In November 2015, Google completed a significant revision to its search quality rating guidelines, which is publicly available here.
The search quality rating guidelines describe the type of website that Google is looking for. Human evaluators rate websites based on these guidelines, then Google compares the human ratings to the ratings of their ranking algorithms. If these ratings do not match, the ranking algorithms might be improved. So while human raters do not determine individual site rankings, they have an indirect influence.
According to Google’s quality guidelines, the following makes a high-quality website:
High-quality pages are pages that contain “a satisfying amount of high-quality main content.”
According to Google, high-quality encyclopedia articles should be factual, accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. High-quality ecommerce and online shopping content should make it easy for you to find and purchase the products you want.
The quantity of content necessary for the page to be considered satisfying depends on both the topic and purpose of the page. A high-quality page on a wide topic with a lot of available information will have more content than a high-quality page on a more narrow topic.
Well Cared For & Maintained
How frequently a website should be updated depends on its purpose. However, all high-quality sites are well cared for, maintained, and updated appropriately.
Google encourages the quality raters to poke around: links should work, images should load, content should be added and updated over time, to search for evidence that effort is actively being made to keep the website up to date and running smoothly.
A Positive Reputation
If a website has a bad reputation, this has a negative influence on the quality of the website. Google says that website raters should check user ratings, BBB ratings, news articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations to judge the reputation of a company.
High Level Of Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness
High-quality websites and content need to demonstrate enough expertise to be considered trustworthy and an authority on a topic. Google uses the term “expert” for all types of websites and states that they value “everyday expertise” based on real-life experience. A website should not be penalized for not having formal education or training.
Functional Page Design
Your website should be well-organized and have an overall functional layout. The main content should be easy to find. Advertisements and secondary content should not distract from the main content; and it should be easy to see what elements of the page are ads, either by labeling or design of the page.
Offer A Satisfying Amount Of Website Information
Do not hide your contact information. Google wants to see ‘About Us’ information, contact, or customer service information and, if necessary, information about who is responsible for the content and maintenance of the website.
Keep Your Customers In Mind
Remember, when you focus on providing plenty of helpful information for folks that are a good fit for your products and services, you’ll be well on your way to having a high-quality website that ranks well on Google.
Do you have questions about Google’s guidelines? Would you like support for your website? Webb Weavers Consulting based in Ventura, CA can help! Contact Debbie today to schedule an introductory call.