Google’s “Quality Update” Rewards Positive Behavior

Google’s updates have been focused around penalizing bad behavior: low quality links, duplicate or thin content, ad heavy pages, doorway pages, and more. But at the beginning of May, a mysterious Google update was released that looks to be more focused on boosting the right sites. Google officially claimed there was no update, then later admitted to a “quality update” – and to the core algorithm!

1. Good Design 

  • Structure of your site:  Websites structured around their main audiences tend to be structured (with “silos”) around their main keywords. This site structure makes it easy for both prospects and Googlebot to understand your site. With breadcrumb navigation, it’s very easy to communicate site structure. And with schema support, it’s an even better idea.
  • Variety of content: Are you mixing in photos, videos, infographics, slides and the many other kinds of content? Consider this a quiz (which is another piece of content). Which of the types of content are on your site?

2. Good Content

  • Original content/not syndicated: Syndication is more confusing than ever, despite the existence of the canonical tag. Sharing on your site first is vital. For authority sites such as, and others, the best results come with rewriting a unique shortened version of your content.
  • Links to related content on your site:  When a site visitor is reading about one topic, it’s a great idea to showcase related articles. This too can have an effect, as you are linking to other articles about your main keyword or concept. Hummingbird can understand concepts, but it’s always been valuable to talk around your main keywords. Having good content all around a certain topic makes a site the authority on that topic.
  • Not too many ads, no deceptive ads:  SEO Glen Gabe noticed sites with ads hidden in the content sunk in this Quality Update. Some sites were hiding ads in with their content, making ad links look very similar to links to content on the site. Gabe points this out in his excellent analysis of sites hit by the Quality Update stating, “I also saw deceiving ads that blended way too much with the content”.
  • Not thin: Thin content such as tag pages or short articles won’t make the cut. It’s ironic that tweets are now at the top of many Google search engine result pages, but that Google also abhors thin content. Don’t be fooled by Google’s new-found love for those 160 characters: Good articles tend to be fully thought out pieces of 1000 WORDS or more! You might get by with 450 words, but really try to make your content deeper articles of 650 words plus. Numbers are nearly as important as the quality of the piece though.
  • No low quality user generated content:  User generated content sounds like a dream come true for many site owners, but policing the quality of comments, uploads, and topics can become quite a task. Sites such as and were hit in the Quality Update, and, have begun cleanup as well.

Want to learn more about the update? Visit Glenn Gabe’s analysis or this great article at SEMPost.

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