As you may recall, last year, Google put out a list of 23 questions that one should consider when assessing the quality of their content. This was largely considered to be the types of things Google is considering when it comes to the Panda update, which is supposed to be about surfacing quality content in search results.
Last week, Google introduced Webmaster Academy, a new guide for helping you perform better in Google results. Earlier, we looked at Google's advice on influencing your site's listing in search.
There's another section specifically about content quality. The section is called "Create Great Content".
"One key element of creating a successful site is not to worry about Google's ranking algorithms or signals, but to concentrate on delivering the best possible experience for your user by creating content that other sites will link to naturally—just because it's great," the guide says. It then provides a couple of lists. The first list is for what to think about when you're writing a post or an article:
- Would you trust the information in this article?
- Is the article useful and informative, with content beyond the merely obvious? Does it provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
- Does it provide more substantial value than other pages in search results?
- Would you expect to see this in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Is your site a recognized authority on the subject?
The second list is for problems to keep an eye out for:
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites?
- Does this article have an excessive number of ads that interfere with the main content?
- Are the articles short or lacking in helpful specifics?
This is all stuff from Google's post-Panda list, but it's not everything from that list. Some of the other entries in the initial list kind of go hand in hand with the stuff on these new lists, but some of the things not mentioned include:
I do find it interesting that in the new lists, Google talks about the site being a recognized authority, but not so much from the author perspective. I have no doubt that Google considers this greatly, but it's a little odd that it wasn't included here. Goog, of course, has been pushing authorship in search results, even using it to promote Google+ profiles. It does provide the author with greater visibility in search results by default (with visual, clickable images).
It's also interesting that the "does this article describe both sides of a story" entry didn't make an appearance. Perhaps Google's increased personalization has made this less of a factor. If you follow a lot of conservative (or liberal) Google+ profiles, for example, it's possible that you might see more content they've shared in your search results, which may or may not show both sides of a story.