Categorising a web page’s quality is important, as it gives you - the website visitor - impartial information about how good a website really is.
Google’s Search Quality Evaluation Guidelines set out to determine what makes high-, and low-, quality web pages. Released in November 2015, the guidelines offer important details about what Google is looking for in high-quality pages, and how websites can improve.
The guidelines, which have recently been updated (1st August 2018), have demoted Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages with questionable Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
What are YMYL pages?
YMYL websites or pages are important because they can affect one’s well-being and happiness, especially if the main content is of low quality, inaccurate, or misleading.
Low-quality YMYL websites or pages have no discernible purpose, as they don’t attempt to help visitors.
YMYL pages include:
- Shopping or financial transactions
- Financial information
- Medical information
- Legal information
- News articles or public / official information
- Blogs, forums, gossip, fashion websites (based on evaluator judgement)
What is E-A-T?
Google defines E-A-T as Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
YMYL pages are reviewed by evaluators, who rate them low-to-high based on E-A-T and the overall online experience.
For ecommerce web pages for instance, evaluators explore:
- Whether there is a satisfying amount of high quality E-A-T main content
- Product specs and original product information
- Shipping and returns information
- Whether there are multiple images of a product
Expertise and reputational validation includes recommendations from experts, and / or credible news articles, and / or sponsored content.
For expertise to be demonstrated, a website needs to be truthful, reputable, and an expert in its field.
In the context of ecommerce, web pages should demonstrate:
- Main content written by experts
- Expertise of products / services
- Recommendations by experts in appropriate industries
- Expert news articles / reviews
Authoritativeness can be a gauge of quality.
Validation of a YMYL web page’s authority is driven by quality products / services and supporting information.
Authoritative ecommerce web pages should:
- Demonstrate authority in main content on products / services offered
- Display official logos (linked to affiliates)
- Display other credible authoritative information (reviews)
Everything about a trustworthy YMYL website should make users feel safe.
Your website needs to project trust by demonstrating to users that they can trust the page they’re on.
This is especially important for ecommerce websites, because visitors give over sensitive personal information, like credit card details.
A trustworthy ecommerce web page needs to:
- Display satisfying customer service and purchase feedback (reviews)
- Have a transparent checkout process - Information about shipping charges should be revealed up-front
- Provide details on return policies, guarantees, etc.
- Have easily-accessible contact information, live chat, and customer support
How to improve E-A-T page quality and SEO
Appropriate levels of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness determine whether a YMYL page is rated high or low in E-A-T.
There are also non-E-A-T factors that affect page quality; these include disruptive ads, lack of information, shocking titles, and negative reputation.
Simply put, to improve / increase E-A-T page quality takes a lot of time, but there are things you can do right now to get the ball rolling.
- Get subject matter experts to write the main content. These could include editors, journalists, and industry specialists. Experienced copywriters can produce main content that validates expertise, too.
- Train content teams on products / services. The more they know, the more they’ll be able to have the opportunity to produce main content in the brand’s tone-of-voice while adhering to SEO guidelines.
"We will consider content to be low quality, if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill." - Google
- Product and customer service reviews have a major impact on buying decisions. Displaying customer reviews not only on your ecommerce website, but also on other channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) validates authority and reinforces reputation. But word to the wise; make sure you keep on top of them by responding and resolving.
- Devise and execute a content strategy that helps and teaches your visitors about your business and its products / services.
- Try not to climb organic rankings by keyword stuffing to lure potential visitors. Be measured in your approach to keywords, as too many may see your web pages penalised by Google.
- Be approachable and social by allowing visitors to easily contact your business (email, online chat, telephone) and to share content.
- Make visitors feel safe by having a secure website (https) and a secure payment page (lock in address bar).
Want to talk?
How many times have you bounced away from a web page because of shoddy content, a negative user experience, or both?