As a freelance writer who spends most of their working time writing content for web pages, I like to keep up with what’s going on over at Google, so that I can refine the service I offer as Google moves the goalposts. So I would like to share something I discovered today. In light of the Panda and Penguin updates, most website owners now understand that page quality counts.
However, I am sure that many are not aware that it is not simply an automated algorithm which is scanning pages for shoddy content. Google is actively seeking out badly written content manually, and reducing its search impact. Google now employs a team of people who read web pages, and make judgments upon the quality of text found on the page, judgments that affect search rankings.
Take a look at this statement which Google uses to describe the goal of its page rating initiative to this team:
“You have probably noticed that webpages vary in quality. There are high quality pages: pages that are well written, trustworthy, organized, entertaining, enjoyable, beautiful, compelling, etc. You have probably also found pages that seem poorly written, unreliable, poorly organized, unhelpful, shallow, or even deceptive or malicious. We would like to capture these observations in Page Quality rating.”
Just look at the requirements here, the key facts being that pages need to be well written, compelling and entertaining to be rated highly. This means that keyword stuffed, shallow content, with little structure or body is going to begin being penalized in search rankings.
Click the image below to see a screenshot of the web application which Google staff use to rate pages:
Check out the sections that ask the person rating the page to a) assign a quality rating to the main content, and b) rate the helpfulness of supplementary content. This means that Google staff are actually reading what is on the page of your website, and assigning it a rating based on the quality of the words on the page. Including how well written, informative and entertaining it is.
What does this mean for webmasters? Well, it means that the days of buying cheap bulk content from overseas content mills, staffed by non-native English speakers with questionable writing ability, is becoming a thing of the past. Moving forward, you need to start thinking quality instead on quantity. This means proper content, which is well written, structured intelligently, and of value to website visitors.
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