1. Relevance to search query
2. Quality of content
3. User experience
4. Relevance to search query
5. Authority of author (I hope Hubpages gets rel="me" working.)
6. Relevance to search query
7. Who's linking to you
8. Relevance to search query
But BESIDES that. Here's some useful stuff.
READ Google's official blog on what constitutes quality content. This was posted in May 2011, answering everyone's panicky queries about what Panda was looking for. I advise rereading this checklist every few months: it's just advice, but it's advice from the biggest search engine on the web about what kinds of content web users want. Google is in a good position to know.
That checklist is useful for everybody. The following info is a little overwhelming for beginners, which is why I labeled this post "Advanced":
Blogger and affiliate marketer Potpiegirl has a long post exploring How Google Makes Algorithm Changes.
In a nutshell: Google employs "quality raters" -- humans! -- to help it test and refine its algorithm. I don't think Raters are manually rating sites and feeding their ratings directly into Google's live search. Rather, they rate a whole bunch of sites, and then Google engineers try to refine Google's algorithm so that it can successfully mimic human judgment (i.e. it independently rates sites the same way they do). Also, Quality Raters test actual Google search results to see if they make sense.
Google's old Quality Rater Guidelines were leaked in 2007. PotPieGirl's article claims to have a link to revised 2011 guidelines which are updated and easier to read. They look legit, but I'm puzzled that big SEO sites like searchengineland and seobook haven't been salivating over them yet. Are these real?
The reason to read Google's Quality Rater's Guidelines? It's a really good lesson on what kinds of web searches people tend to make, and what they are seeking from search results. Satisfy users, and you satisfy Google. And of course it helps to know what Google defines as "satisfying users."
Thanks for posting this Greekgeek. I hadn't read what Google had to say before spelled out so clearly. It's so easy to forget we are writing these articles for P-E-O-P-L-E, not search engines! It's such a tough line to walk because if the search engines don't like us, the people will never see the article.
Even if we figured out exactly what Google wanted today, we all know they would change it tomorrow!
Robyna -- These are all my exact sentiments!
I think it's some sort of existential dilemma :-)
Not much can be done, really. I was trying hard to study and understand it all, but I eventually decided that would be a waste of precious time anyway.
Just write stuff and hope folks like it, is about all I can do.
Thanks. You hit the nail on the head, with this comment.
Having been a Google rater in my time, as a follow on to being a GAR (Google Answers Researchers), I have my doubts.
The line we were forced to follow in evaluating search results would in many cases not satisfy my personal criteria.
I'm probably speaking through my hat again, then, aren't I? I'd love to pick your brains, except, of course, you've probably got a confidentiality agreement which I wouldn't want to jeopardize.
But my basic premise:
1) Figure out what people want* when they write a particular search query
2) Give it to them
seems to be what Google is aiming for.
*Sometimes people will be satisfied by content they weren't expecting and didn't know they wanted, just to confuse matters.
Yeah, I've been really trying to overhaul my hubs recently based on this type of information. Rather than trying to keep satisfying an algorithm, it's better in the long run to just try and please humans. Pageview duration is probably one of the best measures of quality. In the past, people have said that 300-500 words were good lengths for articles because people have short attention spans, but I'm finding that articles that are more comprehensive and cover the topic more thoroughly are doing much better in the Serps.
I understand, more or less, the reasons behind the new Panda update. What bothers me is that many Hubs here on Hubpages satisfy all of those criteria, but still don't get ranked very high in search results. Perhaps the people at Hubpages could sit down with the folks at Google and agree to some kind of compromise that would benefit everyone.
According to staff, the rel=author tag was going to be implemented in September or there abouts: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/79789#post1723957
They're also bringing in a new look profile which will mean the PR of your profile page won't be relevant to links you place on it, since you'll be redirected to another page to view the author's bio.
