Google Reiterates What’s Considered Low Quality Content
Google recently updated its Quality Rater Guidelines which includes new information about assessing content as well as pages that can be considered low quality or sub par. The Quality Rater Guidelines are very extensive guidelines for the manual quality inspection of websites that Google issues to Search Quality Evaluators or more commonly called raters, who are part of Google staff. These are set of instructions the raters follow when evaluating a website.
If the raters will analyze whether or not a page is of high or low quality, they would refer to what is laid out in the Quality Rater Guidelines.
The updated Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines Definition of Low Quality Pages
From page 31 of the updated Quality Rater Guidelines
“Low quality pages may have been intended to serve a beneficial purpose. However, Low quality pages do not achieve their purpose well because they are lacking in an important dimension, such as having an unsatisfying amount of MC, or because the creator of the MC lacks the expertise for the purpose of the page.”
Based on this, low quality pages are those that fall through on what they are set to achieve. This could be because of two reasons: lack of main content (MC), or the author lacks expertise in the subject he is writing about.
The main content is the part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose. It can be text, images, videos, page features like calculators or games. It can also be user-generated content like videos, reviews, comments etc. that users uploaded to the page. Lacking these is an automatic tag of “low quality”.
Previously, Google defines low quality pages as follows:
“Low quality pages are unsatisfying or lacking in some element that prevents them from achieving their purpose well. These pages lack expertise or are not very trustworthy/authoritative for the purpose of the page.”
The notable difference between the updated definition and the previous definition is that the quality should still be considered for improvement even if there was a clear intention for the pages to serve a beneficial purpose but fails to deliver on it.
“We will consider content to be Low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.”
Having one or more of the following characteristics will mark the page as “Low”
- An inadequate level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
- The quality of the MC is low.
- There is an unsatisfying amount of MC for the purpose of the page.
- The title of the MC is exaggerated or shocking.
- The Ads or SC distracts from the MC.
- There is an unsatisfying amount of website information or information about the creator of the MC for the purpose of the page (no good reason for anonymity).
- A mildly negative reputation for a website or creator of the MC, based on extensive reputation research.
It is good to take note of the 4th item – “The title of the MC is exaggerated or shocking”—was not on the previous guidelines.
How will this affect content creators?
This means that articles, blogs, and other content that use clickbait-style headlines or titles will now be considered “low” quality regardless of the actual quality of their main content.
Google explained this further….
“Exaggerated or shocking titles can entice users to click on pages in search results. If pages do not live up to the exaggerated or shocking title or images, the experience leaves users feeling surprised and confused.
Here is an example of a page with an exaggerated and shocking title: “Is the World about to End? Mysterious Sightings of 25ft Sea Serpents Prompt Panic!” as the title for an article about the unidentified remains of one small dead fish on a beach.
Pages with exaggerated or shocking titles that do not describe the MC well should be rated Low.”
Our Take Away
Even if a web page has a clear desire to serve a meaningful purpose, it can be marked as “low” quality if it does not achieve that purpose because of main content that leave more to be desired on authority or expertise.
It is also good to be reminded that “low quality website is not the same as a spam website”.
Do you think you have you content bases covered? Let us help you create a high-quality content that’s well composed, not spammy, and has authoritative and expert details and construction! Contact us today.