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4 Google Trust Factors That Can Provide Negative Signals About Your We


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#1 lister

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:39 AM

Reference to Jill's newsletter which I thought was great - I was wondering - when Google asks:

 

"Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallower in nature? Similarly, is the site a recognized authority on its topic? In addition, does it contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?"

 

How is that really achieved - I mean, would Google look towards seeing your name on another industry-specific site for example?

Writing engaging factual and I guess - different - content must help but its the author's credibility I am curious to learn more...

 

Thanks



#2 Jill

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 01:06 PM

Through bios and rel=author as well as being cited by other experts (I would imagine).



#3 dzinerbear

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 04:05 PM

I just opened up Jill's latest HR Advisor and the article "4 Google Trust Factors That Can Provide Negative Signals About Your Website" is perfect for something I'm dealing with at the moment. In fact, I have been thinking for about a week about posting a question about improving one's site authority; it's as if Jill read my mind -- nice when that happens.

 

Thanks Jill, I'm in the middle of implementing a new theme for my main blog, so there's a lot of good stuff in there for me to consider.


Edited by chrishirst, 20 June 2013 - 02:54 AM.


#4 Jill

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 10:38 AM

No problem, glad to help! I was actually surprised to see that there wasn't a whole lot out there on this topic.



#5 Mikl

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:49 AM

I have a similar question about Jill's fourth point: lack of proofreading.

 

How can Google possibly recognise poor grammar and style, bad spelling, or factual errors? I suppose it can parse the text, looking for sentence parsing errors (like verbs without a subject); and it can probably recognise certain other grammatical issues (like the wrong case for pronouns following a preposition). But surely it can only catch a small number of grammatical mistakes that way?

 

Similarly with style. Does it distinguish different literary styles, for example? And does it treat fiction and poetry differently from factual articles? And how can it possibly spot factual errors? Does it check every statement of fact against some authoritative source (Wikepedia?) - and how does it verify that that source is correct?

 

And finally, how can it recognise bad spelling? Of course, it can check your text against a dictionary. But how does it know if a given word is supposed to be a dictionary word, or is a person's name, or a place name, or a foreign word, or a technical or scientific term, or a word that's only used in a given industry or among a particular cultural group?

 

I'm not saying that you (the author of a web page) shouldn't proofread your articles carefully. And I agree that a site with poor grammar and spelling is likely to be of poor quality in other ways. But I'm puzzled as to how it can directly affect your site's ranking in the way that Jill suggests.

 

Mike



#6 lister

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:00 AM

I'm sure the algo can detect *badly* spun text but I agree, how can someone be blamed for not having superb grammar. English is my first language and my grammer is pretty average. Sure, I think I'm smart (ask my mom, she agrees) but still, I wouldn't probably get a job writing for the Times.

Also, what about [sic] ? Perhaps if [sic] is written then you get forgiven.

 

Also, I've read really great posts written by non-first-language English people and you can def tell that they are trying their best. Seems a bit unfair.

BUT - Spun text is the enemy here. I am sure that the Spam Team over at Google are (like we all are) getting fed up with {thanks}{excellent} blog {post}{article} that now litter the Internet.

I get about 20/ 30 comments a day from crappy spun text with links to Rolex watches or holidays in Cambodia.

 

I guess bottom line is that if you truly care you make the effort to re-read your copy and make sure it is the best that you can do - and that I am sure gets a nod and a wink from our friends over at Mountain View.



#7 Jill

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:20 AM

My opinion is that at this point they'd likely only be using it for the worst cases. And also when other negative signals are present. 

 

But, sure, at some point in the future it could get more sophisticated to do some of the things Mikl mentions. I mean why not? As the web grows, so do the number of pages that exist. Which means there can be millions that are relevant to the same search queries. Google will have to start getting pretty granular in determining which of those millions they should present first. 



#8 torka

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:22 AM

I dunno, but I often use Google as a quick and dirty spell checker. Any time I'm not sure how to spell something I type in my "best guess" as a Google search. And Google asks me "DId you mean..." and gives me the correct spelling. So far, it hasn't failed me.

 

They've got billions of pages indexed, many of which are not in English. I'm pretty sure among all of those they've got a pretty good handle on various languages, industry terms, proper names and even (thanks to the Urban Dictionary et. al.) slang.

