Google recently published a list of questions (also below) to ask yourself about the content of your website. These questions indicate what Google considers to be important in your website content for both a high page rank and a top 10 Google result. The questions show that Google is seeking to determine the overall quality of the content.
It should be no surprise that Google is so concerned about quality content. Providing search results with better quality websites is what got Google to be #1 and is what will keep Google #1. These questions should also then not be a surprise.
I did not need to read these questions because since I started writing content for websites in the 1990s, even before Google existed, I was already writing in a way which complied with the questions because I believed that providing quality content was the best way to get users to come back and refer other users. The only question I ever really ask myself is, would I be interested in reading this?
Many SEO experts claim that Google previously wanted only a keyword rich domain name, title, description, meta tags, some on-site linking with some off-site linking in directories and blogs to provide a top 10 Google listing, but that is not true. Google always wanted quality websites. That was just the way they had of quantifying websites at the time. Now, they’re getting a lot better at it. Quality content is what Google always wanted.
For a number of years, I was disappointed that extremely poor quality websites could outrank my high-quality websites. In addition to wanting to satisfy users, I knew that Google would get better at determining quality and weeding out the garbage. As Google gets better at it, my websites improve their position in the search results.
I also began reading about search engine optimization and implementing appropriate optimization measures. The secret to getting to the top Google results and staying there despite Google’s weekly algorithm changes is not only to continually add good content and implement good search engine optimization, but to be patient.
Following are the questions Google presented, which you should ask yourself to determine the quality of your content, when writing content for your website:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- How much quality control is done on content?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
Update: Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on better determining good content and making search engine optimization matter less for top Google search rankings. Chris Crum of WebProNews wrote about it in his article Google Is Working On Making SEO Matter Less. I believe Google has been working on that for a very long time. They’re just getting better and better at it. Good content is by far the single most important search engine optimization tactic for top Google results.