Think Panda’s the only thing judging your website’s quality? Think again. Both major players in the search engine world, Google and Bing, both use “quality checkers.” These are human beings whose sole job is to look at websites and decide how relevant and useful they are.
Of course, both Google and Bing’s algorithms are advanced. They can do a lot when it comes to checking content for value, by both looking for keywords and LSI phrases and checking metrics like “average time on site.”
But the Google bots aren’t human (...yet). So in order to ensure absolute quality on the rankings, both Google and Bing use human quality checkers.
This truly shows that there is no gap between designing a site for a human visitor and for a search engine. In many cases, they’re the same thing! This is especially true if a quality checker is going over your website.
So what are quality checker guidelines? Read on and learn, fellow SEO!
Obviously, search engines only want the best of the best to reach rank #1. That way, they can be sure their users are only getting the most relevant and valuable results. As long as that’s happening, users will keep coming back.
It was this philosophy that Google used a decade ago to become the leader in online search. And all of those updates, are geared towards keeping users happy while keeping Google a leader.
There are four categories search engines use to determine the value of a site: Quality, Intent, Authority and Scope.
Intent is simply, “what does the customer want, and does this webpage offer it?” If you’re searching for “guitar lessons,” you obviously want the leading guitar lessons website to come up on rank #1. That way you can click it and get on your way.
When a quality checker looks at intent, they’re entering a query and seeing what pops up. If the site in question doesn’t answer their question immediately, the quality score is lowered significantly.
Takeaway: use an analytics system to track your keywords. What are people landing on your site for? Are you answering these questions quickly and easily? If not, start doing so!
So, it is extremely important to keep your content up to date and relevant. Google will not waste time with sites that do not offer relevant and top quality content for its users, so if that’s you, get used to being at the bottom of the search engine results.
If your website offers pet toys, then your content could range from pull ropes for dogs to catnip-filled mice for cats. The goal is to create pages within your site that are individualized for each specific type of toy, so when a user inserts catnip toys into Google, they don’t end up on just your home page, or worse, the page with pull ropes for dogs. People are fickle, so they want instant gratification in their searches. If they search catnip toys, they expect to be brought to the page that offers them, not to one they have to browse through categories and drop-down boxes or menus to find them.
Sometimes we want simple answers to queries. And sometimes we want a whole lot more. This is where the “scope” metric comes into play.
It’s not just about answering a quick question. Sometimes it is, yes, but many times people use search engines to do real, in-depth research. Does your site provide enough info to help someone dig deep into your subject matter!
The user may have entered your pet toy site just looking for a specific toy, but what if they want to learn more. Maybe they want reviews on specific products, or they want to know what toys are best for growing puppy’s teeth. Do you have information on how to play with your pet, train your pet, or to teach your pet to do tricks? What about information about the toys, do you have anything that tells the reader what the toys are made of, how long they will last and how safe they are?
What starts out as just wanting a pet toy can quickly turn into more. If the user has to leave your site to find the information they want, they will most likely leave, and may never return.
Not only do you have to provide in-depth info on your subject, you also have to be an authority. How else will people know if they can trust your information or not?
To become an authority on any topic, all you need is the right information. Write content that explains in detail what the user wants to know. Write as if you are an expert on the topic. The more information you have on your site on a topic, and the higher quality it is, the easier it is to be seen as an authority.
You can comment on others blogs, answer questions in forums and even ass some authority to your website through social media platforms.
To find out how to build some credibility, check out this article.
Last but certainly not least, quality. We all know there’s a difference between a site that gives you what you’re looking for and a site that completely blows you away through value. This is a site that gives you exactly what you were looking for. But more than that, a high-quality website gives you what you never even thought to ask for!
This is the beauty of the internet. You start out with a simple search query, and within a few clicks find yourself learning about something completely different.
Back in the day, pre-Panda, SEO meant you needed to use the keyword for your topic more than your competitor. I am so glad those days are over, now it’s time to move on to quality information instead of fluff. There are still website owners using 500-word keyword-stuffed articles, but you probably will never see them on the top search pages. Now, Google wants quality, and the reality is that is what the users have always wanted!
Google’s algorithm updates were designed with users in mind. They were not designed to destroy your site. Google wants you to succeed, they really do. The more quality sites they have indexed, the better they look, so why on earth would they want you to fail? Just take the time to ensure you are providing lots of quality content on your website, and that your design is user-friendly, and you will reap the many rewards Google has to offer.
A good rule of thumb is to check out your competitors' sites. Look for topics that have not been explained, or ones that could use more information and write it up. It is important to have the best article and not the 53rd best article, so if a topic has been done to death, and you don’t think you have a totally new perspective that will blow the readers minds, leave the topic alone and look for one that has been less expanded.
Does your site give users this experience?
As you can see, the rating guidelines are fairly straightforward. But they are deep. It’s not enough to simply answer a question with a sentence answer. You need some depth. You need authority. And, above all, you need top-quality.
And yes, quality checkers are very strict. With billions of webpages on the internet, it’s not like search engines are having a hard time finding sites to list. Remember, out of millions of results, you want your site to rank in the top 10. So it needs to be better than all but ten other websites!
If you want rank #1, it needs to be better than all other websites.
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Lastly, don’t forget to run a free on-page SEO analysis. If you’re not ranking on page #1, it could be due to a “minor” issue. Get it fixed now!