You might not exactly need to be told that Google places a big emphasis on ‘quality’ when adjusting the algorithms that ultimately determine how well sites rank in its search results. But how, exactly, does Google define ‘quality’? Well, that’s been a matter of longstanding confusion and frustration among many online business owners.
A recent Google blog post, however, shed considerable light on what the search engine considers to be ‘quality’ in a website.
Indeed, it listed a series of questions for those optimising their sites with a view to getting them to rank well, across the four subcategories of “content and quality”, “expertise”, “presentation and production” and “comparative”.
So, let’s summarise what Google addressed in the questions it came up with, so that you can make the tweaks your own site might need to achieve strong rankings.
Content and quality
Google’s questions in this subcategory – including “Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?” and “Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book” – show a concern for genuine quality in the content that a given site publishes.
If your site’s content pieces thoroughly analyse relevant topics from multiple angles, incorporating original information or research beyond the obvious things that plenty of other sites are already saying, you can expect Google to give you high rankings in response.
It isn’t exactly a secret that Google places a big emphasis on authority when ranking sites, and that this has been addressed in its algorithms, with inbound links conferring authority based on the linking sites’ own topic and quality.
However, your site’s content and the authors who write it also impact on your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. Do the people writing your content, then, have positive reputations and prominence in your industry? Are they active on other sites and platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and are they regulars on relevant industry forums?
If the answer to too many of these questions is “no”, these are aspects that you might wish to develop in the authors who contribute to your site.
Presentation and production
If Google is even addressing the subjects of presentation and production in its definition of quality, these can hardly be regarded as merely ‘superficial’ matters.
In any case, they should never have been considered to be ‘superficial’ by anyone. After all, should you expect to be able to win the trust of both shoppers and search engines if there are misspellings or grammatical errors on your site?
In its blog piece, Google presented a number of presentation and production questions that were especially interesting with regard to what could trigger manual penalties or lower algorithmic rankings.
These included “Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content”, and “Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”
Finally, Google also put forth a few comparative questions, focused on how well a site compares to its rivals in terms of quality.
It’s well worth bearing in mind, after all, that your site doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve strong rankings – it just needs to be better than the sites it’s competing with for certain keyword phrases.
Is SEO quality a subject that has been concerning you as you look to optimise your site for better rankings in the months and years ahead? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.
We provide acclaimed search engine marketing packages that will help your brand to ensure consistently great quality across every key aspect of its presence on the web.