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What is Good Quality Content To Google?
herculano




msg:4429990
 4:17 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

In your opinion What is Good Quality Content To Google?

Is it length? +
Is it images? +
Is it graphically illustrations? +
Is it videos? +
Is it features like calculators or the likes? +
Is it user reviews? +
Is it user comments? +
Is it user ratings? +
Is it social site integration? +
Is it news items? +
What else?

ps. What ever Happen to Brevity is the Key to Good Communication? I guess this might not be applicable...

 

netmeg




msg:4430049
 6:05 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I suspect it's none of those things by themselves.

Are you doing what you do better than anyone else, and is it obvious? That's probably what they mean.

So you gotta be unique.
You gotta engage.
You gotta provide value.
You gotta have a Google+ page (ok that's not a quality signal to *us* but apparently it's one to Google right now)
You gotta appear to have some measure of trust and authority.

The laundry list (checklist) of this this this this and that doesn't work anymore. You have to look at your site as a whole, and ask yourself, if you were a user of this site, would you recommend it to your mom? would you bookmark it? share it? buy from it? Are you immediately discernible from 100 or 1000 other sites that might be doing the exact same thing?

Zivush




msg:4430057
 6:27 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think it depends on which website the content is located.
Meaning, for example - if you invite Harlan Coben to write on your blog it wouldn't get the same effect as it was written on the WSJ (for the same content).

lucy24




msg:4430092
 8:23 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I misread the topic header as "What good is quality content to google?" but I guess that's a whole nother thread.

CainIV




msg:4430247
 6:00 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Interaction, stickiness and consumption.

brinked




msg:4430253
 7:19 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I saw a story on the internet a few months ago. It was about a world famous violin player. He is like the top violen player in the world or something to that effect.

He put on raggy clothes and played his instrument on the NYC subway station. Nobody really paid any attention and just treated him as any other performer who plays in the subway.

My point is, this is a lot like content. You can have the greatest content in the world written by the greatest writer. The fact of the matter is google does not know that. Sometimes its sad, but that content needs to be performing at a large theater which in our case would be a very high authority website.

Whitey




msg:4430262
 8:12 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Content that folks register engagement with.

If you don't attract compelling attention, then it's probably not cutting it. Apply that principle to all aspects of your site, including the UI.

You can have any of the above suggestions, but it's the value of a powerful element within any of that which will do you the most good. Quality that leads to quantity.

jmccormac




msg:4430281
 9:50 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Read and weep/laugh. This is what one of the guys from Google thinks describes a high quality website:

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

To me, it is as if he is just describing Wikipedia and does not even understand the diversity and complexity of the web. The web is really about people not data. It is a record of their interactions, hopes, dreams and businesses. The mentality in the post is why Google is screwing up with Google+ - it has tried to take people out of the web equation.

Regards...jmcc

lucy24




msg:4430298
 11:49 am on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

To me, it is as if he is just describing Wikipedia

Well...
Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

Wikipedia absolutely hates original research. They put up huge warning flags when they suspect an article might contain anything original.
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?

This is getting interesting. You're expected to read the writer's mind and figure out which questions are supposed to get a Yes and which ones should be No. And if you get it backward...

Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

Didn't he just get through saying something about careful editing? It would have come in handy here. I don't think he intended "beyond obvious" to mean what it sounds like. (But see above about getting it backward.)

jmccormac




msg:4430385
 5:12 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia absolutely hates original research. They put up huge warning flags when they suspect an article might contain anything original.
It would seem that way but the reality is that the there is a lot of what could be considered original content on Wikipedia. Only some of it would be flagged as suspect. Original content is not necessarily original research.

This is getting interesting. You're expected to read the writer's mind and figure out which questions are supposed to get a Yes and which ones should be No. And if you get it backward...
Yep. The problem is that he is spreading the usual Google FUD or else he hasn't a clue and you are gambling on understanding what he's talking about. For him, FUDDing has no consequences. For us, making the wrong gamble could put us out of business. This is the reason that people now hate Google in the same way that they used to hate Microsoft.

Didn't he just get through saying something about careful editing? It would have come in handy here. I don't think he intended "beyond obvious" to mean what it sounds like. (But see above about getting it backward.)
I think that he just has a simplistic, theoretical view of the web and regards it simply as an Information Retrieval problem to be solved. Good search engine developers understand the web and know that is not some simple IR problem with proper syntax and well formed code. It is a mess. Pages have spelling and syntax errors. They can also have coding errors. They can have code mixed in with text. What he seems to want is Wikipedia. Perhaps he's just not well able to write - a lot of the web is like that. :)

Regards...jmcc

Play_Bach




msg:4430405
 5:49 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@brinked

That was Joshua Bell playing a mega million dollar Stradivarius violin. The vast majority of people that day had no clue what was going on, they were on their way to work, oblivious to something as mundane as who was making all that noise on the violin.

