I’m not talking about snacks, although that is an important part of the writing process. I’m talking about Google’s recently released and updated search quality evaluator guidelines. This is important for content marketing writers to know about because Google could reward website content which displays Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) with higher positions in search results. And anyone worth their salt at a marketing company in Cape Town, an organic search agency in Johannesburg, or a performance marketing agency based elsewhere in South Africa needs to know just that.
Google's broad core algorithm updates tend to send SEO pros and content marketing writers into panic mode. But the reality is that if a website is made up of well-designed pages, with good UX and quality content, there’s no need to worry. Instead of becoming concerned when Google inevitably releases an update, which it does on a regular basis throughout the year, ensure your website is built correctly from the start.
These guidelines, which serve to inform its evaluators about what to look out for when rating the quality of website content, value content which is clear, concise and well-written. Inevitably, pages which use copied, sloppy and thin content are penalised in search rankings.
This means that pages that search raters feel are high quality when using the guidelines are the pages which Google wants to rank well. Upping your website's E-A-T score will, therefore, improve your chances of ranking well in the search results.
Factors impacting page quality ratings
Google and its raters are looking for pages which show sufficient expertise to be considered authoritative and trustworthy. The guidelines warn that attention must be paid to sites which offer advice – whether medical, financial, legal, parenting or those recommending pricey purchases. These pages are known as “Your Money or Your Life” as they “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users”.
Google does acknowledge that some topics, like restaurant or product reviews, require less formal training and expertise. These are often written by people who are sharing their own experiences and stories of their lives.
“These ordinary people may be considered experts in topics where they have life experience. If it seems as if the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an 'expert' on the topic, we will value this 'everyday expertise' and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having 'formal' education or training in the field,” read the guidelines.
Raters are looking for the following characteristics when perusing a page:
A page’s purpose: this is the first and an important consideration when rating a website. The guidelines say: “Remember that the first step of PQ (page quality) rating is to understand the true purpose of the page. Websites or pages without some sort of beneficial purpose, including pages that are created with no attempt to help users, or pages that potentially spread hate, cause harm, or misinform or deceive users, should receive the lowest rating.”
Main content quality and amount: Raters want to see that a page contains a “satisfying amount” of high-quality main content.
Website information and main content creator information: The website should contain information about itself and the creator of the content, demonstrating E-A-T. If the page includes financial transactions, it should include sufficient customer service information.
Website reputation and main content creator reputation: The website itself and the main content creator should both have a positive reputation and demonstrated expertise in the topic.
Google admits its rating are largely subjective and topic dependent. When discussing what a “satisfying” amount of content is, it says the amount “depends on the topic and purpose of the page”. A page discussing a broad topic should naturally have more content than that of a page talking about a narrow topic.
It’s becoming clear that Google wants to see high-quality content on the pages it displays on the all-important first page of search results. So, be sure you hire talented, expert writers working at a reputable digital marketing company which specialises in SEO services to create content for your business’ website.
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