Something our members have asked us to comment on recently is Google’s latest update and how BlogPiG products stand in light of it. Given here at BlogPiG we produce ‘PiGs’, it does seem quite apt that I should be writing about a Google update labelled as the ‘Farmer’ in any case.
We all know by now that Google’s Farmer update was a large-scale cull – everybody’s been talking about it and blogging about it. Some big names have taken a hit, not to mention the swathes of smaller players who are just trying to make a buck.
So how can you help protect your sites from Google’s scythe? Well, we have some proven theories and tools to put to you but first look at the context:
Who is Google aiming its scythe at?
Google is clearing out content which it deems to be of low grade. Google wants to serve the best content it can to its users so it can keep hold of its share of the search market (erm, that’d be total domination, then?).
What defines low grade content?
Content which is shallow or duplicate or, critically, which looks software-generated rather than human-generated. This is because Google thinks auto-generated content is not as useful to its users as hand-crafted, human-generated, unique content.
How does this affect you?
If you’re a BlogPiG customer, chances are you run multiple blogs, or one or two very large and critical blogs. Some of our customers have hundreds and hundreds running at any one time. Let’s be honest: it’s an impossible to task to have totally human generated content on that many blogs.
So if you use content that hasn’t been bespoke-written for your site by a human, how do you not look like a content farm?
Actually, the question to ask is: how to I make my blogs or websites look human generated and human managed?
The key is to go and take a look at the sites that are still ranking high in the search engines. We’ve been doing this for years and we’ve noticed five major trends.
Comments are like votes. Blogs only attract real comments if their posts are of value to the readers and in most cases this means they are not automated. Google knows that comments are difficult to get so a post with lots of comments is a trust indicator. In general Content Farms do not have comments. We’ve always considered this to be a big footprint which is why we developed CommentPiG. CommentPiG gradually adds on-topic comments automatically to your posts removing the very obvious “no comments” footprint.
Most people who hand craft their blog posts will also spend a bit of time adding appropriate tags to it before publishing them. Tagging is very beneficial but also very manual process which is why it is another trust indicator. In general we’ve noticed that Content Farms do not tag their posts like real bloggers do. Again we consider this to be an unnecessary footprint so we developed TagPiG to totally automate the tagging process and wipe out another obvious footprint.
Most real blogs grow gradually over time, maybe a few posts per week on average. This is often termed ‘organic growth.’ For years now it has been possible to simulate a site that grows automatically over time – every autoblogging tool worth its salt has auto growth built-in including our own CSVPiG. In fact, you don’t even need a plugin as WordPress’ own Schedule Post feature gives you the ability to completely automate organic growth. Content Farms often publish new posts & pages over time. Given the ease of automation we no longer consider organic site growth a reliable trust indicator.
This is a very different concept to site growth. Real blog pages tend to grow and change over time as more and more comments are added. This keeps the pages fresh. If each time Google visits a page on your site it appears exactly the same as the day you published it then Google is eventually going to stop coming back. Studies have shown that Google tends to visit static pages once every 25 days whereas it will visit daily for regularly updated pages. Content Farms tend to publish static pages that receive no comments and so become stale very quickly. This is another reason we developed CommentPiG to add fresh new comments to your pages on a regular basis just like a real blog.
As well as being commented on, real blogs are also talked about elsewhere. People will tend to bookmark, Like, retweet, vote, crosspost, trackback, pingback. Call it what you want it’s all effectively the same thing – a social vote of confidence in the site and its content. People will not bookmark, vote or retweet Content Farm posts & pages. Simulating social voting naturally is very, very complicated and costly so it is a very accurate trust indicator. We’re currently developing SocialPiG our very own social backlinker so we know exactly how hard it can be to achieve this.
So, you see that BlogPiG’s product development path has always been, and continues to be, about automating the tasks which a human would perform in as accurate and efficient a way as possible. Our plugins create the clues or ‘trust indicators’ which Google is seeking when deciding whether content is of good quality.
- What methods do you employ to present Google with the content it demands?
- Are these methods automated or manual?
- Have you seen drastic changes in your rankings since the end of February?
- Have you changed tactics in recent weeks?
As ever, we love to hear from you, so let us have your thoughts.