Important updates on the Google Quality Guidelines.
The Google Webmaster Cental blog wrote a while back that they have adjusted the guidelines they use to determine quality on websites. They call it Search Quality Rating Guidelines.
To make sure that the search results showing up in the SERP actually are of high quality, Google has hired in hundreds of testers who examines random search results and conclude that a site is good or bad or somewhere in between.
They do it to make sure that people quickly find the quality information they are after.
If the search engine ranks high-quality pages on top, Google will not do anything. But if a site is classified as garbage with low-value content the smart guys at Google try to find out how they can adjust the algorithms so those pages will loose ranking juice.
In the end, it all comes down to tree factors that make a site “eatable” in Googles eyes. The abbreviation E-A-T. is easy to remember and holds the key to a website with high value. If your site has this, everything should be all right:
You can read more about these three words further down this article about the Google Quality Guidelines You Should Know About.
For me, and you, as a website administrator or SEO consultant who is dependent on organic traffic from the search engines it is crucial to stay updated at all times to maintain the high-ranking positions for targeted keywords. By understanding how Google decides what is quality, and managing to implement this, you keep the traffic flowing and maintain the quality a professional website should have.
If you fail by convincing Google that your site is of quality, you can also be rejected to buy keywords and run campaigns through Google Adwords. I have first-hand experience with that myself.
Leaked Google Secret
The new general guidelines for the test personnel is, in fact, an extremely important and interesting document that actually tells us exactly how Google thinks when they classify quality in 2017. It was supposed to be a secret document, but it was leaked on the net. After that, Google decided to publish all the 160 pages officially for people to see in their webmaster blog.
The document contains links to a myriad of examples of good and bad sites which is worth a look. Read it on your own or read my summary below with the most important points.
These are the things I personally think is fairly simple to implement and fix yourself:
The 9 Most Important Points:
1. Have a clear Purpose with the Site!
It must be clear what kind of page a person have entered. Is it an online store or a bank service? A personal blog? A page related to medical counseling or a humor page? If a user can not understand what the page is about, Google ranks it with the lowest value.
2. It must be Easy to Find the “Home” page!
It must be easy to find the main page or the “home” page of a website. By organic search, people often end up on a subpage. For a reader to assess what kind of website he/she has entered they often go the first page, the “home” page. So does the Google testers. This is easily fixed by having A clickable logo back to the main URL or a separate Home button in the menu.
3. Show Who is Responsible for the Website!
To determine whether a website is written and managed by people with knowledge and not a low-value trick side, it should clearly be visible who is behind the site. This also applies to who is responsible for maintenance. Google says that websites in specific fields such as medicine, legal – and financial advice should be operated by experts in these fields to get a high-value score. If you write about a hobby like model airplanes, it might be enough to just be interested in the subject to get a similarly high rating. Google distinguishes between what they consider “life threatening information”, like medical advice and not. An About Us page addresses this and it should be easy to find on the menu.
This is the E in E-A-T = Expertise.
4. Easy to find the Contact Information!
Equally important as letting the readers know who is responsible for the site, is the possibility to contact and communicate with the webmasters or other professional contributors in an easy manner. This is a great sign of quality in Google eyes! This is solved easily by having a contact form that goes to an email address you check regularly or tell people how they can get in touch with e-mail or phone.
A proper customer support page and contact details are needed if your service is dependent on it. For example, if you run an online store.
5. Update the Website on a Regular Basis!
Pages that are updated and change regularly is a distinct quality sign which proves that the site is live and have the latest information. Also, check that pictures loads as it should and that broken external links are removed. Broken links can be checked with this page.
The update frequency depends on a bit on what kind of site you run. Personal image galleries with holiday images that are meant for the family may be refreshed once a year and still be considered of high value to the readers it is intended for. But a news site without daily updates will, of course, be considered as a low-value site.
6. Good Reputation and Good Reviews!
Google looks at how your pages are discussed to by others, even on your own site. If you have many bad reviews and rumors about your site it will get a low score.
You may well have many and good comments with feedback on your own pages, but Google believes that since these can easily be faked, they must look outside your site as well. Proper comments are incidentally important to answer quickly as this is a sign that the site is updated and taken cared of. Useless comments and spam comments must be removed.
This is capital A in E-A-T – Authority.
Find out what others are writing about your page by typing this into Google: [“yoururl.com” -site: yoururl.com]. With this command, Google searches up the places your website are mentioned, expect your own pages.
One of the key purposes of a website should be that the pages have useful content that helps people quickly with a problem. It can be anything from an answer to a question, recipes, a good review, and to give people fun stuff and humor if they are bored.
Never invent lies and write things that are not true on the website, if it is not a particularly good reason for it. Never auto-generate text or copy someone else’s content directly. This also applies if you directly translate a text to another language. Be sure that the source of your content is trustworthy and an expert in their field. Never pretend to be an expert in matters regarding life and health if you are not.
Read through your texts, avoid typos and be thorough with the grammar. Grammarly is a good service if you want to pay for it. Do not use unnecessary many words or focus on very simple things people already know. Do not stuff keywords in your texts – this SEO method worked before, but not anymore.
This is the T in E-A-T – Trustworthy.
8. Provide a functional and organized design!
A website should download fast, have good structure and be organized so that it is easy to navigate the pages. This is highly appreciated by Google! The pages do not necessarily need to have an attractive and modern design as long as it is fast and functional.
The main content should, as mentioned in point 1, be clear so the reader knows what the site is all about.
Advertisements on the page should not be distracting and not on the top of the page. Adds in the middle of the main content should be avoided as it can be disruptive. Apart from that has Google specified that advertising itself will not make a page rate bad, but the location has a lot to say.
It must also be made clear that a reader is looking at an advertisement by writing something like Add, Advertisement, Sponsored Content or similar.
9. Ensure Mobile Friendliness!
More and more searches come from mobile phones and tablets. Google actually penalizes pages that are not optimized for this. A mobile-friendly page loads quickly and has easy navigation on small screens.
You can check whether your site is mobile friendly with Google’s own tool here.
These nine points are extremely important to implement on your web page. If you have any comments, questions or feedback to this article, please write them down below.
If you do not have your own website yet check out my article on how to get started.
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