 

Of course, anybody can have a typo or two on a page. But I don't think anybody's getting sent to Search Siberia for a couple of typos. If, on the other hand, you either can't be bothered to use spell check or don't know the language you're writing in well enough to avoid having every third word spelled wrong, well IMO your page probably isn't high enough quality to deserve a top ranking. If your content really is all that great, then it's worth taking a few minutes to proofread, fer cryin' out loud.

 

Microsoft Word isn't infallible when it comes to grammar, but it does a fairly decent job of flagging major errors. (I sometimes choose to ignore it in favor of more "relaxed" vernacular, but I acknowledge its general technical accuracy.) I can't imagine Google would be any worse than Microsoft Word in that regard. I'd speculate they would use fairly loose "casual conversation" rules, but there are still some grammar rules that reasonably could be applied.

 

From there, I think it's a matter of degree and consistency. From what I've seen, people tend to catastrophize whenever anyone mentions a possible ranking factor. Just because bad spelling and poor grammar might be a negative factor, that doesn't mean every minor typo or split infinitive will totally kill all your other optimization efforts. It's a continuum. One or two minor errors, no problem. A bunch of errors, they're going to at least flag that page for a closer review. Every other word misspelled and not a complete sentence on the page? That could be a problem.

 

My :02:

 

--Torka :propeller:



#9 lister

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:30 AM

100% agree.

 

Torka if I read your post correctly - the algo seeks patterns right? Say three words out of ten are all spelt wrong then clearly that raises a flag.

In fact, it is likely a tweak to the duplicate algo. I read that if six words or more are the same then that can flag a 'concern' - but that was just one person's opinion. I often wonder how those algo patterns work because every speech Obama gives is duplicated around 5 billion blogs so how can they be 'duplicate' - anyways that's a slight tangent



#10 dzinerbear

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:51 AM

Another point is that I'm in Canada and I use British spellings, Google is a U.S. company, are they taking this into consideration? So colour and color is okay, but coler would be dead wrong?

 

And obviously a 15-year-old girl writes completely different than a 45-year-old woman with a Master's degree, but that doesn't make her blog unreadable or unappealing to her audience.

 

And in my case in writing copy for adult blogs, I use all kinds of slang and even made up words that you won't find in a dictionary.

 

It seems like Google is overstepping and far reaching here. 



#11 dzinerbear

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:59 AM

Jill's recent High Ranking Advisor talked about articles not having a "written by ... " on the article. I had actually turned off all that meta data because I thought it just added more clutter to the articles. So, with a new theme, I'm turning it back on.

 

My "posted by ..." links to a listing of all the posts written by me, but since I'm the only one who writes for my blog, it simply relists everything on my blog. Dupe content issues? Would I be better to link that "posted by" to my "about me" page?



#12 lister

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:00 PM

Absolutely right, and what about kids that write like dem be da real ting, d'ya hear me now?

They have a right to be indexed since all content must be agnostic from the POV of Google - right...?

 

Bottom line, i reckon grammer and spelling is one criteria out of 1,000 that is considered, so probably not a *huge* issue if your content is not Harvard or Oxford Uni style.



#13 Jill

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 01:31 PM

 

My "posted by ..." links to a listing of all the posts written by me, but since I'm the only one who writes for my blog, it simply relists everything on my blog. Dupe content issues? Would I be better to link that "posted by" to my "about me" page?

 

Yes, as part of the rel=author thing which you definitely want to do, you should be linking to either your bio page or your Google+ page. You should also have the rel=author tag on the link with your name in it. 



#14 lister

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:10 PM

 

Yes, as part of the rel=author thing which you definitely want to do, you should be linking to either your bio page or your Google+ page. You should also have the rel=author tag on the link with your name in it. 

 

100% - rel=author is great.



#15 Mikl

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 02:40 AM

Having read the above comments, I'm still not convinced that Google can make decent job of judging the correctness of a page's grammar or spelling. That might well change in the future, as the algorithms get more sophisticated. But for now, I seriously doubt it.

 

And I'm not convinced that they should even try. Personally, I would rather read a page that's written in halfway decent English (or whatever other language is relevant) than the typical sloppy mess that you see in so many blog posts and forum messages. But I wouldn't want my searches to rule out a page merely because it contains words that aren't in the dictionary, or a style that Google considers incorrect for some reason.

 

(I haven't tested this, but I'd bet that a lot of Shakespeare would fail an automated spelling and grammar test, as would many political speeches and historical writings - not to mention pages containing program code or chemical formulae).

 

Still, it's an interesting question. I'll try to keep an open mind on it.

 

Mike






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