Google’s Next Moves?

next arrow signThe following is a guest post by Mark Barry from Integrity SEO Experts.

Since the notorious Google Panda/Farmer update in February 2011 there has been considerable speculation about what the updated algorithm means in the long term.

Going back a bit, Google’s algorithm was set to determine what type of content a website was offering. Moving more up to date, it began to include factors such as user interaction with any given site.
Today, the algorithm appears to be considering some quite radical additional factors which take account of both content quality and user experience of individual sites.

Although there are still no hard and fast facts or figures as yet, industry experts believe that there are definitely a number of user experience factors which Google has data on and is currently using. They can be broken down into four main sections:

Visitor Behavior

The first of these is visitor behavior, not just on-site but before a visitor clicks through. Google’s preview feature (the magnifying glass to the right of each search result) gives users the option to preview websites before loading. It is believed that sites currently high in the rankings which are overlooked by visitors will be penalized. Once on page, other visitor behavior which could be used by Google includes:

  • Bounce rate
  • Print occurrences
  • Time on website
  • Scrolling


Another sector is feedback from website visitors:

  • Brand searches
  • Comments or reviews on content/products
  • Repeat visits
  • Social media feedback (+1 or Likes, for example)

Interestingly, the Google Chrome browser, which currently has almost 20% of the search engine market share, includes a toolbar plug-in which lets users block certain sites they do not find of interest. Enough blocks of this type are already affecting sites in a negative way.

User-Friendly Features

Sometimes overlapping the feedback section, user-friendly features include:

  • Advertising density (percentage vs. content on page)
  • Quality of advertising (low click through/high bounce = negative)
  • Media incorporation e.g. videos
  • Purchasing behavior (displaying popular items to establish


The last section is all about the quality of content and how appropriate it is for the targeted audience. This is the least clear section in terms of how it could be applied to the algorithm, but paying attention to these factors can only be a good thing:

  • Keywords and/or Keyword Stuffing – relevance of keywords and
    percentage of use per page
  • Spelling and Grammar – should be 100%, even reviews and comments
    with poor spelling and grammar can equate to a poor user experience
  • Reading Level – suitable for a 13 to 14 year old is considered about
    right so that an average adult reader can absorb the information quickly
  • Page similarity and weak pages – pages which contain very similar
  • information to each other or those which contain no relevant copy at all should be removed or re-written to avoid negativity.

The changes have left a lot of uncertainty with SEO companies as they are not sure if their methodologies are still going to be effective. The only thing that they can still be certain of is that unique content and a quality link building service is the way forward.

Of course the fact that any or all of this is being used in Google’s algorithm is presently just supposition or educated guesswork, but there is certainly no harm in paying attention to these matters which at the end of the day can only serve to improve websites and user experience of them anyway.

Mark Barry is the Link Building Manager for Integrity SEO Experts, a full-service SEO agency based in the North East of England.

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  • August 16th, 2011 at 11:44 am Owen Johnson said:

    “…SEO companies as they are not sure if there methodologies are still going to be effective.”

    What’s wrong in the quoted passage?

    I recently read about a study done in the UK on whether or not Internet users care about misspelled words, typos and grammatical errors. They found that we do, indeed, care and a healthy percentage of readers will abandon a site if there are errors in the content.

    Since Google monitors how long someone spends on our sites, this would obviously affect a site’s ranking.

    By the way, the answer to my question is the improper use of the word “there”, when it should read “their”.


  • August 16th, 2011 at 11:50 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    By the way, the answer to my question is the improper use of the word “there”, when it should read “their”.

    Thanks, Owen. I have updated it for Mark.

  • August 16th, 2011 at 6:31 pm Dental Marketing said:

    Hello Wesley LeFebvre,

    That is wonderful information once again by you, I am getting manything from your blogs but this time I was realy searching for Google Panda, hmm I must say that is good stuff but not enough. There should be more details added with the time. At the moment my question is how to control bounce rate? What can anyone do about, for example if I want to open and close your site how can you stop me doing that and what should I put on my site more to improve it.

  • August 17th, 2011 at 1:53 am Owen Johnson said:

    @ Dental Marketing:

    Have you ever started reading a book and couldn’t put it down? If you want to keep readers on your site, be like that book. Good quality, interesting content that’s well-written won’t guarantee your visitors won’t leave your site, but it will certainly keep some of them reading longer. And if you’re not comfortable writing the content, outsource it to someone who’s good at it.


  • September 7th, 2011 at 3:03 pm Dental Marketing said:

    Hi Owen,
    I totally agree to your ideology about books, but some times a visitor has not enough time to read all the stuff, so some times it is better to make him understand with pictures and video and some times using all three, pictures videos and text. Even then how can I manage where to place pictures, on top or bottom. I know I am bothering you for nothing but still I’ll be waiting for a reply :)


  • September 8th, 2011 at 2:40 am Owen Johnson said:

    @ Dental Marketing

    You don’t need a lot of written content, you need enough to get your ideas, information, etc. across to the reader. And yes, video is good, too. It seems to be the up an coming way to communicate. But remember, you also want to please Google (and other search engines) and text is what they read. For example, if you were to do the most informative page anyone has ever seen but it’s completely video and pictures, you won’t rand for it.

  • October 3rd, 2011 at 11:57 pm craig said:

    I would also take care not to say anything bad about India in my content, either. I understand google outsources their human reviewers over there :)

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