google quality rating guidelines

As Google continues to shift away from keywords in favor of a more user-friendly experience, we have seen a new method emerge for websites looking to optimize their sites and improve upon their Google search rankings. Not only should websites consider what their audience may be searching for, but also pay close attention to the overall quality of their website.

With the latest updates to improve a user’s search experience, Google has employed several Search Quality Evaluators, working to grade sites on page quality, content, user experience and more. Essentially, these raters from Google are looking to score your site’s usefulness and purpose on the internet. Recently, a copy of Google’s quality rating guidelines has been leaked to the internet, providing us with a better understanding of how Google determines a page’s quality rating.  By clearly defining your purpose, producing unique content and establishing your website as a trustworthy authority a business can produce higher quality websites and improve their page quality within Google’s search algorithm.

Determining and Defining Your Purpose

Of the millions of web pages on the internet, each one was likely created with a single or multiple purposes in mind. Whether it is to make someone laugh or to sell a company’s latest product, no page on any website can be successful without first clearly defining its purpose.  With their quality ratings, Google aims to better “evaluate how well the page achieves its purpose.”

Additionally, a clearly defined purpose helps both Google’s raters and your customers understand the intent of your page, helping raters to better score your webpages while helping customers to more accurately find what they are looking for within your website.

Types of Content

Throughout any webpage, content can be typically be classified as main content, supplemental content or advertisements/monetization. The main content serves as any “any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose.” Text, images, videos, tools or other resources can all be considered a part of a webpage’s main content as long as they help drive the overall message of the webpage. Additionally, supplemental content and ads aim to improve the overall experience for a user on your website.

Website Reputation

After the content, a websites reputation or authority is the second most important element that a rater will use to determine a webpage’s quality. While providing information on your own website is used to determine a site’s reputation, it is important to realize that your website will truly be evaluated based on what users and experts think and say about your site. In Google’s guidelines, raters are instructed to “truly evaluate the page quality of the site, not just blindly accept information on one or two pages of the website.” Additionally, the guidelines state that raters should “use reputation research to find out what real users, as well as experts, think about the website,” based off of reviews, references and other trustworthy sources of information. That being said, while there is no substitute for authentic and good reviews of your company, you can work to keep your customers happy and engaged through social media sites and adopting your business based on customer feedback.

Characteristics of a High Quality Webpage

Pages ranked as high quality are those that “are satisfying and achieve their purpose well.”

Within Google’s overall page quality rating, raters are given the options to score webpages from lowest to highest based on the quality of content, the authority of a website and the overall user experience.  With the highest scored pages being the top results delivered in a google search, many companies are left wondering how they can optimize their existing pages or create new pages that will earn higher scores.

Pages ranked as high quality are those that “are satisfying and achieve their purpose well.”  A high quality website will not only feature a satisfying amount of quality and creative content, but also hold a good reputation on both the topic in discussion and seen as a trustworthy source of information.

The main content on a webpage that hopes to achieve a high quality rating should provide a satisfying amount of information while keeping a reader informed and engaged with the topic. The page raters at Google are directed that all pieces of high quality content should take “a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise and talent/skill.”  One way to help any page improve their content rating is by adding in useful videos, pictures or other assets that help to achieve the purpose of the main content while helping your audience stay engaged and interacting with your content. Additionally, supplemental content can be added to help to improve your audience’s satisfaction by providing content that is specifically related to the purpose of the page. Well-used supplemental content may also led a user through your site and improve overall engagement.

While content is highly important to the quality rating of a page, it is important not to forget the functionality and usability of a webpage. If you hope to achieve a high quality ranking, it is crucial that your website is “well organized, uses space effectively and has a functional overall layout.”  When designing a new webpage or website, keep in mind what constitutes functional design within your industry.

As Google continues to evolve into a more user-oriented tool, improving the quality of your website is vital if you hope to capture some of Google’s top search rankings. A high quality website will not only help you to capture the top spots in Google’s search results, but may also help you increase conversions and improve your customer’s engagement with your brand. Not sure how your existing webpages are performing? At Eyeflow, our team will work to provide your company with some of the top internet marketing strategies targeted to help your business develop high quality content and build brand authority. Contact Eyeflow today for a free website analysis and start improving your page quality rankings!

Key Takeaways:

  • Create content that is “satisfying and achieves their purpose well” while keeping a visitor engaged.
  • Proper use of supplemental content will not only improve the user-experience, but also help visitors to stay engaged and guide them through your site.
  • Pay attention to what customers and experts are saying about your brand to improve and build your website’s reputation.
  • Don’t neglect the importance of the user experience on your website, including page speed, layout and ease-of-use.

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Cory is the Director of Content Development at Eyeflow. He graduated with a degree in Multimedia from Point Park University, where he held focus in print writing and online content. When not at work, Cory spends his time conquering Pittsburgh's hills on his bike, tackling DIY projects and crafting creative recipes.

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