Marketing 2 min read

Google's Mueller Explains how to Assess a News Page's Quality

NicoElNino /

NicoElNino /

Not all pages on a website are high-performing. While some pages generate lots of organic traffic, other low-quality pages tend to attract low traffic.

The general belief is that these low-quality pages can harm your ranking on Google. So, you should no-index them or remove them entirely whenever you can.

That’s the issue that the webmaster and trend analyst at Google, John Mueller, addressed in the recent Webmaster Hangout. It began when a news site asked Mueller what to do with its low-quality pages.

According to the site owners, only about 10 percent of its articles produce a bulk of its organic search traffic. Meanwhile, the remaining 90 percent seem to generate little to zero traffic.

The question reads:

“We’re afraid that Google can decide our website is interesting only for 10%. There’s an idea to hide some boring local news under noindex tag to make the overall quality of all publishing content better. What do you think?”

Here is Mueller’s response.

Traffic isn’t a Metric to Judge a News Page’s Quality.

First, the Google webmaster trend analyst stated that you couldn’t judge a news site’s web page’s quality using only traffic.

News sites have lots of articles that remain interesting only for a short period. This is especially true when the story covers the daily snapshots for a local area.

And it’s kind of normal that they don’t become big, popular stories on your website,” says Mueller. “So from that point of view, I wouldn’t necessarily call those articles low-quality articles, for example.”

In other words, just because a news article isn’t generating traffic doesn’t mean that it’s of a low quality.

However, pointed out that publishing useful articles alongside awful ones can confuse Google. According to Mueller, lousy content is:

  • Hard to read
  • Structured in an inadequate way
  • Contain broken English

In this situation, Mueller suggests doing quality filtering and using noindex on the bad articles until you review them.

The webmaster and trend analyst at Google concluded:

“But if it’s a news website, where… by definition, you have a variety of different articles that are all well-written, reasonable, but the topics aren’t that interesting for the long run, that’s kind of normal.”

Read More: Are Author Pages Essential for Ranking on Google?

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