How Does Google Determine Website Quality?

Recent Google algorithm updates have focused on promoting websites that are of a “higher quality” to the top of the search results. This sounds logical in theory, but how does Google judge quality? After all, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and “quality” is subjective, a matter of opinion.

Cooking Up Quality in the Google Kitchens

So here is the secret on how Google determines the quality of your content – they don’t. Google crawls and catalogs the entire web, and then calculates the relevancy of every website for a given search term. To do this they turn your website into a mathematical formula and then use their algorithm to solve for X (the search term.) Its impossible using this process to determine good content from bad content. Besides, Google is not in the business of telling consumers what to like; they are delivering a product which is search results.

The Issue is Website Quality, Not Content Quality

Google’s ranking model is not about content Quality; Its all about Quality Control. At its core, quality control is a process that inspects a product for defects. Given the amount of data Google can analyze, it’s possible to understand how they might implement a QC formula that is integrated into their algorithm and applied to a website. Data that could be analyzed to assume quality includes bounce and exit rates, time on site, pages consumed, return visitors, visitor loyalty, click-thru rates, bookmarking, social media, and backlinks, as well as a number of onsite and offsite factors. A professional SEO can spot defects in your Internet marketing program from these signals, so can Google.

Can a Website Have a High QC Score with Poorly Developed Content? Not Likely!

QC is a step towards socializing organic search. Web visitors are in essence QC inspectors that leave behind a trail of data that can be interpreted by Google as good or bad. Visitors quickly depart sites that don’t deliver the content they were expecting to see. Every visitor click becomes a vote!

Is QC is the new PR? This represents a major shift for both marketers and SEOs. If QC controls the search results, then its possible to have sites with very little text content rise to the top. No more stuffing text into pages just to get them to score. Smaller sites will have the ability to compete. Big sites will start eliminating (noindexing) pages that drag their QC score down. New sites can compete. Old sites are not automatically considered more valuable. Blackhat SEO methods and link spammers will be less effective, and they will be forced to develop Blackhat QC tactics… Release the QualitySpamBots!

Here’s The Good News:

If you have been working with a search engine optimization company, you have undoubtedly been working on quality control issues for a while now. The bulk of our clients have seen very little negative impact from the recent Google changes.

If you ARE a professional SEO, you just became more valuable! Congratulate yourself with a new acronym – QCO (Quality Control Optimization)

Have Questions? Give us a shout at RightNow Communications

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About David

David Tucker: Search Engine Optimization, Link Building Strategies, Off-Page SEO, Brand and Reputation Management Campaigns, Structural Analysis, and Analytics Consultant. Fighting the good fight against the search engines since InfoSeek and Alta Vista were the top Internet search portals. David has a strong background in technical, design, and hosting related issues. This provides RightNow clients with a layer of SEO that most organizations can not offer. In addition to SEO work, David has developed the RightNow online client reporting system, public website, email and auto-responder system, and the development + branding of the RightNow social media channels. When not working you can find David enjoying the outdoors in Maui, Hawaii


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