Google posted the following list of questions on their blog in May 2011. It’s a very good summary for how the Google Quality Raters review websites and pages (I edited it slightly for consistency).

When you create content for the web, i.e., articles on pages, videos, PowerPoints, white papers, etc., carefully ask yourself each of the following questions both before and after.

  • Would you trust the information presented on the page?
  • Is the page written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallow?
  • Does the page have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card to this site?
  • Does the page have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by readers’ genuine interests or does the site generate content to rank in search engines?
  • Does the page offer original content, original information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control was done on the content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Was the page mass-produced or outsourced to a large number of creators or spread across a large network of sites so the individual pages or sites don’t get much care?
  • Was the page edited well or is it sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health query, would you trust the information?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does the page provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the page contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does the page have an excessive amount of ads that distract from with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see the page in a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
  • Are the pages short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

You can see this list automatically knocks out 98% of articles, pages, videos, etc. They were quickly produced just to get in Google. It’s gua-gua-gua stuff (that’s blah-blah-blah in Chinese). (Gua-gua-gua is what frogs say. Just noise.)

It’s not just Google. All of the search engines (Google, Yandex, Baidu, Bing) have thousands of people who evaluate webpages. For any topic, there are millions of pages (for example, diabetes in cats = 19 million pages). Only ten will appear on the first page of a search engine. And if your audience is using mobile devices, only two or three links will appear on the first screen of Google Mobile Search.

Search engines are looking for world-class Super Bowl World Cup Olympic champions. That’s a hell of a challenge, but if you do a super good job, you’ll be on page one.

Learn more about content and how to write books at my website.