Trying to please the Google search algorithms is a constant struggle for almost every website owner. Not only is it continuous, but it often feels like the job must be done blindfolded. Assiduously chasing rumors and scrupulously analyzing every word that comes out of Matt Cutts’ mouth, content developers attempt to make their sites conform to the complex and mysterious quality ratings without losing readability or resorting to out-dated, counterproductive strategies like keyword stuffing.
For those who desperately seek to know the real guidelines, the official rules are now freely available to read, pore over and commit to memory – assuming you’ve got the stomach to digest it all. This week Google released the entire set of content Search Quality Rating Guidelines to the public. It’s a 160-page document describing exactly how to create web content and sites that meet the standards used to rank pages in search results. Wander in the darkness no more!
In their quest to give the people what they want, Google rates and ranks web pages based largely on previously murky standards of quality. The company uses human evaluators to assess how well the search engine does when it provides results for a query, using guidelines provided by Google. Based on their feedback, experimental changes are rejected or permanently incorporated into the search algorithms.
Pleasing Google is a moving target, as the algorithms and the way people use the internet are constantly evolving. On its Webmaster blog, Google explains one of the major factors leading to this most recent update:
“…more people have smartphones than ever before and more searches are done on mobile devices today than on computers. …we recently completed a major revision of our rater guidelines to adapt to this mobile world, recognizing that people use search differently when they carry internet-connected devices with them all the time.”
So if food, family and football don’t do it for you, consider spending Thanksgiving week immersed in the revised Search Quality Rating Guidelines. What could be more fun? Seriously though, this is an exciting development for those who manage websites, including the one that shows your accounting firm to the world. Check out the guidelines and know that you’re doing everything you can to maximize your firm’s exposure with every page you create.