“I haven’t witnessed an update as widespread as this one since 2003,” says the author of this piece. Some sites are reporting 90% traffic drops, with even the likes of Spotify and LinkedIn apparently impacted. This is big.

What exactly has changed is still unclear – a few days on results are still fluctuating too much for detailed analysis – but one thing does seem certain: “there are multiple reports of thin content losing positions”.

This has been the trend with Google for a while now, with the firm recommending “focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”

What *is* good content in this context? After all, “quality” is quite a subjective concept.

Well, algorithms aren’t people, but Google’s long been aiming to make their code more intelligent, and better able to understand context and likely relevance. Keyword stuffing has been penalised for years, as have dodgy link-building efforts. Instead, Google is aiming for near-human levels of appreciation of nuance.

Helpfully, though, Google has also put out a list of questions to help you understand if the content of your site is likely to be seen as quality in the eyes of the all-powerful algorithm:

  1. Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  2. Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  3. Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  4. If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  5. Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  6. Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?

All good questions, and all from Google’s own blog.