Google’s Page Quality guidelines were published in November 2015. While they have been dissected and pored over to try and determine ranking factors, they offer some genuinely thoughtful and beneficial guides to follow, for those that want to improve the user experience of their website. There’s nothing wrong with constantly looking to make improvements to your website, and not only will your visitors appreciate it, but you may also enjoy improved Google results too.
As well as the main pages of your website, there are many supporting pages. Contact pages, definition pages, and your 404 error pages are some of the prime examples. Google paid particular attention to the latter, hinting that your error pages should do more than provide al ink to your home page. They should provide details of what might have gone wrong, offer assistance on the steps you can take to remedy the situation, and provide useful links.
As well as ensuring that your contact page is up to date, Google suggests that users are looking for more than just a contact form. A phone number, an email address as an alternative to the contact form, and a physical address will help provide potential site users with the information they need, and also help build trust in your site. This is especially important for online business websites, such as ecommerce sites, but should be considered important for all sites.
Update Time-Sensitive Content
Some content never needs to be updated – for example, news stories are time sensitive and it isn’t usually necessary to update them with new information weeks after the date they were published. However, your evergreen content, or primary content, should be updated when necessary. Definitions, guides, whitepapers, and reports may all need updating to ensure that they remain relevant, and it is definitely worth considering a regularly updated refresh of your website’s most popular content to ensure relevancy.
Reduce Irritating Ad Content
Many ads are monetised through the addition of advertisements, but according to Google’s quality guidelines, the ads should not get in the way of user experience. They state that the appearance of ads, in general, will not devalue a page, but that website owners should avoid the use of pop-up ads that cannot be closed, the inclusion of too many ads above the fold, and the continued use of in-content ads that break passages of main content up. It could be time to look at your ad block placements to ensure you aren’t ruining user experience.
Fill Pages With Quality, Accurate, And Reliable Content
Google refers to Main Content, and especially its ratio to supplementary and ad content. The bulk of a page should be made up of Main Content, and this not only needs to be relevant, but it needs to be unique, grammatically correct, and it should have been fact checked to ensure that you are providing reliable information to your readers.
There are a number of ways to build trust in a website, and doing so goes far beyond search optimisation. If visitors do not trust your website, then they don’t trust your business, and they will be highly unlikely to make purchases or even make contact. Avoid actions that reduce trust, and take actions that increase trust. Include author names, be vigilant of the sites that link to you and the sites you provide links to, and always have the matter of trust and reliability at the back of your mind when updating your website.
Looks Aren’t Everything
Google goes to great pains to point out that, rather than promoting websites that look great, their quality guidelines are designed to promote sites that are filled with quality content, almost regardless of how those sites look. Design is important, and it certainly matters to visitors and will directly influence whether they make purchases, but the colour of your background will not necessarily have any influence on Google quality rankings.