What is a good website anyway?

What is Google’s definition of a good Website?

Whenever this question is asked to Google managers, they tend to point to a blogpost in the Google Webmaster Central blog written by Google Fellow Amit Singhal, about what constitutes a good website design?

The blog post is titled “More Guidance On Building High Quality Sites”

This article was written in 2011 after the Panda update is an attempt to explain what Google was looking for in website quality that it was algorithmically trying to achieve. While dated 2011, this response as policy continues to be relevant even today. Here is what Singhal says qualifies as good content!

The questions below provide some guidance on how we’ve been looking at the issue:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health-related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

He closes by saying that Google is continuing to work on additional algorithmic iterations that would help webmasters operating high-quality sites get more traffic from organic search.

So, there you have it, that is the Canonical gold standard for what a good website should be!

Must Haves For Good Website Design In 2020

To complete the case for what makes a good website. Here are a few trends for visually and technically what makes a good website:

  1. Clear intent – Your website needs to know who its core audience is. Or let me correct that you need to know who your audience is and who is the customer for your product or services.  This is really Marketing 101. Clarity about who the customer is, leads to a laser-focused website!
  1. Technically sound – Is your website stable, is it hosted on a platform with adequate bandwidth? Is it optimized for speed?Last not least, is it crawlable by search engine bots?
  1. Trustworthy and Secure – For starters an SSL certificate is now a ranking factor with Google! Your website needs to secure for your visitors. It must have UpToDate software, and UpToDate plugins. Do your use a tool like Sitelock to guard your website from hacking and have the ability to have it back up asap should you have such an attack? Do you use Cloudflare to not only add speed to your website but use it to protect your website from DDoS attacks. This list is long…… but its prudent to make your site as secure as possible. That trust will make your visitors secure in browsing your website.
  1. Responsive design – With so much of search moving to mobile, having a website that can show well on any device from a desktop to a mobile smart phone is not just desirable, its critical. Mobile First in fact is increasingly the way to go!
  1. Minimalist design – This is generally a matter of personal preference. But uncluttered websites, make content easier to find and will keep visitors who come to your website find navigating it a visually pleasant experience.
  1. UX and UI – User experience and the User Interfaces used to deliver that experience are the aggregate of what constitutes a positive visitor experience. Good UX is a delivery of superior experience visually as well as technically.
  1. Superlative content – Content remains King! Quality always will come out on top. Google weighs content quality as a major ranking factor. The volume of content can also make a substantial difference to how your page ranks or does not rank. The average word count for a page served up by Google on its first page is ~ 1200 words.
  1. Multimedia content – Google looks for content supported by images and videos. A picture can genuinely be worth a thousand words. And a video perhaps significantly more!