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How Has Google’s Search Quality Guideline Impacted SEO?

By Aron Allen
Dallas Social Media Agency

Google recently released the 160 page guide that outlines how the search results we all see in Google are evaluated. Google stated that this guide is not the end all be all for SEO’s, but still provides the valuable insights that Google uses to measure the effectiveness of their search results.

The guide contains critically important implications, some of which might make you change the way you do things. The first of which is-

Your Money or Your Life

Abbreviated YMYL, Google categorizes some online pages as YMYL if they can significantly impact a person’s life, such as the health or wealth of a searcher. After a page has been placed in this category, Google hold it to a much higher standard and grades it with more scrutiny.

Not sure if your page falls into YMYL? Here’s the list they released.

  • Medical information pages
  • Financial information pages
  • Legal information pages
  • Shopping pages with transactional ability
  • Safety procedure information pages
  • Child adoption pages
  • “Other” pages that impact wealth and health

YMYL is mentioned many times throughout the guide, so it’s safe to say Google sees this as a top priority. Extremely important for those in the YMYL category but also for others, Google tells us how we can make their pages more attractive to them.

How to make your page better in Google’s eyes? Add Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

Abbreviated EAT, Google raters look at the results and judge if your page has all of the above.

Showing that you have expertise is something many websites lack. Listing where a degree or certification came from, how many years has an author been in an industry, or using a well-known name sounds easy on paper but is forgotten by too many.

Authoritativeness is different from expertise in that Google wants to know how long, how far you have been covering a topic or industry, and what level of quality your community is.

Trustworthiness is up to the rater’s ability to believe what a page is telling them. In most cases, visitors respond very differently to pages they don’t trust and behave in a certain manner, which Google can track in numbers.

How can I up my EAT value?

Mentioned as an extreme priority rating by Google, online pages should always be interested in upping their EAT value. Here are some things Google tells us we can do:

  1. Look at your “About” page

Especially for YMYL pages, this information is critical. This is the easiest and most direct way to tell Google about you. Talk about yourself both to document your EAT values, and to tell your visitors what you do.

  1. Design your pages for a good user experience

You’ve probably seen your pages a million times and think they make total sense. But if you get a fresh pair of eyes to look at them and they can’t quite tell what to do or why they’re there, you’re doing something wrong. Make things as direct as possible and don’t confuse the visitor in any way.

  1. Ad experience

If you don’t have ads on your pages, don’t worry about this one. If you do, you need to make sure visitors can clearly tell what on the page is an ad and what isn’t. Google does this to make sure that those that do not want to read the ads, can simply do that.

  1. Your various reputations

There is likely information both about your company and about those who make up the face of your company scattered across the internet. You want those reputational sources to be as easy to find as possible and to show each “face” of your company in an obvious location. Your company reputation also comes in the form of reviews.

What are the standards set for my page content?

Besides offering a low EAT value, Google’s guide shows us a plethora of other blunders pages make on the daily. Here’s your checklist for content errors in Google’s eyes.

  • Is the amount of information in your main content satisfying the readers?
  • Is there enough helpful content?
  • Are you keyword stuffing?
  • Do you have mechanisms for user sharing on the page?
  • Is there distracting content on the same page?
  • Are you moderating and engaging with any commenters?
  • Are you fully-functional on mobile devices? (if not, this is no. 1 priority)
  • Are there many broken links on your pages?
  • Is your content outdated or irrelevant?
  • Are you linking to or have any scam site affiliations?
  • Is your content all original and well written?

Some of these are no-brainers, but all of them are required to rank highly.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, all Google is doing with this guideline is making sure your pages completely fulfill the searchers needs and give them credible information. So if you work on your pages with that first and foremost in your mind, all of these bullet points and numbered lists should fall right into place. But we know that putting the right pieces into your website can be hard work, so you don’t have to go at it alone.

We’ve been helping companies with their SEO for over 15 year, and can help you too.

Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/paper-texture-old-structure-535969/

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