Planet13




msg:4430416
 6:24 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ brinked

My point is, this is a lot like content. You can have the greatest content in the world written by the greatest writer. The fact of the matter is google does not know that. Sometimes its sad, but that content needs to be performing at a large theater which in our case would be a very high authority website.


You have a great point.

Web content is just like any other "product" out there; It doesn't matter if it is great if you don't get it in front of the right eyeballs - or in the case of the violin player, the right earballs.

@ Play_Bach

The vast majority of people that day had no clue what was going on, they were on their way to work, oblivious to something as mundane as who was making all that noise on the violin.


Aside from death and taxes, there is one other certainty in life: Some people will pay for what others pay to avoid.

tedster




msg:4430418
 6:37 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

The problem is that he is spreading the usual Google FUD or else he hasn't a clue and you are gambling on understanding what he's talking about

I disagree. What Amit is listing in that blog post are the kinds of training questions they used at the beginning of Panda - the one's they gave to human reviewers to build the seed set of sites that they turned their machine learning loose on.

jmccormac




msg:4430420
 7:00 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I disagree. What Amit is listing in that blog post are the kinds of training questions they used at the beginning of Panda - the one's they gave to human reviewers to build the seed set of sites that they turned their machine learning loose on.
So it is an inversion of the infinite monkeys scenario where they may some day write the entire works of Shakespeare? Those training questions are effectively conditioning reviewers into thinking that every site should be like Wikipedia. Wikipedia In Wikipedia Out. The web is far more diverse than this simplistic approach would credit. If these reviewers and Google's machine learning go looking for sites that resemble Wikipedia then that's what they are going to promote in the SERPs.

Regards...jmcc

Andem




msg:4430446
 11:39 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

To me, it is as if he is just describing Wikipedia and does not even understand the diversity and complexity of the web.


This is a very disturbing notion. Wikipedia, along with Google, are the largest scrapers on the web and without the original thought and data they collect from (read: steal), they wouldn't exist.

Either way, a lot of the content I read on the English version of Wikipedia is simply not true and does not follow the so-called NPOV doctrine. If Google views dishonest statements and scraped content as high quality content, then I fear the connected world is in dire straits.


Wikipedia absolutely hates original research. They put up huge warning flags when they suspect an article might contain anything original.


You're completely correct. In the eyes of Wikipedia, if the content is not sourced, then it belongs in the dustbin. Their idea of sources is rather questionable, though. I run a forum which has had several linkbacks from Wikipedia for the past 5 years and to this day, many still exist.

In your opinion What is Good Quality Content To Google?


To be honest, I haven't the slightest idea. There was always a grey area to Google which in my mind, was always a place to stay away from. Original content, a stable, strong and natural portfolio of backlinks and acceptable bounce rates were always good enough to be considered as quality to Google. Today, I come across so much rubbish and sites completely unrelated to my query and it seems as if the grey area is where you're supposed to be in order to effectively rank for decent queries.

econman




msg:4430451
 12:43 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

In your opinion What is Good Quality Content To Google?


If the goal is to create content that appears to be "quality" but actually is the cheapest possible fake that passes as the real thing, then this is a great question.


To be honest, I haven't the slightest idea.


Agreed.

I think we are all facing a very interesting cross roads.

...(short digression... this reminds me of the Chinese saying "may you live in interesting times)...

Here's my take:

If you believe the latest announcement is more of the usual FUD, then the goal should be to figure out how to create fake quality (just as,for so many years, the goal was to create fake relevance/importance/links).

If you believe Google is

a. telling the truth

b. trying to pay attention to quality, in addition to relevance.

c. beginning to have some limited ability to pull this off

d. going to get better at it, as time passes and a team of really smart people try very hard to figure out the difference between fake content and real content, and the difference between high quality content and average content

...then the smart thing to do is to focus your attention on producing high quality content (rather than focusing on SEO).

tedster




msg:4430453
 1:12 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

I consider content quality to be an SEO factor today. The same goes for usability, conversion optimization and site speed. SEO is whatever optimizes a site for a strong search engine presence, and with this new generation of signals, that means a whole lot of things.

