Digital Marketing News: Google Updates Search Quality Rating Guidelines

Every week we’re collecting a host of links, videos, and assorted analysis on the ever-changing world of digital marketing. We invite you to skim, share, analyze, argue, and refute – just so long as you don’t get embarrassed at the water cooler again. Here are the latest digital marketing news and trends for the week of July 27, 2018.

Google Updates Its Search Quality Rating Guidelines

Google uses the critiques and analysis of more than 10,000 “search quality raters”, users who are tasked with conducting a set list of searches handed down by Google. Jennifer Slegg, an expert on these guidelines, recently spoke with Search Engine Land, highlighting new areas of focus for Google.

One such focus is an increased scrutiny of not only the publisher’s authority, but also the reputation of the writers themselves. Slegg had this to say in a recent post:

“If content is created by someone with a great reputation, it makes sense for Google to rank that content higher than from someone with a bad reputation since it is generally a better user experience for the searcher. But it means many will also need to brush up on their bios, too. It is also worth noting that this doesn’t apply just to written content, but other types of content as well, such as videos and social media.”

The general takeaway here is that Google is continuing to beef up its defenses against shoddy, unverified publishers that have weaponized the uncritical environments of the internet…*cough* Facebook *cough*…

That’s good news for most, especially publishers and writers with established reputations, but it could lead to an uphill battle for lesser-known-but-still-legitimate sites and writers. Updated author bios, and of course, producing quality content will continue to be the best strategies for building your site’s and writers’ reputation.

Chrome Users Now Notified of Sites “Not Secure”

Google Chrome, the world’s most popular browser, has begun notifying users of sites that have yet to adopt the “s” in the “HTTPS” portion of their URL. “Hypertext transfer protocol secure” is a security measure intended to protect consumers from attacks on their personal and online payment information.

The notification protects consumers, but it also has a negative effect on the publisher – mainly loss of traffic and online sales. Failure to implement the security measure is also likely to decrease search rankings and site speed. If your site hasn’t implemented HTTPS, you’re not alone. Google says 19 of the top 100 sites are still unprotected. That said, the expectation is for all sites to be secured as soon as possible.

Word Count Not an Indicator of Quality Content

For content writers, that headline might sound like an article from The Onion, but Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that Google does not rank pages based solely on word count.

“Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing,” Mueller said in a tweet last week. The most important factor continues to be how well a page’s content satisfies a query, whether that’s in 100 words or 1,500.

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