Facebook to Penalize Posts Linking to “Low-Quality” Web Pages In New Algorithm Update

May 25, 2017

Collective Measures

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Facebook recently made an update to its algorithm that aims to provide users with a better experience. The changes come in response to user complaints that several web pages were filled with substandard or misleading content, and featured intrusive or malicious ads.

The new stringent standards are similar to Google’s Panda update, which aims to prevent websites with low-quality content from ranking in search results. With Panda, Google set the tone for user experience, both in the quality of on-page content and the advertisements featured on the page. Now, to meet industry standards, Facebook is adjusting its News Feed algorithm by reducing the visibility of websites that lead to “low-quality” experiences.

A similar policy has been in place for some time for advertisers to ensure that users are getting quality experiences from the ads they click on. But Facebook wanted to take it one step further by implementing similar standards for organic content.

Web Page Recommendations

To avoid penalization, Facebook recommends avoiding the sharing of links to web pages that contain the following:

  • A disproportionate volume of ads relevant to on-page content
  • Sexually suggestive or shocking on-page content – See Facebook’s Sensational Content and Adult Content policies
  • Web pages that feature malicious or deceptive ads – See Facebook’s Prohibited Content policy
  • Pop-up or disruptive interstitial ads

According to Facebook, brands and publishers that adhere to the new standards could see a lift in traffic, and those web pages with poor experiences could see a decline. However, performance impact will vary from publisher to publisher as there are several components to the algorithm change. The update is set to be slowly rolled out over the next few months.

What This Means for Marketers

Brands and publishers who are currently advertising on Facebook should already be familiar with the company’s policies regarding content quality and ad standards. Now everyone posting on the platform needs to ensure they’re linking to high-quality web experiences to stay visible in Facebook’s already complex algorithm.

To provide the best experience, avoid posting articles with clickbait-style headlines and content that offers little value to visitors. Additionally, if ads appear on your site, ensure they meet guidelines and best practices from both Facebook and Google. Although making these adjustments may require extra effort up front, in the long run it will lead to more web visitors and a stronger connection with consumers that will keep them coming back for more.

More web experience information from Facebook is available here.


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