Zivush




msg:4430483
 5:20 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree about content quality but for the human readers not for machines.
It also depends which readers read this content.

Content quality: What is considered good quality to some people doesn't necessarily have a value for others, and vise versa. (see the violinist example)
Once upon a time, I hired a physician to write on one of my blogs. He wrote super good.. but it was mainly written to the eyes of medical scientists and not for the average people who wanted answers to simple medical questions. It require hard time to digest and understand his material but somehow people cope with it.
Needless to say that this blog was kicked severely by Panda.
If search engines know-how to personalize searches, they will make a great progress.

anallawalla




msg:4430497
 6:45 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Content quality: What is considered good quality to some people doesn't necessarily have a value for others, and vise versa. (see the violinist example)
Once upon a time, I hired a physician to write on one of my blogs. He wrote super good.. but it was mainly written to the eyes of medical scientists and not for the average people who wanted answers to simple medical questions. It require hard time to digest and understand his material but somehow people cope with it.


This is why algorithms are better than human evaluators, provided that the right humans coded them correctly. Currently we depend on Googlers getting it right. Did your physician writer copy anyone else's content (which could include his own, if online)? How was the grammar and spelling?

Zivush




msg:4430509
 7:42 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Did your physician writer copy anyone else's content (which could include his own, if online)? How was the grammar and spelling?

It was not only unique but also different from any piece of information you find on the Internet on this subject. Doctorate style with no grammar issues or any spelling mistakes - The level was high.
I decided to remove this content, in addition to removing ~200 top education articles, to see where the wind blows before taking my next move (if at all).

tedster




msg:4430513
 7:45 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is an excellent example. Many technical areas have a similar pitfall (medicine, math, physics, electronics, etc.)

Whenever a technical expert is involved in writing content intended for a lay audience, I let them know they will be working with an editor. They naturally get the right to correct and revise the edits and rewrites. But in most cases, technical experts do NOT create good content for lay readership on their own. And with user signals coming in to play these days, that can be deadly.

Zivush




msg:4430537
 10:23 am on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Agreed. White papers are good for universities rather than ordinary people.
But I always thought the Internet should be accessible for different types of people, different needs and various styles and approaches.
It must not be one-size-fits-all search results.
My vision is to have the option to decide which types of search results I want.

jmccormac




msg:4430567
 2:17 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is why algorithms are better than human evaluators, provided that the right humans coded them correctly.
That's the flaw with Google's approach. What constitutes good quality content is often highly subjective.

Regards...jmcc

anallawalla




msg:4430664
 10:20 pm on Mar 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't find the recent quote somewhere from a prominent Googler that was criticised for showing how their view of good content differs from ours. Zivush's example begs the question whether a readability score has come into play in his niche. IOW, most sites in his niche discuss the topic in non-academic English, hence the highly technical version is assumed by the algorithm to be of lower value.

Robert Charlton




msg:4431178
 8:15 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Re writing style, medical results, reading levels, etc...

From what I've seen, query vocabulary continues to be the key factor in what's returned for a search. If you search with five-syllable or six-syllable words, you'll get content written in academic style. If you use two-syllable words, you'll generally get another set of results. Both sets of results, and a whole spectrum of results in between, might be "valid", depending upon searcher expectation, common usage, and your luck of the draw.

A search for...
[how can i tell if i've got a stomach bug?]

...is going to produce very different results than a query for...
[gastrowidgetitis symptoms]

I posted at length about medical results back in this April 9, 2011 thread....

Mercury News Interviews Matt Cutts - "Panda update working as intended"
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4294632.htm [webmasterworld.com]

In the medical results, at least, I noted that Google's results for long tail vernacular or conversational queries weren't returning the same authoritative government sites that Matt was so pleased about. To a degree, the situation has since gotten better, with authoritative sites at least capturing a broader range of long tail queries, but only if writers are in the same ballpark as searchers. In general, government sites and technical experts don't use the same vocabulary that many non-technical searchers do, and these sites don't always relate to commonly searched queries.

This is true not only in medical results, but in just about every niche I've explored, including many that you might not consider technical. I think that the query vocabulary is self-selecting... it's controlled by the user... which suggests that you consider audience demographics when you pick your writer.

The writing style, the quality and uniqueness of information, and the type of site you have, will also affect the type of traffic and inbound links you're likely to get.

Did your physician writer copy anyone else's content (which could include his own, if online)?

