Creating High Quality Content That Ranks Well
Brandon Schmidt | Sep 27, 2018
Google values content that is trustworthy, authoritative, and created by an expert. Learn the formula for creating high quality content that ranks well for local businesses.
When Google Speaks, We Listen
Google is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to giving advice on how to rank better. SEO agencies like ours spend countless hours testing, experimenting, and planning how to help our clients improve their traffic and increase rankings – with little to no help from Google.
So whenever Google does give advice or information, it is crucial to pay attention. One of the most important ways Google provides advice is with the Raters Guidelines.
What is Google’s Quality Ratings Guidelines?
Google’s search results are based on a complex algorithm that’s entirely run by computers. Yet there is some human involvement, most notably by the software engineers whose goal is to create a better user experience and the most accurate & reliable search results.
Whenever Google’s engineers make updates to the algorithm, they need to test the results to see if the changes create better search results. The testing of the algorithm is handled by an unknown number of human testers as part of the Search Quality Rating Program. While much of this program remains a secret, there is one major piece of information that’s available to the public: the Quality Raters Guidelines.
The Quality Raters Guidelines is a PDF document that serves as a training manual and guidebook for the human raters. Now at 164 pages long, this document outlines what Google considers to be good content for a website.
Your Money or Your Life
Google places great value in good content for websites. This is especially true for websites that deal with Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics, as wrong or inaccurate advice on these topics can have a significantly negative impact on your life and well being.
Google considers YMYL topics to include financial information, news and government information, legal information, and health & medical information. Attorneys, financial advisors, accountants, doctors, business consultants, and other professional services fall into the YMYL category. If you are in one of these industries, you need to have high quality content on your site.
What is considered High Quality Content?
In the Quality Rater’s Guidelines, Google emphasizes three characteristics of high quality content: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Collectively known as EAT, these are the areas that a business owner or marketing manager should make sure their website stands out.
Websites with strong EAT will be viewed as high quality and should rank better, while websites with poor EAT will be viewed as low quality sites and under perform.
Advice for Creating High Quality Content
As a business owner or marketing manager of a local business, what can you do to create high quality content that meets Google’s EAT guidelines? Here are 6 tips:
1. Create the content yourself
Imaging going to a medical specialist’s website for a treatment you are researching, only to find that the website is filled with generic information a marketing intern pulled from Wikipedia. Not only does it not provide the specific info you are looking for, it also reduces the confidence you may have in the doctor.
A main indicator of low EAT content is when it only provides a basic understanding of the subject. This typically happens with a business outsources their content production. As the expert in your industry and your business, you must be involved in producing the content on your site.
Hate writing or don’t consider yourself a writer? Not a problem, there are still ways to generate content on your site without you actually writing. At YDOP, whether we are building a new website or enhancing the content on an existing page, we conduct extensive interviews with a business owner or staff, then edit for grammar and clarity. Perhaps a video of you explaining your product or service makes you more comfortable.
2. Highlight the author
If your team is regularly writing blog posts, it is important to highlight the author of each article. This establishes credibility as well as connects the audience to the creator. You can add a bio section to each post to highlight the author’s own expertise and set them up as an authority in their field.
As a local business, it makes even more sense to highlight an article’s author. Have your customer service team, account managers, sales staff, or other customer-facing team members take turns creating content in order to introduce them to your potential customers earlier in the process.
3. Brag about yourself
People want to hire the best experts they can; present yourself as an expert by showcasing your certifications, training, and awards. Trust symbols like industry awards, local community recognition, and training your team has gone through can make a positive impression on your site’s visitors – even if they have no prior knowledge of your industry.
Feature local and industry trust symbols on your homepage and about page.
4. Document sources
If you are relying on research or external sources, cite them. Use reputable sources like industry specific research, and reveal those sources in your content with a link to their site. Make the content more like a research paper, as it gives confidence in the data and the perspective you provide.
5. Remove or update Low Quality pages
Most websites have old, outdated, or poorly written pages. And while content is evaluated on a page by page basis, low quality content can have a negative impact on your site’s overall quality.
Schedule some time to thin out old or poorly performing blog posts. You can look at Google Analytics or Search Console and find what pages and post are light on traffic. For most pages and blog posts, you are safe to delete them, so long as you set up a redirect for the URL. If the pages are still important to you (like a service or product page), it may be better to spend the time to update and strengthen the content.
6. Show real examples
One of the best ways for a local business to establish expertise and trust is to highlight what you’ve already done. Case studies, customer testimonials, and photos of real projects or products can go a long way towards setting your company up as the local expert in your field. In addition, this type of content is great at improving local SEO.
Need Help Creating High Quality Content?
You’re the expert in your field; trust our experts to make sure your website accurately reflects your business online. We build websites and content that are high in EAT and rank well, so you can better reach your target audience.
Contact us to start a conversation about working with YDOP.