The folks over at Search Engine Land have received a confirmation from Google that the search engine has recently changed how it assesses quality. As Barry Schwartz reports:
"It’s not your imagination. Google’s results have changed since the beginning of this month, and Google’s officially confirmed to Search Engine Land that this is due to a change with how it assesses content quality. Call it 'The Quality Update,' if you will.
Earlier this month, some publishers began noticing changes to Google’s search results. We had asked Google if this due to a Panda Update or any other type of update, but Google replied no."
Read Barry's article: "The Quality Update"
According to Barry's report and posts elsewhere on the web, the update, which does not seem to be tied to any specific algorithm, may or may not have effected "How-To" sites like HubPages, which reported in its own post:
"On May 3rd, our Google traffic compared to the prior week was off by 22% across all of HubPages. Google has said that this isn't a Panda update. Even so, it's pretty brutal. I feel tremendously bad for Hubbers and the team at HubPages that have worked extremely hard over the last several years to improve the site."
Read more about Panda here.
In its post about the loss of traffic, HubPages goes to tedious length to make the case that Google gave the entire site a "blunt-side whack" without much regard to the apparent quality of the content:
"When we analyze each Hub by internal quality score, we see very little differentiation between our lowest-rated and highest-rated content...We compared the traffic losses of our hand-picked, high-quality Editors Choice Hubs that are on the main HubPages domain vs Hubs on subdomains and they both lost 22%."
HubPages is a user-generated content site that allows any user the opportunity to join for free, to create content, and to make money from that content. From our perspective at the Organic SEO Blog, it is not hard, frankly, to see why this site has recently been "whacked" by Google.
Many small business owners mistakenly believe that sites like HubPages provide a good platform for promoting content. We disagree. Frankly, the quality of a great deal of the HubPages content is sub-par.
For better or worse, a site like HubPages is not generally used by knowledgeable professionals interested in building a good reputation. Remember, anyone can join HubPages, and anyone, regardless of writing skills, or even understanding of their subject, can post pages.
It is not hard to see why Google would "whack" a site like this. HubPages might do its best to curate the best content, but it still hosts page after page of poor content. Why should a site like this be ranked above, say, any number of media outlets who hire professional writers to craft relevant, engaging, mistake-free content?
Rather than associate yourself with a site like HubPages, then, we believe it is best to create an optimized, algorithm-friendly site stocked with your own original content. We have written extensively on quality content here at the Organic SEO Blog.
To read any number of articles on content, please click here.
Better yet, you might take the advice of Google, whose post from 2011, "More guidance on building high-quality sites" is still the gold standard for content guidelines.
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