While Google was developing their latest major algorithm update for well over a year, the exact details and release time-frame were undoubtedly impacted by the anti-spam media buzz in late 2010. The update in the Google algorithm (known as the “Panda Update“) ousted a large number of “content farms,” or sites that provide bulk amounts of essentially useless content, from their high-ranking positions on the algorithm. Smaller sites were also impacted, however, and many webmasters are now scrambling to figure out the details of why.
Google hasn’t stated outright what webmasters will need to change – and who can blame them? As soon as details are released, black hat SEO groups will attempt to game those “quality markers” as well. However, some Googlers, including Project Manager and former Search Quality Strategist, Michael Wyszomierski, have been providing some hints as to what users should avoid and what they should look at.
Some of the items are fairly obvious (“don’t just duplicate content from another site”), while others are more technical (“make sure you have an ad-to-content ratio,” and “polish your content so it’s free of spelling and grammatical errors”). However, the best way for site owners to “fix” their site is to review Google Analytics and determine which pages are performing poorly. Pages with an especially high bounce-rate, low time-on-site, or other notably bad figures are likely “low-quality,” and should be revamped.
Wyszomierski encourages webmasters to examine this content thoroughly, and either do a revamp of the poor quality or get rid of that content entirely. Failing that, however, Wyszomierski states, “Removing low quality pages or moving them to a different domain could help your rankings for the higher quality content.” In any case, impacted users will want to review their site and make sure that low-quality content is tweaked or discarded.