How Search Engines Determine Which Websites Are High-Quality (Part 1)
Since the beginning of web search as we know it, search engines have strived to provide the best and most relevant results to users. This has been easier said than done for most of the internet’s history, as search engine algorithms had to evolve in order to detect the subtle behaviours of users. Unfortunately, webmasters and bloggers were able for the longest to manipulate various technical elements of their websites in order to ascend the ranks of search and possibly overshadow more relevant results. While this is no longer the case for the most part, there are some variables that everyone should know matters to search engines. We’ll outline below some of the main variables that are used by search engines to determine whether your site is high-quality or not.
In years past, it was nearly impossible for search engines to determine whether or not the stuff you were pinging to Google, Yahoo or other search engines was valid content. Today, however, search engines have plenty of tools at their disposal to determine how users feel about your content, which gives them an idea of how to rank you. Quality content is by far the single most important element that a website or blog must provide to the huddled masses in order to be seen as “high-quality”. If the content you serve to users on a regular basis is entertaining, well-written, informative or otherwise engaging, then you have fulfilled the most important requirement as seen by search engines.
No Site Glitches
Search engines largely assess websites based on individual indicators from users and from the site structure itself. Validated elements of code – whether it be CSS, HTML, PHP or some other language – are standards that search engines are particularly picky about when determining how likely your website is to be a solid contender for high rankings. When crawlers and bots that are pinging to Google and other search engines peruse your website, they should find zero errors with the code, plug-ins and other elements being used on your website. All of your links should be in working order, your plug-ins should be up to date and functioning as intended, your site map should be working properly, and so forth. A website auditing tool can be an excellent ally when assessing this particular metric of your website’s quality.
Another immensely important variable to consider when wanting to be viewed positively by Google is the reputation that your site has with leading authority websites. For instance, a business should assess how it is viewed by the Better Business Bureau, which carries a lot of weight in influencing how websites that are rated by it are perceived by search engines. In addition to that, many other institutions – such as individual user ratings on other websites, reviews left on prominent review-based websites and the opinion that entities such as media and news outlets have provided – will play a role in how your website is perceived in terms of quality. Search engines have become very intuitive and intelligent in reading signals from these types of institutions, so it is crucial that you maintain a good reputation wherever you are mentioned.