In a Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked to explain what the search engine considers quality content. Mueller deferred by saying that content creators and publishers can identify what quality content is much better than Google can. But that’s not a particularly helpful answer, considering Google places content under a proverbial magnifying glass. Thankfully, Mueller clarified what digital marketers need to focus on to rank high on search pages and get Google’s nod of approval.
“Quality content” is bandied about online and in all digital marketing circles. Every Google update tackles content and highlights it as a surefire way to stay in Google’s good books. Even with Google’s BERT update, the introduction of RankBrain and other Natural Language Processing solutions, nothing seems to thwart the need for quality content across industries and online platforms.
Since the latest algorithm updates, Google started ranking search results based on user intent. The search giant now prompts content creators to develop useful, relevant and user-centric SEO content. The big shift focuses on addressing users’ search intent and providing a better online experience.
During the Webmaster Hangouts session, Mueller expanded on what quality content is all about. He answered one of the most common yet intriguing questions that every marketer has: How does Google decide who has created higher quality content if two websites are publishing on the same topic?
“With regards to quality content, in general, this is something where you as the site owner probably know a lot more about what is actually quality content for your specific kind of site,” Mueller said. “What is quality? It’s a subjective opinion of excellence. There aren’t really any patents or research papers about creating a subjective opinion of quality across a range of topics. Something like authoritativeness has been researched. Authority is about accuracy and factual truth. A site that acquires links and other signals of affirmation can be said to be authoritative. A concept like quality is abstract and subjective. Search, in my opinion, is not about providing subjective answers but about providing useful answers that are accurate in terms of solving the question or need that underlies the search query, also known as search intent.”
In summary, Mueller encourages marketers and content creators to focus on how to answer user queries in the best way possible. He underpins being helpful and remaining relevant to your target audience. If you get a favorable response from your target readers, then you’re on the right track. This means you’ve successfully answered your target users’ search intent. The idea links in neatly with the formula of writing for informational, navigational or transactional intent and then gunning for the featured snippet.
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