Will Google Give Your Website An A+?

It is not impossible to find out what Google’s guidelines are for human web page rating as opposed to algorithmic rating–in fact, you can read their manual if you want to know the facts.  However, it helps to break these ideas down to help you understand them.

Google has a history of following relatively predictable guidelines when it comes to SEO rankings.  The content of your website is still the strongest factor in your Google ranking.  After all, content is what drives readers to your website–and keeps them there.

So what makes a website “great” in Google’s eyes as opposed to just “good” or even “poor?”  Here are few easy guidelines That Orange County SEO has compiled to help you figure it out.

  1. Define the purpose of your website.  The experience that people have on your website is largely determined by your purpose.  Focus on your ideas, and you will deliver relevant content.  A site dedicated to information can and should have a different feel than a commercial site.

Your website’s ranking is, in some respects, reflective of other sites like it.  Look at the top-ranked sites in your area.  What are they doing differently?  Why are users drawn to those particular sites again and again?

You should also think about the content of your site in relation to its purpose.  Keep extraneous material out unless there is a good reason for it to be there.  If your website is about plants, cute animal links are not relevant.

Just as your overall site has a purpose, each page on your site has its own goal.  Define these goals before you assemble your site.  Be sure your keywords on each page reflect those goals.

  1. Put some time and effort into your content.   We have all turned in less-than-perfect papers in school.  Generally the grade on that paper reflected those facts.

Website content is no different.  Your “grade” on a website usually reflects how much effort and interest you put into creating it.  Some general rules for great content are:

  • Keep content fresh.  Just because you have a successful page is no reason not to “freshen it up” a bit periodically, especially if the information you are sharing is likely to change on a regular basis.  Keep links current and offer the most up-to-date facts and figures.
  • Create original content.  Many people do not realize that simply rehashing someone else’s blog posts or a news story does not identify your site as relevant or high-content.  You need something new to say about your topic. Sometimes saying something in a different way can be all you need for Google to recognize your content as original.
  • Treat writing as a professional skill.  Misspellings or grammar errors will not put you in the ranks of the best writers.  If you are not a strong writer, consider having someone edit or help you compose content.
  1. User experience is not just content.  Keep in mind that user experience or UX is an important part of your website’s rating.  While video and other add-ons are great, what Google really looks for is UX, and that includes how easy your site is to use.  Slow-loading graphics and ads often add up to a bad UX.  Page layout is now part of Google’s algorithm set.
  1. Keep up the good work!  Google may not tell all its secrets, but you can learn enough to maximize your visibility.  Google Webmasters videos are a good place to start.

You can find Google’s quality guidelines on the Search Engine Watch post or Search Engine Land article.

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