.. But still sucks for some of my sites..
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesPenn
    Google is still a long way off ranking the best content/website at the top.

    In one of the niches I operate in, the top positions are occupied by absolute junk.

    I'm looking forward to the day that Google perfects its algorithm and ranks the best content first. I'll be ranking a lot better than I currently am, that's for sure!

    James
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    • Profile picture of the author zaco
      Originally Posted by JamesPenn View Post

      Google is still a long way off ranking the best content/website at the top.

      In one of the niches I operate in, the top positions are occupied by absolute junk.

      I'm looking forward to the day that Google perfects its algorithm and ranks the best content first. I'll be ranking a lot better than I currently am, that's for sure!

      James

      This day will never come I guess, people are writing articles about Google Panda 3.4 but nobody knows what they are talking about, if you watch the videos that Matt Cutts releases and compare to your results you will see the difference.

      They said to put an article and syndicate it is a bad thing, well guess what I have one site that is still climbing to the top pages in Google and all the links are from syndicated content, 200+ links from 1 article so why is Google telling people not to syndicate?

      As I said before they are telling you what they want, everything is almost the opposite of what they say.. I think they don't have a mechanism to discover the high quality sites and they cannot penalize you if your article is syndicated! alot of people share and syndicate posts and articles?

      They say do not over optimize your site and make sure the keyword density is low, this is also not the truth, in my previous post I mentioned the keyword density issue and what Google told me to do made me lose rankings even tho another site in the same niche that has high keywords density is on page 1 for many keywords , so whats their deal?
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    • Profile picture of the author Green Moon
      Originally Posted by JamesPenn View Post

      I'm looking forward to the day that Google perfects its algorithm and ranks the best content first. I'll be ranking a lot better than I currently am, that's for sure!

      James
      My sentiments, exactly. Granted, I have a few sites that definitely need improvement, but the sites that I have put the most work into should see a boost if Google can effectively push the junk down in the search results.
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