Google First Impressions Count

One of my favorite blogs comes from Jennifer Ledbetter at She’s an SEO (of course), and she often

Google Appliance as shown at RSA Expo 2008 in ...

Image via Wikipedia

breaks cool stories before anyone else. She had an easy style, and well… check her out.

On Thursday, she posted an interesting article about Google Quality Score checkers — organic results quality score checkers. Did you know that they’re not employees of Google? Nope. They’re outsource workers that come from different places —, Leapforce, and Butler Hill. There was a fourth company that employed these workers, too — Workforce Logic, but they’re no longer taking applications.

Anyway, these folks have some Internet skills, and use Google as “regular” users. That means, they’re not running AdWords campaigns, checking their Analytics every day, or any number of things SEOs or marketers do on a daily basis. They search.

Before they are hired, they’re asked to take a 2-part exam. The first part is about theory and the second is about practical skills. Once they pass the test, the companies hire them to review URLs. But, they must review them so quickly (20-50 per hour) that a first impression is very important.

They’re asked to decide… if the site is a) relevant to a keyword (what in the real world would be a search query) and b) if the site is spammy.  They’re running through this information so quickly, and they have to make comments in regard to the spam, so your first impression means a LOT.

Think about yourself. When you land on a page with a whole ton of flashing banners or other advertising that blots out the content… what do you think? SPAM. Right? That’s exactly what the quality raters are doing.

I wrote last week about how Google is testing a new algorithm that would assess the content to advertising above the fold… These human eyes are doing it right now, and I’m guessing, put head to head, the algorithm and the checker would come away with similar results.

The days of screaming advertising are over, my friends. If you want Google to love you (and the other search engines aren’t far behind, really), you’ll need to be more discreet with your selling and taking more time to consider where it should go.

Jes’ sayin’.

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