This question brings up another situation, commonly encountered in online and offline advice of all sorts, which I think deserves mention here... and that is that there's only a limited range of common wisdom to be drawn upon, and there are only so many ways to write it up. Content farm medical articles, eg, not only cannibalize each other... they're remarkably similar to the advice distributed by my health plan. Again, this is true in many subject matter areas, not just medical.

Within this area of remarkable similarity, all those other site quality factors that are being talked about come into play. And to the degree that one man's meat is another man's poison, this is why Google is also pushing personalization.

lucy24




msg:4431189
 8:25 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

From what I've seen, query vocabulary continues to be the key factor in what's returned for a search. If you search with five-syllable or six-syllable words, you'll get content written in academic style. If you use two-syllable words, you'll generally get another set of results.

Once upon a time, this was easily explained: Your search will return results that are dominated by the words you searched for. Have we got to the point where this is simply not a factor?

frontpage




msg:4431232
 11:29 am on Mar 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia is today what DMOZ used to be back in the day. A bunch of self appointed editors jealously guarding their fiefdom with self serving outgoing links and with stolen content.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4431687
 11:36 am on Mar 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

My opinion is that Google doesn't care about content much, they care about user reaction to content more and are paying attention to where good reactions come from. That is not going to reverse course, ever. (and it might actually be a good thing, really)

examples:
- Some wall st traded companies hire 10's of thousands of non-professional foreign writers to write keyword based seo'd articles and yet they rank 40m views a month, is quality really important? Probably not very.

- Algorithms can write better than many people now, this article is an eye opener on just how little content can be trusted moving forward: [allthingsd.com...]

If a machine can do it how is Google to determine quality based on text alone?! They can't and even if they could they shouldn't as machines can be improved further. Google knows that, they have for some time.

P.S. the article example within the link above is very readable and provides analysis but the machine only digested tweets to come up with it, spooky! it makes you wonder how many non-human articles are out there of that caliber(not the best but indistinguishable from a lot of human content).

edit: My take on content is also simple. Perform a search for your proposed title and/or keyword and/or subject, look at the caliber of what's already written and top ranked, and if you have a different view on the subject that is not covered, or if you can write a much higher quality piece, than do it. Otherwise move on to something else that can be improved upon, search engines show you what's out there, look!

backdraft7




msg:4431953
 3:02 am on Mar 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

"We encourage you to keep questions like the ones above in mind as you focus on developing high-quality content rather than trying to optimize for any particular Google algorithm." - Google

How can anyone possible optimize for a particular algo when it's only those in the Top Secret department of Google who know what the aglo update contains? Another stupid PR comment.

Robert Charlton




msg:4432000
 9:07 am on Mar 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just to provide a point of orientation... for those who don't know, the Google comments mentioned above are from an article by Amit Singhal, from the Official Google Webmaster Central blog, and it was released about a year ago, in the early days of Panda....

More guidance on building high-quality sites
Friday, May 06, 2011
[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

Singhal's list of questions in the blog post covered a great many considerations beyond text content quality that Google was going to be considering. It was, IMO, intended to help the average webmaster without giving away the secret sauce.

Google is now looking at a whole range of signals... a combination of traditional algorithmic and ever-more sophisticated semantic factors to determine relevance and content "depth"... along with measures of user engagement, linking and social signals, site performance, presentation, company reputation, etc. It's much more a "real world" list of factors than those considered by earlier link and keyword-based algorithms that many SEOs are used to (and apparently some are still yearning for).

With regard to content quality, one of the factors Singhal suggests we look at is one I've been suggesting to clients for years when they consider how good their content needs to be, and to me it's very clear....

Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

By this measure, the machine-written content Sgt_Kickaxe cites above (while fascinating in itself and impressive for a machine), may appear to be adequate filler for some pages on a site, but I don't think it's going to move anyone up in Google's rankings.

In competitive areas, content now has to be genuinely worth reading, so good that it's compelling. Ad layouts can't be greedy or intended to trick the user. Design has to be attractive, clean, and distinctive. Promotion has to involve customers, not just link partners.

I'm not sure where this leaves the ordinary mortal who doesn't have a design department and a staff of writers, or the tech wiz who simply isn't very good with words... but I do know that those whose sites have fallen way down in Google and aren't paying attention to why are simply not going to come back.

Complaining isn't going to change things... it's simply going to keep you from doing whatever really needs to be done. I'd say that if you don't get what Singhal's list is saying, keep re-reading it until you do.

This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: 45 ( [1] 2 > >
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