A quick overview of Google’s quality rating paper

There was an 125 page document leaked last week on various blogs and newspapers online claiming to be Google’s new quality guidelines. Whether leaked by accident or not, it is a very interesting read for anyone who wants to improve their site rankings, as it clearly states what people should do in order to secure their web sites from being spam or regarded as low quality. I read the whole document with great interest and decided to make a simple guide for small companies who do not have the budget for marketing or SEO consultancy. Things need to be checked in order to make sure that you do not violate some of the basics rules flagged up by Google.

Here we go:

Rating scale and web spam

The biggest news is that Google now rates your landing page using five different scales: “Vital”, “Useful”, “Relevant”, “Slightly Relevant” and “Off-Topic or Useless”. This rating is judged by the relevance of your web site’s content with the search term. The “rating” of a web page is a scale, “web spam” is a flag. That means that in some cases your web site might be relevant to the search query but identify as spam. Your content is what will determine the scale rating and your web site design the one for spam (see web spam paragraph below).

 “Vital” rating scale

While a celebrity’s name is classified as “vital” and will most probably drive traffic to that person’s personal web page (it makes sense if you google Britney Spears to get her official web site as the number one ranking), a generic entity is NEVER categorised as vital. For example the phrase “ipod reviews” would never be considered as vital, because while “ipod” is an entity,”ipod reviews” is not. It is an information query which means that users may be looking at many web sites which provide similar information to yours. So even if you bought the domain name http://www.officechairs.com unless your content is unique and relevant and not generic do not expect a number one ranking on the keywords “office chairs”.

 Queries interpretations

Google ranks queries with multiple meanings in three different categories: Dominant, Common and Minor interpretations. Many queries have more than one meaning such as Windows or Apple – which could refer to the big computer software companies or the actual glass or fruit. The dominant interpretation of a query is the interpretation that most users have in mind when they issue the query. Bear this in mind when you choose your keyword optimisation strategy for your blog or web site.

 

Location is important

Good search engines return results that are local, which means that the results are good for users in their specific location. For example, if an English (US) user searches for [pizza], he is not interested in pizza restaurants in London, England. He wants pizza restaurants in the US. In most cases, Google will lower the rating if the page content is from another country. Specifically instructs: Do not hesitate to lower the rating to Off-Topic if there is a mismatch between the task location and page that makes the result useless for a user in the task location.

The above shows that Google has brought location based marketing to a new level, highlighting its importance not only as a marketing technique but also as a SEO optimisation rule. As I explained in my last blog regarding long tail keyword optimisation, this actually might be a good thing, since adding a location to your selected keywords will give you a competitive advantage as well as drive more targeted customers to your web site.

Web spam

Web spam is the term for webpages that are designed by webmasters to trick search engines and draw users to their websites. Web spam pages include the following:

Hidden text & Hidden Links

Google also highlighted: Webmasters add hidden text and/or hidden links to lure search engines and users to their pages. Hidden text is visible to the search engine, but not to the user, who might find it distracting or annoying.

However, if you press “Ctrl” and “A” keys on your web page you can reveal any hidden text. Copy paste the text to Word format and make sure you increase the font size as well as click the font colour. Some webmasters add text with the font colour being the same to your web pages colour so you would never be able to see it while search engines do. You can also use Ctrl+U to see your front page source on any browser as well if you do not want to do the abovementioned procedure.

Keyword Stuffing:

Webmasters sometimes load pages with keywords that are related to the query.

  •  Keywords repeated many times on the page
  • Words that are related to keywords repeated many times on the page
  • Multiple misspellings of keywords on the page.

Your selected keyword should never be more than four to six percent of your overall word count. If Google reads 100 words in your index page make sure you mention your main keyword four to five times, no more, to be on the safe side.

Keyword Stuffing in the URL

URLs may also contain keyword stuffing. These URLs are computer-generated based on the words in the query and are often formatted with many hyphens in them. They are a strong spam signal.

So if your web page looks like this: http://www.atladasmedia.co.uk/our-services/social-media-marketing-for-small-business

Maybe consider making it look like this: http://www.atladasmedia.co.uk/services/smm

While it is not yet determined how many keywords on the URL are considered spam, I would make my links look like the above just to be sure. In most default templates you can change this through your Menu Manager.

Did you buy your web site by an agent or freelance designer?

If you or your webmaster happens to use a Joomlart or Drupal template, please do make sure that you have deleted ALL demo articles from your article directory. Most of these templates come with pre-set articles with irrelevant text. Even if you do modify your articles and pages based on your business, remove all other articles from your article directory when your web page is up and running. If Google reads this it will count toward your content relevance and you will be considered spam.

Sneaky redirects

We call it a sneaky redirect when a page redirects the user from a URL on one domain to a different URL on a different domain, with spam intent. Search engines “see” the first page, while the user is sent to a different page and sees different content.

