Last Updated: November 10, 2017
We all know that creating quality content for your small business website is important to attracting and keeping visitors on your site, but we probably all define it differently.
How we define quality content
- Make your site and content useful and informative
- Engage readers with a satisfying amount of main content
- Create unique content that is not found on other websites
- Strive for accuracy and present facts when appropriate
- Design content for humans, not search engines
- Check copy for spelling and grammar errors
- Be credible and trustworthy (especially YMYL sites)
Although our goal is to write content for human readers and not search engines, we need our content to be crawled and indexed by Google and we'd like for it to rank well; otherwise, it's unlikely any human readers will have the chance to see our content. For the most part Google won't lead webmasters on how to create quality content, but they offer guidelines that include what to avoid.
Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines
Here are some excerpts from Google's Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
Basic PrinciplesMake pages primarily for users, not for search engines
- Your goal should always be to have valuable, engaging content on your site.
- There are billions of web pages on the Internet today and over time, patterns that disclose deceptive behavior have been discovered and documented.
- A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my readers? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"
- Make your website stand out from others in your field.
What to AvoidDon't post automatically generated content
- Avoid re-posting content found on other sites without adding some value like specifying how to use the information or comparing your own research to the author's post. In some cases, you can collaborate in a post that helps both websites' readers.
- When someone comes to your web page expecting to read a specific topic, they should not be redirected to something completely unrelated. In some cases, redirects are necessary and in those cases, they should be marked with an HTTP 302 status so search engines can show the correct page in search results.
- Legitimate links to and from your site are important to improve ranking and to direct website visitors to more helpful content on the web. Link schemes like creating fake comments with backlinks, creating mini-sites solely to generate links and buying links should be avoided.
- Cloaking is a deceptive practice that serves a different web page for search engine spiders versus human readers. The intent is to rank well for a certain keyword and then show completely different, often spammy and sometimes malicious pages to the human reader.
- Hidden text is sometimes colored the same as the page background and includes keywords that the author wants to rank for. When links are included on the page, the keyword stuffed page can pass ranking potential through the links. These tactics are intended only to manipulate search engine ranking.
- Doorway pages are keyword heavy, spammy and are designed to rank well in search engines. They typically lack useful information and require the website visitor to click other links to find valuable content. Doorway pages create a bad user experience.
- Scraping, or copying content is simply plagiarism. Some websites post content from other websites verbatim, but they 1) attribute the content to the original author and 2) add value by providing context or making comments.
- Affiliate programs and sites that offer products through affiliate links are okay but sites that are set up only to sell products and provide no real value like credible reviews should be avoided.
- Keyword stuffing is the practice of inserting a high number of keywords into page contents to make the page rank better on search engines. Place keywords in your content in a normal pattern like you would during a conversation with a friend.
- Never create pages that install malware or contain links to malware-infected pages. Malware can include anything from software or utilities that take over browser functionality without the user's permission to programs that disable the computer or allow remote users access to the computer.
- When your website allows user-generated content, it should be well moderated any spammy content should be deleted. User-generated content includes forum posts, post comments, tags on image uploads and more. When you notice fake content with links to unrelated websites, don't approve them or delete them if they're already published.
Making a website with quality content reflects well on you, helps your visitors, earns more customers and creates trust with Google and other search engines. If you know your site has content that might be considered low quality or if you're unsure and want a quality analysis of your site, get in touch with us today.