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Google Updates the Google Webmaster Guidelines
bhartzer




msg:4503158
 8:18 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's been a while since we've seen Google update their official Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Both our basic quality guidelines and many of our more specific articles (like those on links schemes or hidden text) have been reorganized and expanded...

We’ve also added a set of quality and technical guidelines for rich snippets, as structured markup is becoming increasingly popular.


[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

Personally, I'm not seeing anything that we haven't heard Matt Cutts preach about before. They did add the new guidelines for rich snippets, which is interesting reading.

 

Catalyst




msg:4503205
 10:15 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes the new rich snippets guidelines were much needed.

Have not really had time to dive in so don't have opinion yet, just know there have been too many unanswered questions and there was too much abuse, so feel guidelines were needed.

Linda

Zivush




msg:4503377
 10:03 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >


Google have just updated their guidelines specifically for
Link schemes and Hidden text and links.
see [support.google.com ]
and
[support.google.com ].
Some link-building techniques that are/were commonly used and may create an issue (Notes are my notes not Google's):

1. Building partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking.
((Note: If you created pages that review services of other websites, the algo might accidentally consider these pages partner pages. ))

2. Using automated programs or services to create links to your site.
((Note: If curated-content producers link to your website, the algo might accidentally consider these automated program.))

3. Text advertisements that pass PageRank.
(( Note: If you link to other websites (yours or affiliate services), the algo might accidentally consider these links text advertisement. ))

4. Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.
((Note: If you link to other website's pages, the algo might accidentally consider these links non-coherent. ))

I think Google is trying to tell us that the safest way is to watch closely anything related to linking + to avoid active building of any inbound links.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:10 am (utc) on Oct 3, 2012]

deadsea




msg:4503412
 11:00 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was surprised by a few of the examples they give.

Under "keyword stuffing" they give the example "Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for". Its very common to find local webpages in my area doing this for their service/delivery area. I see it for plumbers, contractors, firewood delivery and such. "We service the following towns: Acton MA, Boxboro MA, Marlboro MA..." I would have thought that a list of 30 towns like this is good for users (can I actually hire this contractor?) and not excessive.

I would not have categorized "Multiple pages on your site with similar content designed to rank for specific queries like city or state names" as "doorway pages" either. Copying your own pages and changing the keywords is more of a "landing page" strategy as long as the pages are useful and don't just funnel you into a single destination. Clearly, local destination pages are OK if the content is different enough, I see pages targeted at city state all the time in the travel industry where the landing page is about the destination and not just copied generic content.

I'd also have to express my displeasure with the "Text translated by an automated tool without human review or curation before publishing" guideline. I would actually recommend doing this as long as you give your users the chance to correct the text themselves. I've found that users are more than willing to correct translations in short order. Google itself translates its content using its users. Giving users a starting point of machine translation is much better than giving them a starting point of English.

Robert Charlton




msg:4510465
 8:14 pm on Oct 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would not have categorized "Multiple pages on your site with similar content designed to rank for specific queries like city or state names" as "doorway pages" either.

deadsea, I would agree if this were all they said about doorways. I think, though, that, in the sentence above, you may be taking this out of context and interpreting it too restrictively. I believe that it's all about intent and the use of the page on the site, and you go on to say as much yourself.

Here's what Google says (my emphasis added)...

Doorway pages
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2721311 [support.google.com]

Doorway pages are typically large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. In many cases, doorway pages are written to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination.

You say...
...as long as the pages are useful and don't just funnel you into a single destination.

So, I'm not understanding what the issue is.

I've optimized geo-targeted sites in the million+ page range, and, so long as those geo-targeted landing pages lead to good quality, geo-relevant content that is unique, there have been no problems. All of Google's usual quality signals of course apply, and that's a long discussion in itself.

Where these landing pages become doorway pages, though, is where they exist simply to catch localized queries but funnel users to unrelated content. IMO, Google is extremely clear on this when you read the doorway article as a whole.


Under "keyword stuffing" they give the example "Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for". Under "keyword stuffing" they give the example "Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for". Its very common to find local webpages in my area doing this for their service/delivery area. I see it for plumbers, contractors, firewood delivery and such.

I've had a similar take on this, and, in the past, I have used the blocks of text approach for metro area and regional service area specifics myself. I was careful also, though, to keep the list down to a reasonable number of prioritized places... reasonable at that time being 10 or 15.

Generally, though, with any phrase/location combination that's even slightly competitive, this approach no longer works. It's clear from results I've checked that Google does prefer metro-area pages with the keywords in context, not stuffed, and you are limited to the number of word combinations you can go after. Hard to say how much this is an algo change, and how much it simply reflects a much higher level of competition overall.

I suspect that you've got to reach a long list before Google dings you for keyword stuffing, as such lists have been a common practice, originally intended for site visitors. Depends, I suppose, on whether the list is short enough to be easily readable.

It's interesting to observe that site owners who think they know a little SEO will often add to the lists over time, until they finally do get to be stuffed.

deadsea




msg:4510531
 11:49 pm on Oct 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I suspect that you've got to reach a long list before Google dings you for keyword stuffing, as such lists have been a common practice, originally intended for site visitors. Depends, I suppose, on whether the list is short enough to be easily readable.


I'd also hope that it has something to do with whether or not the keywords are appropriate for your business.

If you run the Widget Restaurant chain and have a page for each city (whether or not you have a restaurant there) that would be spammy. Nobody wants to land on the "Widget Restaurant, Mayberry, CT" page and find out that the closest Widget Restaurant is the one in Providence, 50 miles away.

Similarly, it would be spammy for a contractor to list a town so far away that they wouldn't accept jobs there (or wouldn't usually accept jobs there if there was work close).

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