Google Release 160 Pages of Search Quality Guidelines

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Google apparently thinks you and I like to read. They didn’t release a succinct version of their search quality guidelines.

Nope, they had to give us 160 pages.

What’s different about these guidelines is they’re specific and clear. We’ve known generalities for some time.

And they outline what their human reviewers should look for. Google’s made no secret that they use humans, as well as their algorithm, to help review websites. After all, you can get “manual penalties,” which are those placed on your website after a human checks it out.

So what’s revealed on Google’s guidelines? Nothing earth-shattering, but some helpful clarity:

  1. Big Business and Small-Business Websites are Judged by Different Standards

Many SEOs have long complained that SMBs get the short end of the stick in the search world.

They may be right. But as Search Engine Watch outlines, Google does not expect SMBs to have as good of a website as a global corporation.

Fair enough, right? After all, WalMart has millions of more dollars than you or I do to build out their website.

  1. The Best content Should Be Written from Those with Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

With 4 million or so blog posts written daily (check this link for a live count), you wonder how many of those posts contain something new, original, or helpful. Wish we had stats on that, but sorry, we don’t.

What pages are actually considered to meet this standard still remains a mystery. But take a look at it in this common sense way:

Someone researching your topic on the web, an average person with little knowledge about your area of expertise, should get the impression you are an expert at what you do. So that means if you write content, it should be in greater depth than everyone else who does the same thing you do.

Remember the golden rule of the internet: be more useful to your market than anyone else because most websites aren’t useful.

  1. The Experience for Smartphone Users

Nielsen released data last year that showed the average US adult spends 34 hours per month on the internet with their smartphone. That compares to 27 hours with their PC.

But, the problem, according to Google, is that many websites aren’t set up well for smartphone users. Buttons need to be bigger. Some pages require the user to scroll left to right to read. Some still use Flash, which smartphones have a hard time displaying. Images might not fit on the screen. Data entry (such as into your website’s contact form) might be difficult.

Those are the major obstacles your website needs to overcome to keep ranking well on Google.

By the way, if you’re having a hard time falling asleep, you can read all 160 pages of Google’s search quality guidelines here.

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