It's safe to say this is an unprecedented time in SEO. The beginning of 2011 has proven a difficult one for Google's PR team, with widespread attacks on its search relevance. The attacks came from all corners, from prominent publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and influential blogs like TechCrunch and Stack Overflow. "The spammers are winning! Relevance sucks! Google's quality sucks!" the papers proclaimed. But is it true? In a rather defensive mode, Matt Cutts published Google 2000 vs Google 2011 in an attempt to prove that results haven't detiorated. I have to agree, in most cases the results at Google are higher quality and more relevant than they were in the past. (Although, I personally dislike the move away from host crowding and agree with Danny Sullivan on that.) Sure, there are issues with Google, but relevance probably isn't the major issue. So what is? Commercialism of the web? Too much brand bias in Google? Too much SEO? Too much thin content? Surely, thin content first made popular by sites like Mahalo are a problem. eHow and Demand Media's other content-churning sites aren't always the best sources (although they can actually provide good pages, depending on the query). There are many examples of thin content winning mostly because of the following:
- The domain it's published on has authority, trust, and a lot of links.
- The content and URL are well SEO'd to include exact matches of the query.
- The internal links across the domain are structured to use exact match anchors pointing to the content and related content pieces.
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