Google Has Spoken.

It seems that Google is actually telling us stuff that we need to know.

Yes, they have just ACTUALLY published a rather long and exacting 160 page document on their new quality guidelines. This gets us SEO people all excited. Yes, I know it’s tragic. If you so desire you can read it here

Google never actually tells us how they rank websites. Not really. We just know that if we do certain things within a website (quite a lot of things, actually) the search engine crawlers take notice and start ranking it higher than the crappy websites with no SEO on them – or worse, dodgy SEO.

Having read the document and not actually died, I thought that you may like to read my take on what it’s all about.

Firstly, though, there’s a chap called Brian Dean that I’d like to credit. Although his writing style is a little too in-your-face for my liking, his posts educate, inform and are easy to read. And, they get shared a lot, which is the whole point of it. And I’ve learned a lot from him. Hmmmm…maybe not so bad after all. Anyway, my old mucka Brian is the inspiration for this post, so thank you very much, Mr Dean.

So, what’s all this about?

Google, that MASSIVE search engine that decides where to place your website in the rankings on search engine results pages has for the first time published a list of its Search Quality Rating Guidelines. Why am I pleased? Because, as a copywriter, it’s all about the CONTENT and for YOU this means that good quality content writing is once again at the top of the tree when it comes to website rankings.

Here are the top three points:

1. Highly meets, vs. Fails to Meet.
In a nutshell, and I’m actually quoting Google here, “The guidelines reflect what Google thinks search users want”. So, they like ranking pages that satisfy a search term, in effect a question. If someone was searching for, oooh I don’t know, “Copywriter/Sussex” they’d find me, what I do, how I do it and how I’m different from most copywriters.

Tick. Highly meets (although I do say it myself)

2. Front and Centre
Your content should be the FIRST thing that website visitors see. Any scrolling down the page to find out about your services and Google does the upside down opposite of smiley thing, thus :-(

Is your content at the TOP and in the CENTRE of your page?

3. Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness

If you know your stuff, Google likes you. If you make it VERY clear that you really know your stuff, the king or queen of the search engines approves and will rank your website accordingly.

Don’t know your stuff, or you’re not sure? Borrow it, quoting other experts or sources and link back to them.

Reputation is important, too. Awards or recommendations from trusted experts in your field (the topic must be related) is vital. If you’ve won a Best in Show award and you breed dogs, mention it on your website (again, with a link). If you’re part of the Leathersellers Guild and you make handbags – yep, you’ve guessed it. No idea if such a guild exists, I just hope it does.

What else?

Well, they couldn’t really make it any clearer: you need a “comprehensive amount” of main content and the “main content should be the reason that the web page exists”.

Of course, the opposite applies, so if your website is deemed to be of low quality (mainly down to its content), it may well sink like a stone. Bad news. To finish, and yet again, I quote from the Google article: “ We will consider content to be low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.”

So, before I keep repeating the word “content”, I’ll stop. Know any good copywriters? Hmmm?

Susan Beckingham

December 2015