Marketing 3 min read

Google Says Don't Focus on how it Defines Content Quality

Artur Szczybylo /

Artur Szczybylo /

Google‘s John Mueller suggests that publishers focus on relevance rather than Google’s idea of content quality.

A few years ago, the SEO community was buzzing with talks of a so-called Quality Update. Google was updating its ranking algorithm to favor websites that produce quality content — or so the rumor went.

Since the search engine giant denied the existence of such an update, the rumor turned out to be false. However, the idea of content quality as an essential ranking factor stuck around.

Today, Google’s search algorithm has undergone several improvements in Natural Language Processing. These include BERT, Neural Matching, RankBrain, among others.

Yet, publishers still think of content in terms of “quality“. Expectedly, this raises a question of how Google defines quality content.

In a recent webmaster hangout, an individual asked Google’s, John Mueller:

“What is quality content in Google’s eyes? If two people are writing on the same content, it’s possible they have a different opinion on the same thing. Then how does Google decide which one is better?”

Here is Mueller’s response.

Forget Google’s Definition of Content Quality, Focus on Relevance

John Mueller suggests that publishers not worry about what Google thinks about content quality. Instead, they should work on something that’s not only unique and compelling but also of high-quality.

In his follow up statement, Mueller said:

“So instead of trying to work back how Google’s algorithms might be working, I would recommend trying to figure out what your users are actually thinking and doing things like user studies…”

The senior webmaster trends analyst at Google suggested conducting studies to know your users’ preferences. For example, you could show a bunch of people something new on your website and ask how it affects their experience.

This is something we do all the time as well,” says the Google webmaster. “We do a/b tests in the search results all the time to see how can we make sure that we continue to provide relevant results, even when users’ needs and expectations continue to change over time.

Why You Should Focus on Content Relevance

Aside from improving users’ experience, Mueller points out that focusing on Google’s definition of quality could be an endless race.

Since Google’s algorithm will continue to evolve, the search engine’s definition of content quality will continue to change. As a result, you’ll always remain a step behind.

John Mueller concluded:

“So try to focus on your users. And figure out what their needs are and what you can do to provide something unique and compelling and different from everyone else in that area that you’re active in.”

Read More: Google’s John Mueller Says Google Ignores Paid Links

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