SEO | What is Low-Quality Content?

Like many others, we’re trying to decipher the impact and implications of Google’s new search algorithm.

Now that Google is actively rewarding sites that contain high-quality content and dinging sites that game the system with low-quality content, some obvious questions emerge.

What is low-quality content? What is high-quality content?

Let’s focus first on low-quality issues. For example, facets of Google’s search criteria refinements target content farms, link farms, scraper sites and sites with shallow content.
Content farms are sites that offer low-cost content for blogs and websites. For a nominal fee, you can purchase articles on a wide-range of topics written by an “expert.” The problem? The content is often so basic it’s meaningless, the writing is unpredictable, and the expert has little to no indepth knowledge of the topic. Content farms employ vast numbers of freelance writers who generate articles laden with key words and search terms in an effort to boost online findability. 
Link farms are specially designed, automated sites that hyperlink to every other site in the group. Link farms provide an endless list of backlinks, because as users join the farm, new crosslinks are generated. Link farms respond to old ranking criteria, which used the number of inbound and outbound links to determine popularity. This strategy has been losing steam for some time; some search engines view these types of link lists as spam, others are structured to penalize list sites.
Scraper sites are designed to search the web for specific types of content related to the purported site purpose or theme. Scraper sites copy found content and post it (or a link) under their own banner. The goal is to attract advertisers and ad revenue and to boost search engine rankings. Among other things, these sites are notorious for poaching content and violating basic copyright laws. (Yes, even “open content” sites require republishers to include author credits and licensing statements.)
Shallow sites provide content-lite. They claim to have a purpose or theme, but the posts offer little if any new information, insights or analysis. Shallow sites often supplement their already superficial content with information that's been farmed or scraped from elsewhere.
If you use one or more of these techniques on your B2B website or blog, don’t panic. At present, it appears the Google algorithm is laser-focused on large sites that rely almost exclusively on these strategies. The changes, quite simply, are aimed at devaluing the most obvious sources of low-quality content in order to provide better SERP results for businesses and searchers.

There may be perfectly legitimate reasons for you to use one or more of the low-quality techniques. If that’s the case, make sure you offset the potential negatives by increasing the substance and quality of other information presented on your website and blog.

Search engine criteria change constantly, but the bottom line remains the same.

People, not search engines, buy your products and services. Create content that attracts and appeals to your core customers, and you can’t go wrong.

Google Boosts Value of Quality Content
SEO | What is High-Quality Content?
Official Google Blog | Google Search and Search Engine Spam
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