Google is changing its guidelines to reduce low-quality and unoriginal content in search results. The changes should help users find the content they are searching for. Under the old guidelines, you may find movie reviews, when you are searching for movie tickets.
They will also make enhancements to make it easier to find high-quality and original reviews. Google says the update will target content created for ranking on search engines. The Guidelines are a 150-page document for Google’s search quality evaluators (real people).
Raters determine the page’s quality based on:
- the purpose of the page
- whether it fulfills that purpose
- whether that purpose meets the needs of the searchers
Google puts a special emphasis on verifiable facts that could impact someone’s actions. Some examples of these types of pages are:
- Financial transaction pages: paying bills or shopping online
- Financial information: advice for investments, taxes, retirement, mortgages, insurance
- Medical information: pages that provide medical, nutritional, or health advice
- Legal information: pages that provide legal advice for divorce, adoption, migration, etc.
- Public information: pages with information on government programs, laws, events, etc.
- News articles or current affairs
Reviewers are looking for a page to show formal expertise, factual knowledge, and high-quality information that matches the search topic. For example, Trevor Newsome of TheHoth says: “restaurant reviews, home remodeling, parenting, and other personal life experiences can be attributed to anyone with practical experience, so long as their content is detailed, comprehensive, and entirely factual.”
To be considered high quality, your content should be
- Clear and easy to read
- Detailed and comprehensive
- Created with “a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.”
Pages with low-quality ratings fall into these categories:
- Exaggerated or shocking
- Distracting with excessive ads
- Negative reputation
- Unsatisfying level of facts
Raters look for the following information on a website:
- Customer reviews
- News articles
- Wikipedia articles
- Blog posts
- Magazine articles
- Forum discussions
- Ratings from independent organizations (Yelp, BBB, Google Shopping, Amazon)
I recommend to clients that they add a blog to their website and write at least once a month. One of my favorite ways to blog is to watch a video about a topic and write an overview of what you learned. You can include your video in the blog which will also keep the reader on the page longer, improving your page score.
If you have awards or affiliations you should include their logos and badges on your website.
We also have software that can add your Google reviews to the front page of your website.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to help your content strategy:
- Adequate website background information (webmaster, contact info, etc.)
- Optimized for mobile
- is HTTPS secure
- has a good page loading speed
- has no spammy ads
- is updated
- has consistent high-quality content
- when you think about content topics, think about queries first.
If you are hosting with me, or have a maintenance package these items are already managed for you. But, I always recommend that you add a FAQ module to your website. This will help capture some of the key phrases people are searching for on the web.