Creating high quality content for your inbound marketing and SEO efforts is tough. It really is an art to create engaging content that is beneficial for search engine ranking as well as informative and easy to consume. Thankfully, Google gave us a glimpse into what they’re looking for when it comes to quality content. They released their search quality rater’s guidelines, allowing us to see how they rate content as high quality.
Any insight into the Google’s algorithms is welcome!
Based on these guidelines, there are a some points to keep in mind as you work towards the goal of great content for your business or website:
– Write for Your Audience
With Google’s algorithm becoming more and more advanced, it is important that you write for your audience. Targeting the reading level of your potential clients, keep sentence structure short and logical, and focus on readability. All these things are essential for most SEO content marketing, because it will result in users spending longer reading the content, and thus, a lower bounce rate.
– Write for the Guidelines
But, writing interesting blog posts isn’t all you need to be considered as a provider of high quality content in Google’s eyes – the page you are writing for needs to exhibit expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google has come up with an acronym to make it (sort of) simple: E-A-T. Let’s delve deeper into what kinds of high quality content that Google considers to be E-A-T content worthy of a high ranking.
E-A-T Content and What It Means for Your Business
In order for content to be considered high quality, it must be published on a website or page that has a high amount of “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” Characteristics of a high quality site with E-A-T qualities are:
Satisfying Main Content:
There must be a good amount of high quality main content that satisfies the purpose of the page. Google considers this to be “one of the most important criteria in Page Quality rating.” Basically, Google wants to make sure that the reason the searcher came to the page (shopping, gathering information, playing games, answering a question, etc.) was fulfilled by the main content on the page. This takes a significant amount of skill, effort, expertise, and/or time. Also, whether or not a page is considered high quality is relative to the purpose of that page. If the page offers in-depth medical advice, it will be much more complex than a page where you can play a game. It is also relative to the narrowness or broadness of a subject. Pages about a narrower topic will have less content than one about a broader topic – but, they can both be considered a high quality page.
High Quality Main Content:
Additionally, the content must be high-quality. Using too many words to simply fill up the page, repeating sentences in different ways, and other time-saving techniques will be noted (basically, if you employ any tactics you used in high school or college to meet the required number of pages, you’re busted). According to Google, pages with low quality MC are those “without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill. Pages with low quality MC do not achieve their purpose well.” Even if a page has a good amount of main content, if it is filled with distracting or misleading advertisements, the quality of the page will be lowered.
Clear Customer Service/Contact Information:
When E-A-T is assessed for a page, whether or not there is clear contact and customer service information is a critical part of the assessment. Google calls this “clear and satisfying website information.” Basically, they want searchers to be finding a trustworthy source. Obviously, this trust needs to be higher for more serious topics, such as medical or legal advice, vs. a gossip or hobby site. Less-serious websites do not need to display such in-depth contact information to be considered high quality.
In order to receive a high page quality rating, the website must have a positive reputation. In other words – a low-quality site will drag down even the most in-depth, authoritative, great content. Businesses with many bad reviews and negative reputation will receive a low quality rating.
High Level of Expertise:
It seems as if everyone is an “expert” on the web, so how does Google determine the level of expertise of any given page? According to Google’s guidelines, the “standard for expertise depends on the topic of the page.” Your goal should be to strive to be the expert in the topic you are writing about.
Sites Providing Expert Content: Your Money or Your Life
Don’t panic: I didn’t just threaten you. Your Money or Your Life, or YMYL is the term Google uses when it refers to content that requires a high level of expertise. Most people haven’t even heard the acronym, let alone know that Google has an entire section in their guidelines dedicated to it. Let’s dive in to better understand what YMYL content is, and how to abide by the rules Google has set for the best ranking and value to searchers.
Don't panic: I didn't just threaten you: Your Money or Your Life is the term Google uses when it refers to content that requires a high level of expertise.
According to their guidelines, YMYL pages are pages that “could potential impact the future happiness, health, or financial stability of users.” So, if you’re writing expert, technical content for industries like the financial, medical, or legal industries, you need to tailor your content for this audience, simply because the topic demands trustworthiness. Here are some examples of these kinds of pages:
- Medical information that provides advice or information about health conditions, nutrition, drugs, or specific diseases.
- Financial information that gives advice on taxes, retirement planning, buying insurance, investments, etc.
- Shopping or financial transaction pages that allow users to pay bills, make a payment, etc.
- Legal information that provides advice for child custody, criminal matters, divorce, or bankruptcy.
- Miscellaneous information about important, life-altering subjects, such as adopting a child, or safety information.
According to Google’s guidelines, these pages must come from organizations with the correct expertise or accreditation. In order to be considered high quality content that provides an expert opinion, be it medical, law, or financial related, needs to come from an expert source. Even content about serious issues like remodeling your home, parenting your children, or adoption need to be from an expert. Sites that are about hobbies that require expertise, such as music, photography, or other highly technical activities also need to have a level of experience associated with it.
To Sum It All Up: Write High Quality Content
Congratulations – you made it through all the major guidelines and rules! If you really want to dig deeper into the topic of E-A-T and YMYL content, as well as other quality guidelines, download the full PDF. While this all may sound confusing, and/or overwhelming, don’t curl up and stop writing content due to Google guideline-related stress. The key takeaway from Google’s guide is this: Write content you would enjoy.
No one wants to read spun content. No one wants to read a page stuffed with keywords. No one wants to read a page offering serious advice from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. So don’t create pages you wouldn’t want to read.
When you boil it down to common sense, it’s really much easier to understand where Google is coming from. Their goal is to provide the highest-quality content in the search results. We just need to provide the right content, and together, we’ll make the internet a better place.
Do you need content for your website or business? We can help! We know how to write great content for customers and search engines, and can help your site get to the top. Submit the form below, or give us a call at 303-500-8600.