How Google determines Page Quality

We talked a little about how Google determines Page quality on this blog and this. Search evaluator guidelines published by Google talks more about Page Quality in detail.

To talk about it in brief, the first step is to understand the page’s purpose. Then the content is analysed to understand which is the Main Content and if it helps in achieving the purpose of the page.

Why is understanding purpose important? Well, Google says, every page has a purpose and the purpose can be to help people, make money or even to harm them. And the first step to understand the purpose is to understand the Main Content of the page. Google also talks extensively about how to identify the Main Content in a page.

Google says, a high quality page has very high usefulness for the target user base. High usefulness is determined by the purpose of its existence i.e. why does the page exist? what is it trying to achieve? Identifying and analysing Main content helps determine if the purpose is met.

Other factors that determine Page Quality

1. Website where the page is hosted and its reputation

Google says, the website where the page is hosted is an important factor in determining the quality of a page.

Google explicitly asks its search evaluators to look at reputation information of the website. Find its Homepage. Read its Contact us and About us page.

A website’s reputation is based on the experience of real users, as well as the opinion of people who are experts in the topic of the website.

For reputation information, Google says, look for what outside, independent sources say about the website. When there is disagreement between what the website says about itself and what reputable independent sources say about the website, trust the independent sources.

In summary, Google determines the quality of the page by looking at the reputation of the website and its creator. Both, who created the website and who created the content of the page.

1.a. Some websites do not own the content

In many cases, an organisation owns the content for a website, not an individual person. In other cases, an organisation may be managing the website but the content is created by the users of the website. For eg. Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and Wikipedia.

Some other websites, hold licensed/syndicated content. For those websites, they carry the responsibility of the content even though it wasn’t created by the website itself.

2. Creator of the content and their reputation

If the creator of the Main Content of the page is different from the creator of the website, it’s important to understand the reputation of the creator as well. It can help understand what a website is best known for, and as a result how well it accomplishes its purpose.

For YMYL informational topics, the reputation of a website or content creator should be judged by what experts in the field have to say. Recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies, are strong evidence of a very positive reputation. We talked about what YMYL is in this blog.

3. Website traffic is NOT a quality indicator!

This might come as a surprise to you but Google explicitly states in its Search Evaluator Guidelines that:

Sometimes, you will find information about a website that is not related to its reputation. For example, pages like have information about Internet traffic to the website, but do not provide evidence of positive or negative reputation. You can ignore this information since it’s not helpful for Page Quality rating.

– Google in their Search Evaluator guidelines

So, just because a website is receiving high traffic, it does not mean, it is a high quality page!

In summary, Google recommends every search evaluator to determine the quality of the website and the creator of the Main page content.

Why is all this useful to know

We do not know how Google Algorithm works but there are indications that tells us about Google’s philosophy in rating a page. One of the most important of them is what they tell their Search evaluators and this is published in the Search evaluator guidelines they publish. We talked about it here.

This knowledge can help us formulate a better SEO strategy for our blogs.

So it makes a lot of sense to read what Google tells its Search evaluators. We will talk more about it in the future blogs as well.

Stay tuned.

– team

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