Check Out the Search Quality Raters Guidelines by Google

Google is all about the people and making sure the best content is shown on their search results. To my surprise, thousands of people are actually the ones judging whether your content is good enough to rank high on the popular search engine. In the spirit of openness, Google just released the 160 page document that give a set of guidelines to these raters, so that you can write better quality content in result. Your content should meet one of the following criteria in order for it to be determined as high quality:

Substantial Main Content of High Quality

You have to make sure that the main purpose of your content is actually helping people, whether it be giving tips, or giving someone an excuse to waste time on the Internet. High quality indicates that you either sharing information (like I am doing right now), sharing opinions, selling a product or service, or just simply providing entertainment. So, what constitutes a low quality? You have low quality if you put no effort into your content, it’s not helpful at all, you are auto-generating content, duplicate content, or you’re just keyword stuffing, you have low quality content.

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High Level of Expertise

This is not say that you have to know everything about what you are writing about. I’m still certainly learning. You should, however, have a reputation of at least knowing about what you are talking about when you write about any subject.

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Website reputation is already something you should be keeping track of because you don’t want your brand to be hated by everyone. I recently wrote an article about how a majority of brands don’t pay attention to reviews. That’s one way you build your rep. Make sure your brand and your website have a great reputation of not only creating good content, but being one of the best at what you do, whether it be selling a product, or a service.

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Supplemental Content

I’ve been doing this the entire time, and if you are clicking on the links to the other supplemental content, then I’m doing an effective job. That’s really all you have to do. Make sure that the supplemental content, whether it be links or even ads help with what the reader is trying to accomplish.

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Optimized Web Design

Again, this is something you should already be doing. You can have the prettiest looking website, but if it isn’t functional it doesn’t really mean anything. You are probably being hurt by poor quality content if your ads are a distraction from the main content, pop-up ads can’t be closed (you really shouldn’t have any pop-up ads, they are super annoying and ineffective), the ads-to-content ratio is high, or you have ads that a part of the sites navigation.

You should also make sure that the website is also being maintained. This means that there are minimal broken links, content is outdated, you don’t have those spammy comments at the end of your content, or the site is performing pretty terrible overall.

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It’s great that Google is willing to share what it takes to make great quality content. It takes out all the guesswork in trying to figue out what works and what doesn’t. My only recommendation is to make sure you take these best practices to better serve your customers, not to gain traction within Google. Once you do that, you’ll have those Google raters loving your content.