Not sure if you heard or not, but Google just rolled out another Panda update today and 1.2% of English queries were impacted. This might not seem like a big deal at first, but if you are one of the website owners on the first couple pages and you go missing, it is.
This is officially version 24 of the Panda update and these changes do not seem like they are going anywhere. Because of this, I thought it might be a good time to take a closer look at what makes a high quality website in Google’s eyes. This way we can make sure we follow their guidelines and get the highest rankings possible.
Here are questions Google asks regarding what makes a high quality website for SEO.
Would you trust the information presented in this article?
This can be determined by the amount of links to the article, social shares or even the credibly of the site. Also, are there facts and figures?
Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
This ties into the new rel author. Is this a real in-depth piece written by a known person? Then it has a good chance to rank.
Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
Google hates to see this. They addresses this well in the initial Panda update.
Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
Do you have security logos? Is the site secure (https) during checkout? Do you have bad links or poor content?
Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
You have to make sure your content is quality all around. Otherwise the algorithm will detect it.
Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
In the end good content always wins. Sure, you can work in keywords but ultimately it is important to bring quality to the table. Especially with social media marketing being such a large factor now. The more shares the better.
Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
Some articles online just repeat what others have said. Others are original and really standout, that is what Google is looking for.
Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
I generally think of this as facts and figures. Do you have the best data on your page?
Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
This was a major part of the Panda update. Sites now need to have a theme and be an expert on that theme. If you try to go too broad it will be very difficult.
Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
This one is straightforward and it is interesting that it falls in line with a general rule I have. Put all of your effort into one of two projects. If you are spread too thin it’s hard to succeed.
Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
Branding, branding, branding! This is what social media is all about people. Run a viral campaign, get those shares, and grow that community! This is a great way to get people to recognize you. And if you have the budget run some TV and radio ads, yes they still work.
Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
I would say this is a big one. There are so many shallow articles out there. Sometimes I think, why did I waste any of my life reading that? When you write content make sure it shines. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and let your thoughts fly! That is what people want, something different.
Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
I already went over this one. Google stole my idea here.
Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
Did you hear about the update Google did where they made it so you rank worse if you have too many ads? I saw many sites drop in rankings when this one came out. More than 3 ads above the fold will usually be an issue.
Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
This is a big one. If too many people mark you as spam or block your pages you will see a drop in rankings. Also, with the new Pirate update, which basically makes you rank lower if someone files a DMCA takedown request, this is something everyone needs to be mindful of. So don’t copy content, create junk, and make GREAT stuff all around.
I hope this article helped you better evaluate your website and content. In Google’s eyes this is what makes a high quality website for SEO. When we do search engine optimization we always keep these things in mind. Of course, there is much more to SEO than this. You can read about it here.