Attribution Update: Penalizing Plagiarism

The first algorithm change for 2011 came on January 28 and improved on content attribution. Simply named as the attribution update, it looked at ways to sieve websites and stop scrapers. It was developed for eliminating spammy websites from getting indexed and ranking in the SERPs.

What’s It For

With Google’s ultimate goal of providing relevant, fresh, and complete results to users, spam has no place in the search engine. Before this update, the team has been fighting spam in its earlier algorithm changes namely through Cassandra, Austin, and the nofollow attribute update.

However, there are still some websites that continue to perform black hat techniques even when the search engine company has made it clear that these practices are highly discouraged and will only damage their site’s reputation in the end. Webspam is defined as pages in the search results that don’t provide value to users; they’re only there because they cheated their way into higher spots in the SERPs and violated search engine quality guidelines.

Initially, the redesigned document-level classifier that the team implemented fought back against pure webspam. They have also improved on detecting hacked sites, which were a significant source of spam in 2010. With the current attribution update, Google has launched multiple changes including one that primarily impacts websites that copy content from other pages as well as ones with low levels of original material called content farms.

In their blog post, Google also clarified that they don’t prioritize sites that are serving Google Ads. There were rumors that the search engine doesn’t take strong action on spammy content in their index for websites that displays paid advertisements. The team explained that they devalue and penalize domains that violate their guidelines and that these ads don’t influence rankings.

What Were Its Effects

Google guy Matt Cutts, who is also the head of the company’s webspam team at the time, revealed that they had a targeted launch that impacted approximately two percent of queries. Nonetheless, he added that only 0.5 percent of results garnered changes that are noticeable for the users. The significant effect was that the search engines now displayed original sources of the content instead of a site that merely scraped or copied the post.

What It Means for You

Nowadays, it’s still crucial for you to post original content for SEO and legal purposes. To clarify, original material doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only post new research. You can collect valuable information on a topic from various authoritative sources and including the items that you think your readers will like to produce a knowledge-rich article. Another technique is to express your opinion or perspective on a particular subject matter.

Here are some tips that you can do to create original and unique content:

  • Stay Updated with Trending Topics – Paying attention to the trending and rising topics on social media can help you provide current and up-to-date information to your followers. Twitter, particularly, has a section dedicated to what people are tweeting about. It’s a valuable tool for generating current news that may be of interest to your subscribers.
  • Focus on Users’ Emotions – Anecdotes and personal stories have become popular methods for producing content because of their effectiveness in making people remember your message through their uniqueness. That’s why most viral posts trigger emotions whether they’re humorous, heart-breaking, or controversial content. You can use this tactic to spark a conversation about a particular topic or your products and services.
  • Get to Know Your Target Audience – This fact can’t be stressed enough. In business, you have to truly understand your target audience so much more than just their demographics. Today’s generation of search engine users has a general idea of what they want and enjoy. You must use analytics tools to find out what their preferences are and base your content on the information you’ve collected. With this, you can ensure that your blog posts are always a hit because they’re created primarily for your potential customers or buyers who are most likely interested in your products and services.
  • Read Other Blogs – Going through other blogs that interest you can be a topic goldmine for your own website. Reading their material can inspire your content. One slight drawback from reading other people’s writing is that it may be difficult for you to find a different angle or perspective from which to write about especially if the blogger expressed their thoughts well and convincingly. You can start by just going through the titles of blog posts and move toward jotting down your opinions on various content.