The Quality Update

Filed in Recent Posts by on May 24, 2015

 
It’s a known fact that Google pushes around 500 updates per year but most of these do not have any major impact – except for the well publicised updates like Panda, Penguin and the more recent Mobile algorithm update.

At the beginning of May 2015 however, shortly after the Mobile update, many websites in both our database and owned by our peers reported a significant drop in organic traffic from Google.

After analysing the data for the past few weeks, my peers and I have come to one conclusion: this latest update is centred on quality and more specifically, content quality – ie. your On Page material.

The sites that got hit by this Quality update were affected by Panda in the past.

Here’s some of the major issues:

1. Pages With Multiple Tags

This tactic is used by people to stuff as many related keyword terms onto a page. In WordPress for example you can use what’s known as a tag cloud.

Action: don’t stuff your pages with lots of different tags and don’t put an excessive amount of links pointing to other pages on your site on that web page.

 

2. Supplementary Content

This is where the page has thin content, for example an article that is only a few paragraphs long, and the page has lots of unrelated supplementary content.

This tactic is often used by sites that sell or ‘rent’ links. You’ll see the main article surrounded by content that is unrelated and that doesn’t add to the user experience.

Action: Be wary if you engage in this tactic. Google understands the context of your supplementary content. Everything on a page should be niche related.

 

3. Pages With Stacked Videos

Yes, having media can add to the user experience but don’t go overboard here.

If you have a bunch of videos, one under the other, with no or little text on the page, that’s a clear sign that you’re trying to game the system.

Action: If you need to have several videos on a page then make sure that you sandwich these videos with related content.

Keep it simple: summarise the content from the video and put the text underneath the corresponding video, or expanding on some of the video highlights.

Better still, use one video per page. If you have 3 different videos, you should create 3 different pages of content.

 

4. Lots Of Old Comments

Having a blog that accepts comments can be a great way of increasing the traffic to a new site. But if you’re going down this route then you need to heavily moderate the comments that you accept on the page.

John Mueller from Google explains in this YouTube video that comments do contribute towards the on page content.

Action: If you have an old blog with lots of spammy comments, Google will interpret your content to be of a similar nature even if what you wrote was good to start with.

If you haven’t got the time to moderate your blog comments then switch the auto enable feature off. In WordPress you can use a plugin like Disable Comments.

 

5. Page Full Of Ads?

There’s nothing wrong per se with having ads on your page but don’t be one of those annoying sites that deceive your visitor into clicking the ads.

Action: Don’t use css to blend your ads in to look like they are part of your actual content.

 

Summary

If you notice that some pages of your site have lost organic traffic whilst other pages have kept their traffic, then it’s clear that you have an engagement problem with your site.

Clear this up, update your sitemap.xml file to get Google to re-crawl your site (or resubmit your site to Google Webmaster Tools) and you should be fine.