When it comes to what Google determines is spam, one bad egg can spoil the bunch.

They say one bad egg spoils the bunch, but the same may not be true when it comes to content marketing. Just because a particular article or piece doesn’t live up to certain journalistic or quality standards, it doesn’t mean a brand’s site is going to start ranking poorly for keywords and search queries. But what about the reverse? Matt Cutts recently tackled that question in a Google Webmaster Help Channel video.

This week’s topic was mistakes Google has made targeting webspam. Cutts mentioned he and Google were too lenient on websites that had some good information, despite generally publishing a high volume of poor content.

“I think I might have overgeneralized a little bit and [said], ‘No, no – there’s lots of great quality content on some of these sites,because look, here was this one page that helped solve the diagnostic of ‘Why does your toilet run?””

The most important implication here is brands can’t rely on a single page to lift the profile of an entire site. Even if that page is getting a ton of inbound traffic, either from link referrals or through social media, it’s not going to help Google’s estimation of a company’s overall web presence. That estimation is a broad picture, so brands need to devote time and attention to the impression a human user might have of their websites.

Cleaning up a site’s act

However, this also shines a light on something that should be a content marketing best practice: Site cleanup. When websites are out of date and poorly designed, it may not be a saving grace to add new high-quality content. As Brafton reported, Google strongly advises that websites are reviewed and groomed every so often. Not only will it improve the user experience for visitors – it ensures Google’s crawlers will fully index a site.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.