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Ana Hoffman
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Google Rewrites Quality Rating Guide (and what you need to know about it)

According to a post on +Jennifer Slegg's blog (, Google has completely rewritten the Quality Ratings Guideline, the resource that their team of quality raters uses to rate websites for Google.

It has some great new insights into how Google is approaching the search results and what it takes to be a top ranked website.

Side note: even though there have been a few older copies of Google Quality Rating Guidelines in the wild at one point or another, Google wants to keep them from being leaked out again. Not sure how Jennifer got to have a copy, but she mentions several times in the comments 'Unfortunately I was sworn to secrecy and promised not to pass it on.'


♨  This is a brand new version from the ground up; not just a rewrite of the old one.

♨  The new emphasis is the idea of E-A-T, which is a website’s “expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness”.

♨  Lacking a certain amount of E-A-T is enough of a reason for a rater to give any page a low quality rating.

What makes an expert?

♨  Google does stress to raters that there are many kinds of experts, all dependent on the topic area.

Knowledge Graphs

♨ Apparently, Google asks their raters to spend quite a bit of time rating just the knowledge graphs alone.

Many Ads = Low Quality

♨  The new guidelines definitely want raters to look at advertising on the page to determine if there is an overabundance of it.

Google specifically mentions layouts that are all advertising at the top, and requires scrolling to see the content – to the point where people could initially believe that there is no content on the page at all. The same for advertising designed to look like navigation links or secondary content.

Supplementary (secondary) Content

♨ What is secondary content: anything on a page that isn’t the main content or advertisements. They consider it important to the overall user experience.

My own conclusions on what quality supplementary content might be for any blog:

* relevant related posts or videos - at the bottom of a post or in the sidebar or both;
* relevant additional resources - could be in the form of external or internal links;
* additional forms of content consumption - like adding a SoundCloud audio of the post, a Slideshare presentation with the gist of the post, etc.

Bad Supplementary Content

♨ they are warning about deceptive ad placement where users can accidentally click on an ad or are lured to click an ad, believing it to be content on the site and not an advertisement.

♨ They also specifically mention advertisements placed under headers such as “Top Posts”.

Poor Page Design

This is more about poor advertisement placement once again.

♨ Google mentions tactics such as popups, large quantity of ads with only minor content and text ads in navigation.

♨ Google is also calling out a specific advertising tactic that many, many websites use – and that is inserting advertisements a few times in the middle of the main content, breaking it up with main content – ad – main content – ad – main content. 

♨ And those fancy links in navigation that are really ads? Webmasters should probably start rethinking those too.

♨ Google considers Inline Advertising (those double underlined links that pop up an ad when you mouseover the link) distracting and can make the main content on the page difficult to read, which equals a poor user experience.


♨ Reference to “thin” affiliate sites has been removed from the new guide. 

Does that mean that Google feels spam affiliate sites are a thing of the past and don’t rank today anyways, that poor quality sites would get a low rating regardless, or that they are happy for affiliate sites to rank, as long as they have some of the other criteria needed for an above average rated website.

Reputation Research

♨ It is clear that Google is putting a greater emphasis on reputation than they did before.

♨ Google stresses that a webpage cannot be given a High rating if the site has a negative reputation.

About Us and Contact info

♨ Google is looking to put a greater emphasis on the presence of such pages as a sign of a high quality website.

What's been removed from the Guidelines?

There were a few items that have been removed from the new Quality Guidelines at all:

1. all reference to spam;
2. cloaking;
3. distracting content (now considered and explained in 'secondary content' section);
4. phrase “Low quality pages may only be acceptable to users if there are no other higher quality pages.”
5. hidden text.

It's safe to assume that most of the things above are generally caught by algorithms nowadays, thus there was no reason to mention them in the new guide.

Jennifer Slegg also mentions that there will be more detailed follow ups on this.

Each day for the next week or so, we are going to do some in-depth analysis of the new parts of the guidelines, particularly how it will impact SEOs and what SEOs should start to think about differently.

Be sure to visit her post for more:

+Mark Traphagen +Eric Enge +David Amerland 

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So just to be careful - since she wasn't supposed to have it or reveal it, are we actually sure it's legit? I mean, it almost sounds like someone took +David Amerland's book and bullet-pointed it. That is intended as a compliment to David, of course, but are we sure? I tend to be a little skeptical about stuff like this unless there's some kind of verification. Even if it were only Google saying , "We categorically deny any knowledge......" LOL
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Ana Hoffman

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Google Webmaster Blog Redesigned

...with an updated and cleaner look and make it work better on mobile devices.

ht +Barry Schwartz 
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Earning links is easy: All You Have to Do Is Say Something Different

As simple (and complicated) as that. That's exactly what +Michael Martinez' point is in his recent Why It Is Always Easy to Earn Links for Any Website post

Being different is a necessity in search engine optimization. It always has been. The guy who got there before you was either different or you’re standing at least two hops back in the line from being at the top of whatever vertical you’re competing in.

