SEO – Improving website quality for better rankings

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

Some time ago Google published its quality guidelines which they provide to their team of website reviewers. This guideline provides excellent insight into how Google determines the quality of a website. This article details key points and recommendations for improving your website quality based on insights gained from that guideline. Recent core algorithm updates by Google have focused on rewarding quality websites and their content.

Clear purpose for the website

The website should have a clear purpose that is communicated on the home page and above the fold. This is sometimes referred to as meeting the 3-second rule.

The same rule applies for each of your main web pages. Is the purpose of each of your web pages clear to the visitor?

Your money or your life websites

If your website is categorised by Google as a YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) website then it will be scrutinised to a higher level of quality standards. YMYL websites include:

  • e-commerce sites (all sites that accept transactions)
  • websites offering medical advice (incl health, drugs, nutrition, mental health, diseases etc)
  • websites offering financial advice (incl insurance, home purchasing, retirement planning, taxation, investments etc)
  • news websites (sites that inform the public of important news and events)

Primary web page content

Your main content on a page should be distinguishable form supplementary content. The main navigation, side section and footer section should be easily identifiable as separate from the primary on page content. If you serve ads on your website, these should be marked as “ads” or “sponsored links” etc.

Clear ownership and responsibility

The website should communicate clearly who is responsible for the website and its content. This is best achieved by having an “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages. It is better to use standard naming conventions for these pages so it is obvious to visitors (and to Google) what their purpose is.

We would also recommend having a photo of your team and personnel on your “About” page. The “Contact” page should have a form and or phone no’s so that visitors can easily contact you. If viable, publishing your physical address is also beneficial and providing map and or direction links.

You should have Privacy Policy and Terms and Condition pages that are clearly accessible to visitors and indexable by Google.

Ecommerce websites

Online stores should clearly publish their payments terms, refund policy and shipping times and costs. Ideally there should be visible links to pages detailing information about these polices and again these pages should be made available to be indexed by Google.

Website reputation

Google’s measurement of your reputation includes looking at reputable external sources such as reviews, references (including citations), recommendations by experts, Wikipedia articles, news articles, forum discussions etc.

On the website you should have a testimonials page and this should be updated with recent testimonials to show that the page is current.

YMYL website with no reputation

If your website falls into the YML category and you have no external reputation, then you are unlikely to rank well in Google’s organic results. Effort should be made to readdress this by getting reviews; press mentions and external citations form credible sources, etc.

Clear evidence of E-A-T (Expertise, Authority & Trust)

Your website E-A-T factors play a significant role in how Google see’s the quality of your website and this is even more important should you have a YMYL website.

Your website content (including quantity of content), information and reputation all form part of determining your E-A-T.

Your expertise should be clearly communicated on the website and certainly on your About page. This could relate to your time and experience in business, awards that you have won, associations that you belong to and should also detail key employee expertise. Key individual employee credentials should reside on individual bio pages.

Quality information in blog articles should be factually accurate and correctly cite key reference sources. Information about website authors should also be clearly provided.

Review your direct competitor websites to review their E-A-T factors and how they present and assert them.

Low Quality Content

Poor or low quality web pages are those that for some reason are not delivering to their intended purpose. The content may by off topic and outside the area of the website expertise, or it may just be thin or light on detail.

You can identify low quality pages in Google’s new Search Console by reviewing “indexed, low interest” pages. Review landing page data in Google Analytics and or pages with low visitor engagement.

Once you have identified low quality content pages, then either remove them or edit the content to improve the quality.

A Good Amount of Quality Content

Your website should have web pages that are of value to your website visitors. The content should be unique and written with care, time and effort and by an author that knows the subject matter and it should be grammatically correct.

The amount of copy on the page should be sufficient to serve the purpose of that page. For example a product or service page for the purpose of generating a sale or an enquiry should be reasonably concise but accurate and clear with what is being offered.

Blog articles pages can be an excellent resource to publish in depth and detailed information.

Content also includes quality images and video.

If your website rankings have been falling recently, then you may be suffering from quality issues. Contact us for a SEO consultation.

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