Stop What You’re Doing And Read Google’s Latest Search Quality Rating Guidelines

Do words like “search engine spiders” and “Quality Raters” send shivers down your spine? Do you sit up at night paranoid that Google is trolling your website, looking for excuses to knock it down in the SEO rankings?

google-485611_640If so, it’s not surprising. Trying to stay in good graces with Google’s ever-changing search engine optimization (SEO) policy can certainly feel daunting—especially if you’re new to the content marketing game.

It’s important to realize, however, that the good folks over at Google aren’t out to punish your business by diminishing its SEO ranking. They want your website to function optimally and rank well. After all, the better your website operates, the more efficiently their search engine works. The last thing Google wants is for end users to find your website from their search engine, click on it and have a poor experience. It makes them look bad.

With this in mind, Google just did you a big favor by releasing all 160 pages of its recently-updated Search Quality Rating Guidelines—the internal document that Google distributes to its own Quality Raters who comb listed websites looking for red flags.

From a content marketing perspective, this document is a gold mine. For instance, did you know that Google classifies content into three categories? Here’s a breakdown of the three types:

  • Main Content (MC): As Google explains, MC can be comprised of text, videos, images, or any other page feature like calculators and games. MC can be user-generated, too. In short, it’s “any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose.”
  • Supplementary Content (SC): This type of content does not help a page achieve its purpose, but impacts the user experience. As Google points out, a navigation link is a good example of SC as it directs users to other parts of the website.
  • Advertisements/ Monetization (Ads): This is content that is posted with the sole intention of driving profits. Interestingly, Google explains that ads do not play a part in determining a high or low quality ranking.

Aside from explaining the different types of content which make up a website, the guide also goes into much deeper issues like determining a satisfying amount of high quality main content.

“The quality of the MC is one of the most important considerations in Page Quality rating,” the guide explains. “For all types of webpages, creating high quality MC takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise and talent/ skill.”

Also keep in mind that Google encourages its Quality Raters to spend at least a few minutes interacting with a website’s MC. So make sure that your developers are actively monitoring your website on a daily basis, fixing bugs and making sure everything is in the proper order and working correctly.

“The purpose of the page will help you determine what high quality content means for that page,” the guide explains. “For example, high quality encyclopedia articles should be factual, accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. High quality shopping content should allow you to find the products you want and to purchase the products easily. High quality humor content should be entertaining.”

Spend some time browsing through this guide, and it will be clear why so many businesses are now choosing to outsource content production to a dedicated content strategy vendor. A lot more time and effort goes into ranking well than you may initially think.

Click here to read the guide for yourself!