And one more:

Being different is easier than most people think. Being different, however, requires courage because instead of chasing keywords you have to create new keywords through the difference that you make.

Highly recommended read:

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Ana Hoffman

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The CIA Celebrates Its Month On Twitter By Answering 5 FAQs

CIA's first tweet a month ago was “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.”

As you would expect, it didn't run the most responsive Twitter account, but to celebrate their first monthaversary,@CIA sent a thank you tweet and some answers to FAQs.

ht +Marketing Land 
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Ana Hoffman

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21st Century Journalism [COMIC]

Sounds about right...

ht +DashBurst 
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As long as the public keeps lapping up this crap, it won't stop. In others, it won't stop.
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If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it. But if it is, you can tell Google… and it’ll correct itself.

Works on the Google app for iOS ( and Android (

If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it. But if it is, you can tell Google… and it’ll correct itself. Works on the Google app for iOS ( and Android (
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H.O.A. Shows for Thursday Julty 10, 2014 - courtesy of +Mark H.O.A. Seydel.
H.O.A. Shows for Thursday Julty 10, 2014, so far!
Times here are U.S. EDT. For updates, details and past shows visit:

#getyourhangouton   #hoashows   #hoashowscalendar  
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+Mark H.O.A. Seydel You are so very welcome, Mark!
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Too late; I am on my second one...

Good morning, Internet!

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+Ana Hoffman  if you are working from home, wondering if you drive out just to get a coffee
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Google in Real-Time: How Fast the Internet’s Largest Company Grows Every Second

ht +DashBurst 
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Pretty cool! Thanks for the share. 
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Stop using Facebook for 99 days to test “how life without Facebook impacts user happiness.”

This shouldn't be a problem for most Google Plussers, should it? ;)

The experiment is the brainchild of Just, a creative communications agency based in The Netherlands.

Opting in is simple at

♨ Change your profile picture to the 99 Days of Freedom logo
♨ Create your 99 day countdown clock and share it on Facebook
♨ Log out of the social network and delete all your mobile Facebook apps

If you are an average Facebook user, you’ll have an extra 28 hours over the three months to spend on other matters.

Go hiking, learn a new skill, hang out with friends and family (offline).


Full story at +Marketing Land
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+Jorge Enrique Aguayo Hear, hear!
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Pinterest Introduces their New Follow Button for Your Website

The new Follow button will pop up a small dialog with a preview of your account’s latest Pins — and your visitors won’t ever have to leave your website to follow you.

Once someone follows your account, they’ll start seeing your Pins in their home feed.

If you have the original Follow button in place, you won’t have to do anything to get the new version—it’ll just work!

If you don't, here's the link to get the code:

Announcement on +Pinterest blog:
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Facebook 'Mood' Study? You Haven't seen nothing yet.

The U.S. military just revealed numerous studies on Facebook & Twitter data

+The Guardian revealed a large research project funded by the Defense Department’s military research department (AKA Darpa) that tested how people connect, and how ideas are spread, on social sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Kickstarter.

The contained numerous separate studies, all based on social network data.

One studied how Occupy activists used Twitter to communicate and organize. Another tracked Internet memes.

One study tracked Tweets and posts about celebrities like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to see how liking, following, and tweeting conveyed “influence” in social networks.

Still another involved researchers sending tweets and other messages to users to see how they would respond.

Several of the DoD-funded projects went further than simple observation, instead engaging directly with social media users and analysing their responses.

One of multiple studies looking into how to spread messages on the networks, titled “Who Will Retweet This? Automatically Identifying and Engaging Strangers on Twitter to Spread Information” did just this.

I couldn't find the link to the list of published studies (not sure why); here's the link to +The Guardian's original story:

ht +VentureBeat 
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Ordinary is boring... Daring Entrepreneur, Blessed Wife, Grateful Mother - exciting past and amazing future to look forward to. Follow the leader!
Basic Information
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
Big web traffic for small budgets
If I learned anything after many years of building an online empire, it’s this: the online business industry is a scary place. A place where many a mighty business owner has fallen.

Including me.

That’s right, I’ve had some online business flops in the past, until one day I realized that my business was only as good as the number of eyes that saw it on a daily basis.

That’s why I started TrafficGenerationCafe, focusing on various ways to increase website traffic like search engine traffic, social media traffic, networking, as well as how to convert that traffic into subscribers and buyers.

In six quick months, my blog grew to be an authority on traffic generation. My blog’s traffic (I was ranked under 15K on Alexa), reader engagement, and sales showed me that I was on the right track.

This might all seem foreign to you.

Stick with me and it will soon become second nature.

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San Francisco Bay Area, CA
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