So this morning I got on my computer to do some work and decided to check on my Google rankings. This site was hovering around the second page for the keyword “web hosting reviews” and had been for the past month or so. I thought I was doing well trying to open people’s eyes to the pitfalls of other web hosting review sites and how they essentially trick you into signing up for the host that pays them the most money.
Apparently Google doesn’t think that’s very important.
As of this morning, Google completely removed this website from their rankings under the reason of “Thin content with little or no added value.” I can’t even begin to explain how disheartening this is. Having worked on this site for years, having some random robot tell me that my site is low quality is a slap in the face. The exact phrasing from Google is is:
Thin content with little or no added value
This site appears to contain a significant percentage of low-quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value (such as thin affiliate pages, cookie-cutter sites, doorway pages, automatically generated content, or copied content).
Wow. Thanks for that, Google. Apparently writing posts almost daily about a certain topic is considered shallow and low-quality. Might as well change my website to mimic those high-quality “review” websites that regurgitate information, providing no unique insight. Let’s dig a little deeper into Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and recommendations.
#1 recommendation – check for automatically generated content. Well, considering I write all of the information on my website myself, I can guarantee that my website is not automatically generating content.
#2. Affiliate Programs – Yeah, great, my website has affiliate links on it. I don’t try to hide that. But it’s nowhere near how other review sites are. Google specifically states on their affiliate program page that “Affiliate program content should form only a small part of the content of your site” which it does. I have over 300 pages on my site, and only about 20 of them include affiliate links.
Google also says that an affiliate linked page shouldn’t copy info directly from the referred page. Let’s take a look at some of the highest ranking review sites.
WebHostingGeeks.com doesn’t even provide “expert” reviews. The contents of their review pages are simply features taken directly from the web host’s page.
WebHostingSecretRevealed.net has ONLY affiliate linked pages, yet they aren’t in breach of the “small portion” stipulation? How does that make sense?
It also says I should choose a product category that is appropriate for my audience. I’m pretty sure all I write about is web hosting, and the only affiliate links I have on my page are for web hosting reviews.
#3. Scraped content – Like I said before, everything I write here is my own. I’m smart enough to know that Google doesn’t take kindly to copying and pasting information from other sites. That’s just stupid.
tl;dr – Google screwed me for having an honest website that I work hard on while it allows other websites with little to no unique information to profit off of the uninformed. Thanks, Google.