How Google Rates Pages as Spam
In my item on ‘How Google Rates Pages’ I mentioned that they use humans to check that their ranking algorithms are working correctly. They have to do this as in some cases some clever Search Engine Optimisation may well push the ‘wrong’ sites to the top of the listings, when in reality they do not deserve that sort of position.
Does Your Site Really Deserve a First Page Rank?
The fact that such checking takes place, really does mean you have to ask yourself a very important question ‘Does my site really deserve to be on the first page of Google?’
This can be a hard question to answer, but it is one that truly deserves an ‘honest’ answer, for if the site is not really good enough you should take action straight away to improve matters. That way you will stand a better chance of keeping any rankings, plus of course you have a chance of being ‘promoted’ by one of the human checkers to a higher rank.
Content really does matter !
However, I digress. The purpose of this item is to let you know that besides checking how good / relevant a page is to a given search phrase, Google also gets its operatives to check for Spam.
The process is carried out on all checked pages, and takes the form of a ‘tag’ (not a rating), one of three tags being assigned.
Not Spam: The page does not use ‘deceptive’ web design techniques.
Possible Spam: The page may be using ‘deceptive’ web design techniques.
Spam: The page IS using ‘deceptive’ web design techniques, these being described in the “Webspam Guidelines”.
In all cases if a page is rated as Possible Spam or Spam, comments have to be made by the human checker. In these instances no doubt, a Google engineer will check later and decide on the page’s fate.
The Webspam Guidelines
So what ‘techniques’ are deemed to be ‘deceptive’?
The methods mentioned include…
Framed pages and
Computer generated gibberish
The upshot of this is that a page rated as Vital could still be considered Spam and thus be subject to possible sanction.
The above list must however be treated with some caution, as you can get away with using hidden text IF the hidden text can be made visible by user action, and you can use keyword rich URLs, just don’t go overboard…
One important point is that these human raters are told to assign a Spam tag to pages that have no useful content and which are designed only to make money (sounds like some of those Adsense sites you find), so if you are using such pages to make money out of Google, then think again and start making those pages look like they are there for the purpose of informing / entertaining etc and not just to make you money.
What does all this mean for SEO in 2015?
The statement that ‘Content is King’ does not seem to have changed, but there are some now that are suggesting that it is best to create sites / pages that could be considered as ‘Useful’ rather than ‘relevant’.
Whilst this may seem a bit odd, it does make sense, after all you don’t have full control over the search terms your site maybe listed for, so cannot make it relevant to all. You can however make that page Useful to anyone interested in the subject.
Lastly we all know that the rules change over time, but the definitions on Spam are set to remain as they are for some time I expect. As to what is deemed relevant, that is not so easy to define, but my next item will be covering producing content that Google will love.
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