Simply put, if clicking on the same URL several times sends you to different landing pages each time that is considered sneaky and spam, even if your landing pages are high quality ones such as Amazon, eBay, Zappos, etc or any other popular affiliate programmes.

All this information enhances even more the need to be socially engaged with your potential customers. Social media marketing is going to be one of the most important parts of your overall internet marketing strategy especially with the latest changes on keyword queries Google presented a few days ago. Bear with me, I will update you about this very soon.

If you enjoyed the read and found this article useful please +1 it and share it via the social media buttons below. You will find these posts also @: http://www.atladasmedia.co.uk/blog . Site still under construction so bear with me :-)

Before you optimise your web pages and spend money on Google Ads do a bit of research!

Let me start this blog by emphasisng that a successful Internet marketing campaign is so much more than keywords, PCP campaigns or SEO optimisation. When someone come to me with a SEO consultancy request I make it clear that keywords are indeed important, but it is crucial to be part of a proper Internet marketing strategy plan. Quality, carefully designed content which includes trends and demographics, a powerful social media presence and valuable links are vital in this competitive era.
A marketing campaign where 80 percent of a site’s visitors are from the UK cannot be designed the same way if they are from China. Cultural awareness, market and national trends must be considered. The country’s internet and technology status is also something to bear in mind (I will try to cover this topic on a later blog).

What I am aiming to do today is give give you some hints and tips regarding a  short and long tail keywords campaign I did for one of my clients. Now, I believe in practical examples – not just theory like lots of blogs out there – so I am going to illustrate my blogs with graphs and pretty numbers (are you still awake?) mainly so you can get an idea of how I work.

The results for this particular client gave pretty much the same results as a Google Ad campaign would – but – hold your breath – much less money was spent! At the end of the day saving money is a BIG incentive for most businesses and for me social media is all about sharing our experiences and helping others get the best results for the best value they can.

By the time I publish this post, Google might change ten algorithms in its code, SEO techniques might cease to exist and Search Engines might become personal. This is valuable content if you are planning to do search engine optimisation or a PCP campaign today. Tomorrow is a different story, especially when it comes to internet and technology!

Now, as i said I have been working on a keyword strategy for one of my clients who is a language training provider offering courses to help improve accent reduction for native and overseas speakers. Let me clarify that by saying “keyword” I mean words you will use in your web site content, your blog, your tweets, your PCP campaign or any search engine optimisation service you have chosen to invest in.

The client requested some research for keywords containing the words ‘business english‘ and I used six keywords that would increase web traffic performance. On the table below you will see two different numbers – the one in the Searches column and the one in Google Count.

The reason Google Count has so many keywords is because Google calculates all possible phrases which includes thes keywords as the Exact Match Format shows below. Please remember that this is a sample and that when it comes to keywords and trends one company needs to continuously monitor the market, as people change the way they search for products or services so a keyword that is popular today might not exist in a year.

Please see the table below:

Keyword (Exact Match Format) Searches

Competition (IAAT)

Google Count
business english in england

168

352

25600000

business english in uk

167

6

106000000

business english

114

1677460

128000000

business english training courses

104

86

21300000

english for business

49

21586

385000000

english business course

41

225

143000000

Let us now examine the phrase ‘business english‘. Based on UK web searches there are 114 people that use that word to search every month. In the competitors (IAAT) box you can see the competition that this keyword has, how many web sites have optimised their web pages for this keyword. This table shows there are 1.677.460, quite a lot don’t you think?

Now of course it is your personal choice to use this keyword, to optimise your blog, a page or even your whole web site because you or your SEO consultant believes that you can compete with sites ranked at number one such as the BBC for example and I wish you good luck with that.

I believe however there are alternative solutions to achieve similar results in a more cost effective way.  So what can you do? Let us examine some alternatives:

If we look at the phrase ‘business english training courses’ we can see it has 104 people looking for this term and only 86 web sites as direct competitors. So we are talking about 10 less searches in comparison to ‘business english’ keyword and some 1.65 million less web sites to compete against, just by adding the term ‘training courses’ to the optimisation strategy.

Exactly the same applies to the other two keywords I used. ‘English for business’ has only 8 more searches than ‘english business course’ yet the competition is much less (225 web sites versus 2,1586 web sites).

Business english in england’ and ‘business english in UK’ share exactly the same search requirements, but the later have only 6 web sites to compete with, while the former 352, which means that my client’s competitors optimised their web sites on the word ‘england’ rather than ‘UK’.

These are some small tips and tricks you can use before optimising a blog, a web page or your whole web site. You can do searches with free tools on the internet to find relevant trends and keywords, you do not have to pay anyone for this. I created a delicious stack for you with links such as Google trends, Google keywords so you can do your own research. So before you start spending money on Google Ads or optimise your web pages do a bit of research. There are no secrets with search engine optimisation, it is just a question of spending time investigating!
If you enjoyed the read and found this article useful please +1 it and share it via the social media buttons below. You will find these posts also @: http://www.atladasmedia.co.uk/blog . Site still under construction so bear with me 🙂