Weekly SEO news: 24 November 2015
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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official: Google's definition of a high quality website

For the first time, Google has published the full version of their search quality rating guidelines. The 160 page file was was previously only available to Google's search quality raters.

The search quality rating guidelines describe the type of website that Google is looking for. Human evaluators rate websites based on these guidelines.

Google compares the human ratings to the ratings of their ranking algorithms. If these ratings do not match, the ranking algorithms might be improved. So human raters do not determine individual site rankings but they have an indirect influence.

Google Quality Raters

The guidelines enable you to check if your web pages contain the contents that Google is looking for. For example, the guidelines show Google's requirements for a high quality page.

What defines a high quality website?

According to Google's quality guidelines, the following makes a high quality website:

  1. Good content

    High quality pages are pages that contain "a satisfying amount of high quality main content". Creating high quality content takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.

    According to Google, high quality encyclopedia articles should be factual, accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. High quality shopping content should allow you to find the products you want and to purchase the products easily.

    The amount of content necessary for the page to be satisfying depends on the topic and purpose of the page. A high quality page on a broad topic with a lot of available information will have more content than a high quality page on a more narrow topic.

  2. No technical errors

    How frequently a website should be updated depends on its purpose. However, all high quality websites are well cared for, maintained, and updated appropriately.

    Google encourages the quality raters to poke around: links should work, images should load, content should be added and updated over time, etc. The website audit tool in our web-based Internet marketing tool SEOprofiler helps you to make sure that your web pages do not contain errors.

  3. A positive reputation

    If a website has a bad reputation, this has a negative influence on the quality of the website. Google says that website raters should check user ratings, BBB ratings, news articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations to judge the reputation of a company.

    The social media monitor in SEOprofiler helps you to protect your online reputation.

  4. The website should have a high level of expertise/authoritativeness/trustworthiness

    High quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic. The term "expert" can be used for websites of all types, including gossip websites, fashion websites, humor websites, etc.

    Google explicitly states that they also value "everyday expertise" that is based on life experience. A website should not be penalized for not having formal education or training.

  5. The website should had a functional page design

    Your website should be well-organized and have a functional overall layout. The main content should be prominently displayed and it should be clear what the main content is.

    Ads and secondary content should not distract from the main content. It should be clear what parts of the page are ads, either by explicit labeling or simply by page organization or design.

    What constitutes functional design for a shopping page may be very different from what constitutes functional design for an informational page. While it is important that a page is functional, it is not important that it is pretty.

  6. The website should offer a satisfying amount of website information

    Do not hide your contact information. Google wants to see 'About Us' information, contact or customer service information and, if necessary, information about who is responsible for the content and maintenance of the website.

  7. It's good if the website contains helpful supplementary content

    Although a page can get the highest rating from Google if it has no supplementary content at all, that type of content can help improve the overall quality of a website.

    For example, features designed to help shoppers find other products they might also like can be as helpful as the main content on the page. Helpful secondary content on a recipe page might be a feature to multiply or divide the recipe to make the right quantity of food for a given number of people. Helpful secondary content on a shopping page might be other popular makers or models of the same kind of product featured on the page.

High quality websites get much better rankings on Google. The tools in SEOprofiler help you to make sure that your web pages have a high quality. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

Take a look at SEOprofiler

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
[Google's] Gary Illyes’ recommendations for getting featured snippets

"He said pages should either implicitly or explicitly state the question on the page, then answer the question.

While he didn’t go into further detail, we know from the search quality guidelines that Google likes to show featured snippets that can be answered in 1-2 sentences. And this is definitely the type of results we see in featured snippets."

Related: Google currently does not uses structured data for featured snippets.

John MuellercomScore releases latest U.S. desktop search engine rankings

"Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in October with 63.9 percent market share, followed by Microsoft Sites with 20.8 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and Yahoo Sites with 12.5 percent. Ask Network accounted for 1.7 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1 percent."

Yandex bot starts reading JavaScripts and CSS

"[Russian search engine Yandex'] crawler started reading JavaScripts and CSS in order to receive more detailed insights about web pages, as well as to see how content is displayed for the user in the browser."

YahooThe Yahoo Directory is finally absolutely dead

"We knew it was coming: the Yahoo Directory is now officially offline. Going to dir.yahoo.com now redirects you to aabacosmallbusiness.com.

Yahoo has closed down one of the most historic and prominent sites in the history of the internet. Once thought of as the Google of the internet, the directory is no longer to be found, in any sense."

Google wants to allow site owners to update Knowledge Panels

"Good news if you have ever suffered from having incorrect information show up in a Google Knowledge Panel in the search results. Google wants to make it easier for site owners and individuals to update their knowledge panels and edit them for correct information, according to Gary Illyes during his State of Search keynote Monday. [...]

While Illyes didn’t go into any more details, it would likely be tied into Google Search Console somehow, because Google would need to ensure that it is the site owner or someone associated with the site making changes, and not a competitor making changes for nefarious reasons, when it comes to businesses and similar knowledge panels.  For personal knowledge panels, there could be a personal verification through a Google account."

Search engine newslets

  • Google's search results page sometimes links to Twitter search results page.
  • Google knows about 120 trillion URLs, and 60% of them are duplicates.
  • Bitly introduces Bitly Brand Tools campaigns.
  • Google will contest Russian antitrust regulators’ “unfounded” Android decision.
  • Introducing an entirely new Bing app for iPhone.
  • Google announces 'live' label for search results.
  • Yandex starts to mark mobile-friendly pages in its search results.
3. Recommended resources

New version

SEOprofiler helps you to get high rankings on Google and more customers. It offers all the tools that you need:

  • automatic weekly website audits
  • tools for keyword research and analysis
  • competitive intelligence tools
  • automated ranking checks
  • website analytics
  • tools for spam-free link building
  • link disinfection tool
  • social media monitoring
  • white-label reports (web-based and PDF)
  • AdWords Profiler and Ranking Profiler
  • and much more.

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4. Previous articles
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