Passing the sniff test

Someone commented on here the other day saying Google employed 20,000 humans to manually review sites for spam.

I hadn't heard this number before, but it makes sense to me. There is only so much you can do with an algo, so it makes sense they have an offshore warehouse somewhere full of low-cost employees working on manually removing sites that look like spam.

So, with that in mind, SEO is becoming less about tricking the algo and more about tricking the human.

If your site was reviewed by a person getting paid minimum wage, who has to review hundreds of sites each day and might not be in a good mood, would it pass the sniff test?

Design & appeal

Your site is more likely to pass the sniff test if it has some appeal to it.

I own a MFA weight loss splog (spam blog) generated from EZineArticles content which actually generates real enquiries - I'm talking about real people who don't realise that the site was made entirely for getting ad clicks. Since I'm, well let's be honest, fat, I have to reply to them pointing to a real weight-loss resource, as I'm not exactly an authority on the subject.

Not just splogs

Splogs are an obvious area where you need to up your game to pass the human review. But there are plenty of great content websites with bad designs or too many ads, or not enough appeal that could easily be mistaken as spam.

Try some of these tips to keep your sites looking good...
  • Don't use a default theme for your CMS site. Or if you do your own design, try to put at least a little thought into it.
  • Don't plaster too many ads around the place, especially on the homepage, and especially when they aren't providing a great income
  • Add some images to your website - place them inside the content on the most trafficed pages. Most splogs don't bother with content images. Stock photos are fine.
  • Include a Contact us page with at least a form, but preferably street address etc. Contact details in the footer do great things for credibility too.
  • Dress up your content with nice CSS styles. Use color, typeface, and whitespace to make your content look clean. Even if just on the homepage and high-traffic pages.

Anything that increases the visual appeal of your site will help you pass the sniff test.
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Tags: spamscrapersscrapers spam