This summer, Google updated its Quality Rater Guidelines. Google’s main way of judging what search results it shows to people is finding the highest quality content to present. But this new update helps to hone in on how exactly low quality content is defined. It’s important for brands to pay attention to the new guidelines, so they know what to avoid with their own content.

Let’s take a look at some of the updates, with tips for how you can ensure your content quality is solid.

1. Low-Quality Content Sign: The Main Content Is Lacking in Length

There’s no set rule to how long content needs to be to rank, but data shows that longer-form posts that are well-researched and provide value to readers rank better. If the Google bots are comparing two pieces of content with similar objectives, the piece that contains an additional amount of valuable content is probably going to outrank the shorter one.

Fix it: A good content length standard is to aim for posts that are at the very least 500 words or more. Use subheadings to break up content, include a relevant call to action, and point users to other relevant pages within your website that offer more high-quality content.

2. Low-Quality Content Sign: The Main Content Lacks Expertise

Google ranks content based on the level of trustworthiness, authoritativeness and expertise that is displayed in it. If content is inaccurate, poorly written, full of grammar and spelling errors, and reads like it was put together by a robot, it could be penalized.

Fix it: Have subject matter experts at your business create content, or hire professional writers or a content marketing agency to create your content. Make sure to proofread any content you publish. Only publish content that is true, accurate and helpful.

3. Low-Quality Content Sign: The Content Is Not What the Searcher Wanted

If a title is shocking or exaggerated, it’s not going to fly with Google. The search engine penalizes “clickbait” content, where the title doesn’t accurately reflect what the content is. Even if the content itself is valuable, a misleading title can negate the positive effort.

Fix it: Headlines on the web are better off factual, not cutesy or creative to the point where they mislead the user. Make sure any headline of content you publish accurately reflects the content.

What Is Low-Quality Content, and How Can You Avoid It?4. Low-Quality Content Sign: Ads Distract from the Content

The ads surrounding the content could have a negative effect. Ads that are offensive or that contain grotesque images can decrease results of a page or an entire website.

Fix it: If you partner with an ad-serving service, ensure that the ads they’re delivering on your website are high-quality. If you show your own ads, make sure they don’t contain offensive or misleading content.

5. Low-Quality Content Sign: The Content Creator Has a Bad Reputation

If other pages on the website are bad, a new page may be associated with the low quality, too. If it’s difficult to research the website creator or legitimize the website, or if the creator has a negative or malicious reputation, the page may be dinged as low-quality.

Fix it: Vet any content creator you work with. If you feature bylines on content, make sure those people don’t have negative online reputations. Do a Google search on every content creator you feature to make sure the results aren’t negative.

6. Low-Quality Content Sign: There’s No Identifiable Purpose to the Page

If the page’s purpose is scattered or mis-mashed or doesn’t make sense to the average content consumer, the purpose of the page is harder to pinpoint, and thus harder to rank.

Fix it: Before publishing any page on your website, strategize the purpose of the page, and create an outline of what the page will contain. Proofread the page to make sure it makes sense before publishing.

What Is Low-Quality Content, and How Can You Avoid It?7. Low-Quality Content Sign: The Overall Website Is Poorly Maintained

Spammy ads, bad navigation, slow page load times and other website issues can decrease the quality of individual pages. If the overall user experience on your website is poor, on devices including smartphones and tablets, Google can punish any new pages you publish.

Fix it: Work with a website design agency that will optimize your website’s navigation, site speed and maintenance. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile and is responsively designed to work on any device. Use https:// protocol to make all pages on your website secure.

8. Low-Quality Content Sign: The Page Promotes Hate or Harm

Content that promotes hate against groups of people based on socioeconomic status or political beliefs, or that targets victims of atrocities or that promotes mental, physical or emotional harm to oneself or others is considered low-quality.

Fix it: Think about the needs of your target audience. Be respectful of diverse audiences who might use your website. Don’t publish offensive content.

9. Low-Quality Content Sign: The Page Contains Malicious Links

If there are links within content that take users to sites that don’t relate to what the link says it will take a user to, the content will be judged as low-quality. Also, if there are links that take users to malicious or spam websites, that will negatively affect quality.

Fix it: Conduct regular audits of links within content. If you’ve linked to external websites in the past, those links may now lead to malicious websites or 404 pages, which could negatively impact the site content. Every few months, check that all links you have on your website still lead to legitimate, high-quality pages.

Get Content Help from AlphaMind Studios

If you’re creating content, but you’re not satisfied with where you’re landing in search results, there could be a variety of factors that are affecting your content quality. From your website design, to the actual writing, multiple components come together to affect content search results.

At AlphaMind Studios, our team of website developers and content creators can help identify potential issues and help you create higher quality content that serves the needs of your leads and customers. For a free content marketing consultation, contact AlphaMind Studios.