Google have officially confirmed a recent update as to how they assess website content quality. This has happened in the last couple of weeks and is still propagating across the globe, so the full effects are not yet known.
What we do now know, is that Google, starting now, will be paying a lot more attention to the quality of website content, which means there will be winners and losers everywhere. Read on and take action quickly where required – don’t let your website vanish due to poor content .
What has the content quality update changed?
Generally speaking, the update is designed to reward sites providing quality content to users, which backs up much of what we at Deseo Dental Marketing have been saying for many months.
While, in typical Google fashion, they aren’t revealing any details about the specifics of what the update addresses, there are a few things we do know about, based on how Google have talked about quality of content in the past .
Google Quality Rater Guidelines
We can look at the guidelines Google have given their own quality raters to work to, when manually assessing websites, as a good insight into what Google are looking for when they talk about content quality.
While “quality content” is a fairly subjective term, it’s likely that Google has a benchmark in mind for different search types . This certainly comes across from the information available in Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines. For example, in what Google define as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) business niches, which includes “medical & dental”, they have particularly high standards for what they class as High Quality content.
We were able to get hold of a copy of these guidelines, which stretch to 160 pages of information, and we’ve tried to condense the key points below.
Key takeaways from Guidelines
Quality, depth and positioning of content are all regularly emphasised, as are credible sources that support content quality (e.g. where has information cited come from etc) and quality of reputation of the site/brand/author. In addition, the section on “Functional Page Design” is also quite important:
High quality pages are designed to achieve their purpose: they are well organized, use space effectively, and have a functional overall layout. While every page is different, functional pages should have the following characteristics:
- The Main Content (MC) should be prominently displayed “front and centre.”
- The MC should be immediately visible when a user opens the page.
- It should be clear what the MC actually is. The page design, organization, and use of space, as well as the choice of font, font size, background, etc., should make the MC very clear.
- Secondary Content (SC) should be arranged so as not to distract from the MC—SC is there should the user want it, but it should be easily “ignorable” if the user is not interested.
Like everything else, functional page design depends on the purpose of the page. What constitutes functional design for a Contact Us page may be very different from what constitutes functional design for an informational page.
More on what counts as high quality in Google’s eyes
Back in 2011, Google also provided information on how they identify quality content (they were talking about the Panda algorithm at the time, but the same still holds true). At the time, they said the following questions provide an idea of what they are looking for:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value compared to other pages in search results?
- Is the site a recognised authority on its topic?
- Is the content mass-produced or materially visible on multiple other sites ?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
What does it mean for us?
This update doesn’t really change anything about our approach to content from an SEO perspective (in fact, it strongly supports it), but it does help to reinforce some important considerations when designing and developing content.
It also further emphasises the increasing need for the planning of design and content.
Finally, it strengthens our belief that every one of our clients needs to be actively considering website content (and its quality) and the value of this content. It’s pretty much beyond doubt that we’re now in a phase where “quality content” will be rewarded with higher rankings.
If you have any questions about any of the above, or anything you would like to discuss, feel free to get in touch on 020 3004 9494 or visit the contact us via the website