We all know that Google has said numerous times that you cannot fix core ranking algorithm updates. But John Mueller from Google this morning said in a webmaster hangout that there is a reason for this - he said it is not just one thing to fix but many fundamental issues you need to fix or improve on your site so Google can trust the site.
John was asked about this and at the 26:12 mark into the video he explained why Google can't give specific advice here. But when he explained it, he mentioned specific examples of things that Google might look at and say that this specific site is not so trustworthy. John mentioned three main things as examples but again, I assume there are more:
(1) Does the site look outdated
(2) Do people not recognize who your authors are
(3) Are the author photos not their real photos but stock images
He also mentioned the Panda post from Amit Singhal where it asks you 23 questions about your site.
John said Google might go ahead and put together a similar post to that to kinda of give us directions on what to look for around these core updates.
John lumped together core updates with relevancy updates and quality updates, he referenced the Panda post as tips - they seem to be very related. He said "relevance updates, a lot of the kind of quality updates, the core updates that we make" when talking about the topic.
Here is the transcript, read it:
I’ve heard this a few times. I think it's a bit tricky because we're not focusing on something very specific, where we'd say, like for example, when we rolled out the speed update that was something where we could talk about specifically, this is how we're using mobile speed and this is how it affects your website therefore you should focus on speed as well.
With a lot of the relevance updates, a lot of the kind of quality updates, the core updates that we make. There is no specific thing where we'd be able to say you did this and you should have done that and therefore we're showing things differently.
Sometimes the the web just evolved, sometimes what users expect evolves, and similarly sometimes our algorithms are the way that we try to determine relevance they evolve as well.
And with that like you mentioned you've probably seen the tweets from @searchliaison there's often nothing explicit that you can do to kind of change that.
What we do have is an older blog post from Amit Singhal which covers a lot of questions that you can ask yourself about the quality of your website. That's something I always recommend going through. That's something that I would also go through with people who are not associated with your website. So often you as as a site owner you have an intimate relationship with your website you know exactly that it's perfect but someone who is not associated with your website they might look at your website and compare it to other web sites. And say well I don't know if I could really trust your website because it looks outdated or because I don't know who these people are who are writing about things.
All of these things play a small role and it's not so much that there's any technical thing that you can change in your line of HTML or server setting. It's more about the overall picture where users nowadays would look at it and saying well I don't know if this is as relevant as it used to be because these vague things that I might be thinking about. So that's that's where I'd really try to get people who are unassociated with your website to give you feedback on. That sometimes you can also do that through the the webmaster help forums. Either the ones from us or lots of communities out there with other webmasters where you can talk with other people who've who've seen a lot of websites and who can look at your websites. And they can say well I don't know the layout looks outdated or the authors are people that nobody knows or you have stock photo images of instead of author photos. It's like why why do you have that.
All of these things are not explicit elements that our algorithms would be trying to pinpoint but rather things that kind of combine to create a bigger picture. So that's kind of the direction I take there. I know a lot of people have been asking for more advice more specific advice. So maybe there's something that we can put together. We'll see what we can do internally to kind of put out a newer version of a blog post or kind of provide some more general information about some of the changes that we've been thinking about there.
All of these things are combined and maybe give Google some sort of trust factor - although, Google said numerous times they don't really give trust scores. But that might be a matter of terminology.
Here is the video embed, listen for yourself.
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