Search engines now have the ability to punish, ignore and to give preferential treatment concerning websites and how/where they appear on the results page. The mission statement of all web crawlers is to provide the best and most relevant search results, devoid of outside influence, profit margin or popularity.
One of the many ways search engines ensure real and true results is to actively seek out and find websites that violate Google's Webmaster guidelines, for example. In terms of content, the crawlers are looking for duplicate content, words used over and over again (keyword stuffing), generic content and content that is not user friendly.
The key is to clean it all up before you get punished, as the appeal process can be slow and there's no guarantee the ruling with be overthrown anyway. So where can you start, especially if your site has a lot of pages?
Begin your audit by going after duplicate content. Reoccurring content is easily identified by both the search engine and the user, so it needs to be addressed right away. To start the process, make Bing, Yahoo and the like do the work for you.
"Use a site operator, and chain in a few ‘inurl' modifiers to dig through the key directories for your site content. When you run these searches, look for any major discrepancies between the number of indexed URLs and the number that should be there. Dig into the causes of that for actions to resolve," reported Chris Liversidge.
The next step after eliminating repetition is updating and adding fresh content. If you have a page that has content on it that is over four years old, it needs to be refreshed. That will help let the browsers know that you have fresh, new content and it will help the overall user experience.
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