Weekly SEO news: 8 December 2015
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter. This week, you can win 6 months of SEOprofiler Smart (see below).

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official:  Google's definition of a low quality website

A few days ago, we showed you Google's definition of a quick quality page (based on Google's recently published search quality rating guidelines). If your website has the elements of a high quality page, it will get better rankings.

If your website has the elements of a low quality page, chances are that your website won't get ranked at all.

Google's definition of low quality websites

What defines a low quality website?

A low quality website is not the same as a spam website. According to Google’s quality guidelines, the following makes a low quality website:

  1. Low quality main content

    The quality of the content is determined by how much time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill have gone into the creation of the page.

    If the content of your website has been created automatically, or if it has been created by copying or scraping other sites, chances are that Google will flag your site as a low quality website.

    Ironically, Google's own content solely consists of scraped, copied and automatically created content.

    The web page must also have enough content for the purpose of the page. For example, a few paragraphs on a broad topic such as the second world war is not enough for an encyclopedia article.

  2. Lack of expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness

    To be considered trustworthy, some topics demand expertise for the content. For example, medical advice, legal advice, financial advice, etc. should come from authoritative sources in those fields.

    Even everyday topics, such as recipes and housecleaning, should come from those with experience and everyday expertise in order for the page to be trustworthy.

  3. Negative reputation

    Most businesses have some negative reviews, especially for customer service. Google requires manual website raters to read the details of negative reviews and low ratings before inferring that the business has a negative reputation.

  4. Unhelpful or distracting supplementary content, poor page design

    If the main purpose of your website is to get clicks on the ads, your pages won't get a high quality rating.

    If your page is functional for its purpose, it is okay if it looks like it was created in the 90s (although this is not recommended).

    If your web pages are designed to shift the user's attention to the ads, or if the main content is difficult to read, the pages will get a low quality rating.

  5. Lacking care and maintenance

    Your website does not make a good impression if many links on your web pages are broken, if images do not load, and if the content feels stale or outdated. If you have a website with medical information, legal information, tax information, etc. then you must update it frequently because users expect information about the most current medical thinking, current laws, this year’s tax information, etc.

    It depends on the purpose of your website. A year without updates for a personal photo website is okay, several days without updates on a major news website are not okay.

Low quality websites do not get high rankings on Google. There is no fast track to high rankings. Make sure that your web pages contain all of the elements that Google requires. The tools in our Internet marketing tool SEOprofiler help you to do that:

Improve your website with SEOprofiler

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You can win SEOprofiler Smart for 6 months for free!

2. Search engine news and articles of the week
New Google home services ad format puts lead qualifiers up front

"Google is testing a new, smaller format for Home Services Ads (HSA).

Instead of featuring a few providers and links to more results, the new format asks users to enter their ZIP code and the type of job they need completed before showing the list of service providers available for that kind of work in the area."


GoogleGoogle: new Penguin algorithm update not happening until next year

"With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year. [...] The next Penguin update is expected to be real-time, meaning as soon as Google discovers the links to your site, be they bad or good links, the Penguin algorithm will analyze those links in real time, and ranking changes should happen in almost real time.

Penguin will continuously update, as opposed to SEOs and webmasters having to wait months or even years for Google to update it."


Was there a Google algorithm update on 19 November?

"While Google did not confirm an update on November 19, there sure is plenty of evidence to show there was a core ranking algorithm update. [...]

Maybe Google made a big change and isn’t saying. Maybe Google did make one of those hundreds of changes always going on, which has shifted results noticeably for some. Or maybe nothing major really has happened, which is why Google has no news.

My view, as a close watcher of these things, is that it probably isn’t a Google Panda or Google Penguin update."


GoogleGoogle admits clicks impact your Google My Business listing rankings

"The Google My Business team posted in the Google My Business Help forum four ways to help promote your local listing in the Google search results [...]

Relevance: How relevant is your business category/listing to the search phrase used by the user? Prominence: Traffic to your business listing. How established is the business online. Distance: How close the business is location from where the search is being made. Search history: In the past how many times has the listing been clicked on by users searching with the keyword."

Editor's note: Google has removed the part about clicks in the meantime.


Google manual actions on a subdomain don’t affect rest of the site


"If the manual action was specific to the subdomain, then that wouldn’t – from a manual actions point of view – have an effect on the rest of your site. If you’ve taken care to remove all of that, then after a reconsideration request things should be fine."


Search engine newslets

  • Unwrapping early paid search trends for the 2015 Holiday season.
  • Google's Gary Illyes: if I could marry Google's algorithm, I would.
  • Google Search Console also shows disavowed links.
  • Top searches on Yahoo in 2015.
  • Top searches on Bing in 2015.
3. Recommended resources

SEOprofiler Smart

SEOprofiler helps you to get high rankings on Google and more customers. It offers all the tools that you need:

  • automatic weekly website audits
  • tools for keyword research and analysis
  • competitive intelligence tools
  • automated ranking checks
  • website analytics
  • tools for spam-free link building
  • link disinfection tool
  • social media monitoring
  • white-label reports (web-based and PDF)
  • AdWords Profiler and Ranking Profiler
  • and much more.

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4. Previous articles
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