Tag Archive for: content quality

When it comes to ranking a website in Google, most people agree that high-quality content is essential. But, what exactly is quality content? 

For a number of reasons, most online marketers agreed that Google defined high-quality content as something very specific: text-based content which clearly and engagingly communicated valuable information to readers.

Recently, though, Google’s John Mueller shot down that assumption during a video chat. 

While he still emphasizes that great content should inform or entertain viewers, Mueller explained that the search engine actually has a much broader view of “content quality” than most thought.

What Google Means When They Say “Quality Content”

In response to a question about whether SEO content creators should prioritize technical improvements to content or expand the scope of content, Mueller took a moment to talk about what content quality means to Google.

“When it comes to the quality of the content, we don’t mean like just the text of your articles. It’s really the quality of your overall website, and that includes everything from the layout to the design.

This is especially notable, as Mueller specifically highlights two factors that many continue to ignore – images and page speed. 

“How you have things presented on your pages? How you integrate images? How you work with speed? All of those factors, they kind of come into play there.”

Ultimately, Mueller’s response emphasizes taking a much more holistic view of your content and focusing on providing an all-around great experience for users on your website. 

There is an unspoken aspect to what Mueller says which should be mentioned. Mueller subtly shows that Google still prefers text-based content rather than videos or audio-only formats. While the company wants to integrate even more types of content, the simple fact is that the search engine still struggles to parse these formats without additional information.

Still, Mueller’s statement broadens the concept of “quality content” from what is often understood. 

“So it’s not the case that we would look at just purely the text of the article and ignore everything else around it and say, oh this is high-quality text. We really want to look at the website overall.”

Google recently integrated their Panda algorithms into their normal indexing process, and this has sprung up a whole new batch of questions from webmasters. The most common question is specifically how site owners will know if their site has been hit by Panda. Really, it was only a matter of time before Matt Cutts, the noted Google engineer and head of Webspam, addressed the issue.

And that is what he did earlier this week, when Cutts used one of his Webmaster Help videos to respond to Nandita B.’s question, “how will a webmaster come to know whether her site is hit by Panda? And, if her site is already hit, how she will know that she has recovered from Panda?”

Now that the Panda algorithm is a part of the normal search indexing process, finding out if you’ve been affected by Panda won’t be near as easy. You can’t just compare your analytics reports with recorded dates for Panda rollouts. But, Cutts does have some suggestions if you think your site has been affected.

Cutts said, “basically, we’re looking for high quality content. So if you think you might be affected by Panda, the overriding goal is to make sure that you’ve got high quality content.”

Of course, high quality content in this context means sites that offer real value to users. It appears integrating Panda was actually one of the last steps in a shift towards a high focus on high quality content. They’ve been suggesting focusing on value for a long time, and now it is officially a large part of the normal search algorithm.