Google Updates Search Quality Guidelines

Search giant Google has released a new edition of its Search Quality Guidelines. The new document explains how to make the kind of quality content that the Big G wants to see, and weighs in at a hefty 160 pages.

The new guidelines see a further shift towards improving mobile user experiences and away from the traditional desktop environment. Whilst the focus may have shifted towards newer technologies, the overall advice remains the same – create high-quality content that the end user wants and rankings will follow.


Google’s Low-Quality Content Flags

  • Content that appears rushed or created without skill
  • Lacks expertise
  • Lacks authoritativeness
  • Is not from a trustworthy source


What Works as Online Content

This means that that most of the time, there needs to be a reason for the content to be there. This doesn’t mean that sites should stick rigidly to one theme, but there should be a relevant tie into other activity.

For instance, this article (about digital marketing from a digital marketing agency) would be on target, but if we write about a related theme (how a transport dispute affected our business for example) then we would still be staying within our area of influence.

However, if we suddenly started talking about football, without taking on a client or starting related services, then we are clearly moving outside of our area of expertise. It is this kind of content that will not work well under the guidelines offered by Google.


Quality User Generated Content

However, there is an exception made for user-generated content. Discussions boards, even general ones, sometimes play host to communities of interested amateurs that can bring high-quality advice. If you are looking to do something unusual, it may pay to build up a group of readers and contributors first.


Usability and User Experience on Mobile

Google has already signalled its wish to remove pop over ads (particularly on smaller screened devices and mobile platforms, but these are not the only blocks to content delivery that Google has in its sights. The mobile experience is key here and poor navigation (small menu buttons, closely packed links) have been identified as a key source of frustration. Another annoyance singled out by the ‘Big G’ is Flash-based content – a technology that has yet to leave many platforms, partly due to its inbuilt digital rights management, and partly due to the familiarity of developers with the platform.

Whilst it is clear that the mobile user experience is now key, it is also clear that the development of both Google’s guidelines and of the user experience of search is far from complete. More versions of the guide are sure to be released over the coming years, but if you have the time to look through the full 160 pages you can follow the link to view the full guide to Google’s Search Quality Guidelines.