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Their original main signal of quality was backlinks. If someone links to your site, at one time that was normally a signal or vote of approval. But because spammers (or linkbuilders) began creating "unnatural" backlinks to game the system, that signal has lost much of its value.Yes, but backlinks were always problematic, especially for old, long term sites like mine which are about quite a few topics. There are 10's of thousands of backlinks to my main site from all sorts of sites, but having been online since 1996 that's expected. I had an SEO "professional" look at my site when it crashed and he freaked out at the number, and variety, of backlinks. Supposedly he got into the SEO business in 2002 and a client uses him and recommended him. A few days later he called and said he hadn't worked with a site like mine before and that when he took a close look at backlinks of such long time sites the number wasn't unusual. Duh. No kidding... We talked a bit and he said: "You know more about this than you said you do". I told him I never said I didn't understand SEO having to some degree been doing it for 16 years, but I did appreciate "new eyes" to look at the site.
So now Google may have started using other signals of quality in addition to backlinks. For example, if visitors tend to spend a lot of time exploring your site, bookmarking pages, printing out pages, returning for repeat visits, etc, then these are other possible signals of quality that the algorithm can use.
[edited by: Elsmarc at 9:31 pm (utc) on Sep 29, 2012]
Now over 12 years later it's a no-no
it shows how differently you can interpret the same metric
A 10% failure rate on Panda's quality scoring would not be close to acceptable, IMO - because that algo has the ability to destroy businesses. I do think Panda is probably much better than a 10% failure rate, but just how much better is a big question.
[edited by: tedster at 4:33 am (utc) on Oct 1, 2012]