I guess the first point to consider is if this has really been “leaked” or whether it was more of a plant by Google. Joe Bloggs might not necessarily find this document but the SEO community, certainly ones worth any money would definitely find it.
Is the information in the document a game changer? Well, no is the simple answer. If you are already performing white hat SEO, writing content for your users and not to trick the search engines, building links from authority websites, linking out to industry experts from your own content where necessary and good on page optimisation that is designed to help the search engines understand your content, not to fool it. If you already follow these guidelines then most of what we are about to tell you will be no big deal.
From a personal point of view i was surprised to learn that Google uses real people to search through industries and see whether websites fit in with their guidelines from a human point of view as well as an algorithm point of view. Whilst an algorithm can look at the facts and the numbers, it cant feel the content like a real person can. A real person would get an understanding very quickly by looking at the website, reading the content and seeing if there was any love. This is what makes it even harder to try and fool Google, you can try to built a site that will fit with its algorithm, but when that algorithm changes or a real person looks at the site and feels your content does not offer value, or as much value as the other sites for that keyword you will drop like a lead balloon! Often 5 or 6 pages, if its really bad, drop off altogether!
Some of the other key pointers to take are:
- Relevance and spam are independent of each other. This means a site can be relevant but spammy, or the other way round, spammy but relevant.
- Landing page specificity counts. What this means is inner pages are often better results pages for long tail keyword traffic. For instance a product page on an ecommerce website targeting “coloured outdoor waste bins” would be a better match than the homepage with a mere reference. It is all about showing the best result possible for a user search query.
- Misspellings are taken by intent. Before canny web owners could target misspellings simply by spelling the word the most commonly used incorrect way. Nowadays if you were to type “foorball” into Google you will see it shows the most common, relevant search, which is football. It shows football as oppose to something like “foosball” because football is massively more searched for, this is therefore deemed a more likely original result to show.
- Copied content can be relevant – Wow! Anyone who has used Ezine articles for minisite building in the past will be shocked by this statement, especially post Panda update. What Google means here is that blatant copying of other content will be punished if it is used simply to get page views. What is clear is that Google wants you to add value to any existing content which has been used. A website which just publishes copied content that is available in a multitude of other places is not going to get top ranks for serious terms, if any!
- If a page exists only to make money then it is spam! another Wow!!!!! In essence this is another nail into the minisite builder pre 2011. It emphasises that whilst Google does not have a problem with people making money from their websites, in fact they actively encourage it with their Adsense programme. What they will not condone is content with no thought, content that is only there to make money from. There has to be relevance and thought involved.
In conclusion, these are the fundamental principles on what Google will rank a website for. A lot of people worry about the algorithm changes, 99% of those people are worried because they have not followed the principles above. If they had there would be no cause for concern.
To read more information on the Google guidelines please visit this fantastic SEO resource - SEOmoz
- Unique, quality content that answers search queries without further search
- High quality backlinks from authority websites that link to you because of relevancy
- A nice website layout with clean code
- Website love, don’t build a website, add content and leave it static for months on end. Regular fresh content is best! This does not have to be on homepage – site wide is fine.
- Poor quality content with little thought, only there to make money.
- Spammy low quality baclinks from anywhere that will give you a link, often automated.
- Reciprocal linking to websites with no value to your visitors.
- Keyword stuffing
- Over optimisation
- Spam, spam and more spam!
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