Weekly Update from Edge45 30/07/18
The latest news and highlights from the world of SEO and Digital Marketing for the Week beginning 30/07/2018.
Quality Rater Guidelines Updated!
Last week, Google updated its Quality Rater Guidelines. They added new information on the assessment of “low quality” content.
Not sure what the Quality Rater Guidelines are? They are a set of instructions that Google quality raters follow when evaluating the performance of Google’s algorithms. A quality rater cannot change how a page ranks. But, they do pass feedback onto those who write Google’s algorithms.
The new update to these guidelines appears to have focused on content/page quality. Part of the newly updated content for page quality states that:
“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 main content, or because the creator of the main content lacks expertise for the purpose of the page.”
The key difference between this definition and the old definition is that content should be considered “low” even if there was a clear intention for the page to serve a beneficial purpose.
For more information on Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, please see the full PDF document.
Google’s Related Questions Box up by 34%
The number of times Google shows its “People Also Ask” (Related Questions) section increased by 34% last week. This means that for 43% of searches the related questions section will appear.
The increase means that Related Questions are now shown almost as frequently as AdWords. Making them the fourth most commonly displayed Google search feature within the search results.
But what does this increase mean for SEOs and Webmasters? Well with this feature appearing more, it gives us the opportunity to drive traffic to our sites by considering other ways questions may be used our target audiences.
As this increase has only just been discovered, it’s likely that it will be less competitive to target and get a “People Also Ask” suggestion.
Since this feature is located in the top half of page 1 results, obtaining a Relation Question suggestion is going to be beneficial for your site.
Public URL Submission Tool Removed by Google
The public URL submission tool that allowed users to submit any page to be indexed by Google has now been removed.
The advice from Google is to use the Fetch & Submit tool within Search Console itself or to notify Google about new pages using an XML sitemap file.
Of course, this means that you will only be able to submit a URL to be indexed by Google if you have verified ownership of the site directly within Search Console. Thus, People will no longer be able to notify Google of new URLs on sites that they do not personally own.
Word Count = Quality Content?
It has long been thought that the number of words your content has is an indicator of its quality in the eyes of Google. But, recently Google’s John Mueller has revealed that the length of your content is NOT an indicator of its quality.
“Word Count Is not indicative of quality. Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing. Some pages have very few words that are very important and relevant to queries”
This statement from John was published on Twitter in response to a public discussion on the whether to de-index short articles.
The conclusion we can gather from this statement is that Google will not necessarily rank pages based on word count alone. Furthermore, it’s clear that short-form content can rank as well as longer content if it satisfies a particular query.
It’s worth mentioning that Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, which have recently been updated, do not mention anything specifically about word count.