The Latest Changes to Google’s Search Quality Guidelines
Find out how Google’s new Search Quality Guidelines will impact on your website content.
According to Google’s new guidelines, pages will need to have a ‘satisfying amount’ of high quality Main Content (MC). This must include a well-structured website with functional page designs, and useful information such as contact details. In addition, the website should be authoritative, trustworthy, and deliver an expert opinion on the topic.
Google states that a ‘high quality page’ covering a broad topic with a lot of information will have more content than an equivalent page with a ‘narrow topic’. For example, a travel company specialising in budget holidays should provide high quality advice on how holidaymakers can get good value for money, whereas a financial adviser should offer useful, expert financial advice that’s relevant to the target market, too.
Google has performance indicators for page quality, with ‘Highest Quality Pages’ demonstrating expert and/or skill and achieving their purpose to a very high standard. The indicators also include reputation – the recommendations or accolades of the website from professionals and/or experts. Of course, new websites that have yet to build a reputation will be at a disadvantage, so it could be argued that these guidelines are too idealistic.
Low quality content
Google defines Low Quality Main Content as that which is written quickly with no editing, does not contain any expertise or skill, and does not achieve the website’s purpose. This means anyone writing a topic should have expertise or a strong knowledge of it, otherwise they will simply be creating generic, non-authoritative content. The Panda updates largely addressed low quality content.
Consider, for example, someone, without any experience of accounting, writing advice articles on accounting software. Ideally, the writer should have sufficient knowledge of the subject (or be a trained accountant or studying towards a relevant qualification) to ensure they can project their expertise and skill into the content.
Efficient content is increasingly important
In particular, copywriters should steer clear of using too many words to communicate an idea, and avoid stating the obvious. For example, when writing about a city like London, don’t write ‘the British Museum is situated in close proximity to Russell Square Underground Station’. Be more succinct and factual, and just say something like ‘the British Museum is 0.2 miles from Russell Square Underground Station’.
A Functional Website
The design of a website must be appropriate for its purpose. Google refers to this as ‘functional page design’, one that is relevant for the services/products. For example, a financial adviser would need a website design that is professional and minimalist, whereas a clothing brand could be much more creative and colourful.
The Needs Met Scale
Google will now rate how well your mobile website satisfies your mobile users’ needs with five key categories. The highest rating, ‘Fully Meets/FullyM’, means all or the overwhelming majority of mobile users would be satisfied with the result, whereas the worst rating, ‘Fails to Meet/FailsM’, would indicate that, in all cases, the users’ needs have not been met and they wish to see other results.
The Evaluation Platform
This platform allows you to acquire and rate tasks, with the red numbers representing tasks, your Gmail account, tasks recently completed (i.e. within the last five minutes), acquisitions, and an experimental task.
Understanding Your Mobile Users
In 2016, there will be more of an emphasis on mobile user needs, and Google wants brands to make tasks as easy as possible for customers. At any place, at any time, users want instant results, and part of that means ensuring web pages load fast enough to prevent the user from becoming frustrated.