How Google Ranks Your Website Quality By Your Expertise and Authority
How is website quality like vanilla ice cream?
What do you do with vanilla ice cream?
The simple answer is that you eat it.
And you eat vanilla ice cream to enjoy it.
Did you know that Google.com evaluates the quality of your website on how easy it is to E-A-T?
In the first article of this series, we explored the basics of how your website is seen, known and trusted to determine website quality.
We used the example of vanilla ice cream as a trusted flavor and introduced the need for authority.
Nearly 65% of people using the internet to search for a product or service use Google.com.
Google does it best to make sure that the search is productive – that people find what they are looking for.
People are looking for a quality experience when they want a solution to a problem.
Think of it.
Would you buy something from a business that you haven’t seen, known or trusted before?
It’s like walking down a busy city street, and a shady character in a long trench coat approaches you and asks, “Want to buy a watch?”
Of course, you would get away from that person as quickly as possible. Your trust level would be zero.
How Search Engines Work
Google and other search engines are in the business of selling advertising.
That advertising is attached to search listings, just like ads in the Yellow Pages, other directories, journals or magazines.
The search engines want to show the quality results to the searchers so that everyone is happy about their experience.
Google first discovers the existence of a website by using “bots” or software programs looking for specific factors in a website’s structure and content.
Then comes the real effort to identify website quality.
Google trains its people to visit, analyze and rate websites on quality.
In fact, Google publishes quality rater evaluator guidelines and makes those instructions publicly available so that you know what the score is.
Google rewards websites that have high quality with higher rankings.
The good news is that if you understand what Google wants to “see” and “know” about your website, your website will become “trusted” by Google and will rank higher.
Four Factors of Website Quality
There are four essential factors about website quality that Google promotes to its raters (see page 18 of the rater’s guide.)
- Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness
- Main Content Quality and Amount
- Website Information/ Who is Responsible for the website
- Website Reputation
The last three in this list – content, website information and reputation – give evidence of the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
For local businesses, the Google rating guidelines list two specific examples of what it means to have high expertise and authority.
The first type of expertise is formal expertise.
Formal expertise includes your degree, professional certifications, professional licenses, association memberships, and any other third-party certifications that you had to earn through a course of study.
For example, an internist medical doctor has a medical degree, certificates, license and more.
A dentist would have similar credentials.
A real estate agent has certified training and a license in good standing.
The same would be true for a plumber, HVAC, and other professional trades.
The second type of authority comes from documented experience.
Documented experience is evidence that can include years of experience, proven results with industry standard best practices, and reliable sources about that experience.
A family business has existed for many years. (Remember Bassett’s Ice Cream, founded in 1861?)
A construction company has built more than 100 homes.
A custom home contract has built more than fifty $2,000,000 homes.
A dental practice has more than 500 customers.
Most local businesses have formal expertise; some may be required by law to have evidence of that knowledge.
Most local businesses have formal experience found on the About Us page.
“Your Money or Your Life” Web Pages
In its Quality Raters Guideline document, Google outlines the most critical websites and terms them YMYL – your money or your life.
According to Google, these type of web pages “could potentially impact the future of happiness, health or financial stability of users.” (See page 9 of the Guidelines.)
Google’s guidelines list these types of YMYL pages with content about:
- Shopping or financial transaction
- Financial information
- Medical information
- Legal information
- News articles and public/official information
- General information (on topics such as child adoption, car safety information, etc.)
To show Google and other search engines your personal expertise and authority, you need to reflect that expertise and authority in your website content, identity, and reputation.
Remember, it’s not just about the search engines. It’s about what people can expect and learn about your business when they visit your website.
There’s an old health meme, “You are what you eat.”
In a related way, your website’s quality is how you show what it E-A-Ts.
Expertise. Authority. Trustworthiness.
That’s what most buyers want today.
A business they can trust.
Google.com has dedicated staff to review websites to determine website quality manually.
Google staff use a published quality rater’s guideline that spells out the specific factors that influence how they rate a website’s value.
Google has identified critical “YMYL” pages that need more attention and trustworthiness than other web pages.
If you run a business that impacts the future happiness, health and financial stability of people, you need to treat your web pages with great care.
Google revealed the four underlying factors of their rating guidelines: E-A-T, content quality, website identity, and reputation.
It’s your job to “tell” Google about your experience and authority.
If you communicate your expertise and authority on your website and let Google “see” it, your site will become trusted.
Now you may be asking, how do you let Google “see” your website?
That’s the question what the next article in this series will answer, “What is Quality Website Content?”
Thanks for reading.