Figuring out Google’s algorithm is a constant task for SEO companies. One big thing that we try to figure out is what factors Google looks at to determine if a page is high-quality or low-quality. It’s a long list of factors from spelling errors to page loading speed. What we do know is that pages Google deems “quality” get ranked higher. This is vital for SEO, especially since removing low-quality pages also results in a ranking boost. So while we might never know for sure, here are a few tips to help you determine if Google will see your page as “low-quality”.
How Does Google Assess Quality?
Google has shifted their attention in the past few years to focus on user experience. What that means in terms of their search algorithm, is that they favor sites that give users what they want. This user-focused shift can be seen all over tech. Now that more options are available, it’s more important than ever to lock in the user when they do visit you. On Google’s list of what makes a page high-quality, you’ll see a lot of user-focused items, and some other ones that might be a bit more surprising.
Factors that make a site “high-quality”:
- Unique Content
- Unique Value: Users get something special from the content on your page
- Back Links: From sites that are also high quality, reputable, and are relevant
- Page Answers Searchers Query: Google keeps track of how long users spend on your site, but also what they do after they visit it. If they continue their search Google takes note that they didn’t find an answer on your site. If this happens repeatedly they’ll lower your ranking.
- Fast Load Speed
- Responsive Design: A site that can be accessed from any device, including mobile ones
- Correct Grammar and Spelling
- Non-Text Content Has Text Alternatives: Content that doesn’t have text, such as images, videos, or audio, should have alt-tags, transcripts, or a summary so that Google can comprehend the content
- Well Organized and Easy to Navigate
This isn’t an exclusive list, but these are the main item that Google considers when they place weight on a website.
How to Figure Out the Highs and Lows
Now that we know what Google looks for, it becomes a little easier to find the pages that don’t meet that. The answer to whether or not a page is low-quality can’t always be answered in a single metric though. Looking at some metrics by themselves can be misleading. Instead, make sure you look at a combination of factors to determine a page’s quality.
Here are a few things to look at to determine quality:
1. Engagement Metrics
Engagement metrics tell you everything you need to know about how users are interacting with your content and site. Some key elements to look at here are:
- Total Visits
- Extern and Internal Engagement: Look at how users are engaging with your content on your site, but also how they engage with it in other places like guests posts, social media, and in person.
- Bounce Rate: This metric can be misleading. If someone is visiting your site and gets their question answered quickly, it makes sense they won’t spend a ton of time on the page. As long as you’ve answered the users’ query, Google counts that as a win, even if they only spent a brief time on your site.
- Pages Per Visit: This is an often overlooked metric, but it shows you whether or not users engaged with other aspects of your site after their initial landing page. If they browsed through that’s a good sign.
2. Offsite Metrics
This category of metrics looks at how a page is functioning off of the website. Look at metrics like:
- External Links
- Number of Linking Root Domains
- Social Shares: Don’t overlook social media accounts. Maybe you have content that doesn’t answer any questions, but it is original and high-quality. Social engagement and shares should definitely be considered.
3. Search Engine Metrics
When trying to determine how Google sees your site, it’s important to look at search engine metrics. Look these metrics:
- Indexation: Make sure Google indexes your site.
- Title Ranking: Google your site and see how your rank for your own title or name.
- Google Click-Through Rates
- Unique vs. Duplicate Content: If you Google your URL and see multiple pages linking back to it, there might be some issues with uniqueness. A page with non-original content won’t be ranked highly by Google.
Don’t write a page off just because you determine it isn’t high quality. With a few simple tweaks, chances are the page can be transformed. Don’t make quality analysis a one off event. Google changes their algorithm frequently so the best way to stay on the top is to constantly make sure your content meets their criteria.
Have any questions? Interested in getting the benefits of SEO for your website? Contact us to see how we can help you.