Gone are the days when you can outwit Google. There's a fine line between marketing and spamming; Google deindexes or demotes websites that utilizes spammy techniques of building links and keywords. Hubpages were one of the biggest gainers in the Google Panda Updates, so it must be doing something right.
Incorrect on several accounts.
Since panda, dozens of spammy sites are now ranked high in search engines. Even people searching for specific businesses in their area find spam sites higher in SERPs than the said businesses.
How has HP gained from panda? After the February update, the site lost over half its traffic. Even after making dozens of unnecessary rule changes and then introducing subdomains, there are still many people who've had a boost that lasts a week or two followed by being sandboxed or losing 90% of their traffic again. PLUS even those who've returned to original traffic are finding they aren't matching original earnings.
I know of plenty of webmasters who can still throw up a few hundred PLR articles on an aged domain, change the article tags, URLs and titles to match their keywords and get plenty of traffic.
I know they are not looking for what I am providing. That is all I know. I am not a spammer and nearly all of my hubs are informational and very few Amazon links left on my hubs with most of them not having any at all.
Thanks for posting! As the owner of a new start-up website, HeathedIn, this was very informative. Cheers.
ah... the great Google debate rolls on.
While I understand, and agree with, the importance of quality content that serves the reader - common sense, (and a couple previous posts), but common sense also still tells me that it's still a factors game, and "quality" might not be the only factor.
As stated above - aged domain, multiple content submissions, and relevant referrals, (read back-links), seem to still be controllable deciding factors that are just as important as the quality of the content.
Nope, truth is, Google does whatever makes them more money, despite their claim of wanting good search listings as the end result. It's the American way!
So Google are looking for EMD sites. Sites that have the exact keyword in their url.
Those sites have been the winners in the past few Panda updates.
Strangely enough, My own hubs didn't attract viewers until I put exact match keywords in the titles, even although their content was useful and informative and original which is the three things I thought the net wanted - never mind Google.
Google is kidding itself on if it thinks it has improved the net.
Not talking of my own work, but many hubs on here are fantastic. They bring a new aspect and a new angle to many topics. Makes a change from reading some of the stuff that passes as content out there!
For a particular keyword yesterday, I found a Mahalo site at #1. Not only were Mahalo supposedly kicked into place for cheating the system with black hat techniques just 7/8 months ago, they are back with a page that has one short sentence of fresh content and the rest made up of adverts.
What hope is there for the rest of us?
I'm pretty sure IzzyM if you move your content off hubpages it will rank on google. Don't let anyone tell you its awkward if you believe in it. Something is just not right here. My stuff is all ranking well on google but my hubpages are dead in the water. I had another one of my newer acounts disappear yesterday.
I agree something is not right here.
I hate change! In a way I wish I had found out how to write web content first, but I didn't. I learnt it here, so this will always be my 'home' in a way.
But you are right, it is time to branch out. I already have ranking websites. Just need to expand a bit
Oh, and I am sorry to hear your other accounts are suffering too.
It's not necessarily that they're looking for this type of site, they're just kicking out the long tail keywords that we all used to rank for. Most of my articles still rank for their main keywords, but have lost all the long tail keywords that used to draw half of my crowd. So that has the effect of making it look like Google is only giving traffic to sites with the exact URL and title match. In a way, that's true, but only by consequence I think.
Things are eventually going to settle down with the Panda. The way things are now is definitely not the way things are going to be a year from now. Google knows that Panda has some serious problems, which is why it gets constantly updated. Not only that, but Panda isn't actually a part of the main algorithm. It's released like the wild beast it is every 4-7 weeks to walk the landscape and do what it pleases. So that tells me that Google will probably eventually eliminate their need for Panda altogether once they get the results the way they want them.
All I know is that Google apparently isn't looking for anything that I write about... *HEAVY SIGH*
Its ok FatFreddysCat - I look for it and I'm waaaaaay more important than Google
@ Ardie - thanks, at least I know somebody out there is reading my stuff besides me and my immediate family.
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