Google recently released a new search quality guideline that their employees use to rate and evaluate search results.
Google has hundreds of employees that evaluate the search results as they use the search engine. They are given the search quality guideline to follow in order to determine how well the search results match their search intent.
You can read the whole document in a PDF format here.
The employees report both good and bad results based on this guideline. If they feel the results are poor or need work, Google will take note and tweak the algorithm.
Reading over the guideline will give you around 200 pages of insight on how they determine good results versus bad results. The document outlines exactly what they consider great results.
If you are doing search engine optimization, this is obviously a great document to read and understand. Your goal should be to get Google to think your web pages are great in order to get listed at the top of the search results!
After reading over the document some important points are apparent that help determine quality websites.
E.A.T – Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness
The webpage content and author that is listed should E.A.T. In other words, is the author of the content or webpage an expert in the field or niche? Is the content coming from an authoritative figure and are they trust worthy?
This is really important when it comes to topics that Google considers Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). When users are searching for topics such as finances, health, child support, etc. they have a high impact on the users life and important subjects. It is important that Google provides helpful and insightful content based on the search intent so users can make the best decisions based off their online research.
Other factors like negative citations on popular sites such as the BBB are also a indication of a low quality E.A.T. Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness should be taken into consideration while creating content for the web.
- gather positive reviews and citations
- outline your expertise and experience
- show your credentials
- become the trusted authority in your niche.
Fulfilling User Intent
Google wants to provide the EXACT results the user is looking for when searching. They want the searcher to be thinking – “Awesome, I have the answer now”.
This means every page on your website should server a purpose. Make sure the page fulfills the purpose and meets the needs of those reading it.
This is another reason why long form pages (500+ words) with a lot of content generally rank better in search engines. Typically a page with a lot of content explains topics without missing any details. These are the type of pages that answer questions and leave visitors with everything they need on a topic.
- write content that gives comprehensive answers
- make sure each page on your website is serving a purpose
- focus on the user intent for each page
This leads into the next section..
Content is King
I have covered why content is important when it comes to SEO, but the search quality guideline document just drives this point home.
High quality content is “created with a high degree of time and effort, and in particular, expertise, talent, and skill”. I don’t really know how else to explain how important content is for your website.
Those 200-300 word articles on your website that explain your business services aren’t doing anything for your SEO campaign! If you want SEO traffic, be the expert and write quality, in-depth content!
- write amazing content
- research and produce content that is the best resource online for that topic
- keep your content updated and maintained
Those are the key takeaways from the Google Search Quality Guidelines document. Things like mobile friendliness, site speed, and areas that give the visitor the best experience are all covered in the document.
If you are serious about search engine optimization it would be a good idea to read over the document and understand why all these areas are important for Google.
Start thinking like a ‘search quality rater’ when designing, producing, and creating content to properly optimize your online assets for modern search engines.