Google gives priority in search results to ‘quality websites‘ but gives no single definition of this standard. But there are clues. In today’s blog I’m discussing some of the factors that contribute to a quality website — and some practices to avoid. But always remember the # 1 rule of quality web content – make sure all text on your website contributes to a great user experience.
A quality website contains well-written text that uses correct punctuation and spelling — plus presented in a way that’s easy for a web visitor to skim read. Reading on any screen is challenging — and you want your visitors to have a great experience while on your website — so use short paragraphs, sub-headings, bullet points, and images that support the text.
It’s especially important not to publish text that has been automatically generated by computer software. Google’s quality guidelines warn of penalties for anything:
- Translated by a computer and posted to the website without being edited and reviewed by a human reader first.
- Curated or copied from another website without explanation — or in way that adds no additional value.
- Processed through a computer program that automatically generates synonyms or tries to mask the original copy.
Google penalises websites who use automated text because they end up creating a bad experience for the user. Nobody wants to read boring copy that sounds mechanical and clunky.
A quality website is clear about who owns the site and who wrote the content. So make sure you demonstrate the content is created and edited by people with expertise and authority on the topic.
- News sites that display the names and professional bios of their content writers, section editors, and the editor-in-chief.
- Environmental and scientific sites that link to peer reviewed journals and trusted academic references.
- Trade services websites (eg, plumbing, carpentry, construction businesses) that display licence numbers, trade qualifications, and registered business addresses.
Site visitors and readers have a better experience when it’s clear the content was written by an expert or authority in their industry, trade, or community sector.
A quality website use keywords and phrases that closely match the products and services their business actually provides. Google makes the following recommendation:
“Know what your readers want (and give it to them). Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic.”
When a tourist standing on the Esplanade Boardwalk in Cairns searches for bakeries Cairns CBD and your bakery from Perth turns up in search (because you tweedled the keywords) it’s a bad experience for the user.
Google isn’t interested in indexing dodgy websites. So publish original content (not something copied from your competitor) and link to quality reference material. You’ll also need clear and up-to-date information about shopping, financial transactions, visitor privacy, and data collection.
- Subscription website that prominently displays membership and cancellation fees.
- eCommerce site that clearly displays information about returns and refunds, shipping costs, payment methods, and account security.
- Affiliate sales website that publishes original product descriptions and blogs — plus has clear disclaimers and notices about affiliate income and referral fees.
No matter what you publish on your website — text, video, images, audio — always screen the content by asking yourself … is this content relevant to the reader? Does it tell a site visitor something they don’t know — or in a new way? And does it contribute to a great user experience. That’s the essence of search engine optimisation (SEO).
© 2020 Melinda J. Irvine