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!



In the Time of COVID-19: How to work from home, the right way

In the Time of COVID-19: How to work from home, the right way

Many advocates for Work from home (WFH) had predicted that 2020 would be a watershed year in terms of the move towards substantially larger acceptance of WFH.

Nobody quite realized how much the COVID-19 would tip things over in such a massive way. Companies big and small are scrambling to enable their workers to WFH.

What are some of the rules of working from home? According to an article by Bryan Lufkin on 12th March 2020 on bbc.com, “In a survey of 7,000 workers last year by FlexJobs, 65% said they’re more productive working from home, citing benefits like fewer interruptions from colleagues, minimal office politics and reduced stress from commuting.”

Some rules to remember for delivering high productivity and maintaining a practical WFH lifestyle are:

– Create a secluded space (or as secluded as possible) that can serve as an office at home.

– Set up a morning startup routine, which could be a 10-minute virtual huddle with your team.

– Make sure that you get dressed almost as though you need to go to Work, regardless of whether you have video meetings with colleagues.

– Follow your company’s schedule of check-ins and project timelines.

– Be accessible to colleagues and clients. WFH does not mean turning into an incommunicado hermit.

– Create a schedule of breaks for coffee and even a 20-30 minute break for exercising.

– Eliminate household chores distractions so that you can remain focused on your Work and keep productivity high – separate home from Work.

– Set up an end of day segway so that you can disengage from your Work at some reasonable hour – which doesn’t need to be 5 pm.

– Set some time into your schedule for personal development activities.

Keep your motivation up in these trying times.

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SEO for Dummies | Steeped Digital

SEO for Dummies: What Is It, Who Needs It, and How Does It Work?

SEO for Dummies: What Is It, Who Needs It, and How Does It Work?

When was the last time you heard the term SEO? If you know nothing about how to generate traffic to your website or blog then this abbreviation no-doubt sounds like meaningless jargon.

But in fact, search engine optimization is easy to understand. It is simply a process to ensure that websites and blogs stand out from the crowd. It is also a great way of improving the image of your brand online.

This is imperative in a word where the internet has billions of pages and users. And there are many logical things you can do to improve your SEO without having to spend money or time researching complex algorithms.

Here’s SEO for dummies and everything you need to know about what is SEO.

1.On-Page SEO Rewards Great Copy

The first thing to note about SEO is that it rewards great writing. Crafting great content with great links is part of on-page SEO.

This is not writing that is overly complex and full of big words. It is copy that is simple, concise and clear. You can improve your SEO by improving your writing skills.

Write in manageable paragraphs of no more than three sentences. Stick to one idea per paragraph and try to stick to the concept of making a point, backing it up with evidence and then explaining how the evidence relates to the point. Use lots of headings and subheadings.

Try to break meatier paragraphs up into smaller sections using numbered lists and bullet points.

If you want some tangible facts about how to improve your writing for SEO then try putting your text through programs like Grammarly or Hemmingway. These will provide you with a report that has suggestions such as removing too many adverbs or reformatting some sentences to remove instances of passive voice.

These services can also give you an idea of the reading age of what you’ve written. You want the average reader to be able to understand what you’ve written: you don’t want users to click off because your blog post is too dense.

Google rewards well-written posts. Moreover, if a blog post can make a point in a clear concise way then those that read it are more likely to share it which will increase the traffic.

2.Reward Your User By Using Lots of Links

Links are SEO 101 and are another part of on-page SEO. You need to include links to other posts on the site as well as external links. An external link should be to an authoritative news site rather than to other blogs or companies.

Different sites will be relevant to different topics. If you are writing about money or business then Forbes is always a good site as it includes lots of great advice from industry experts and news articles on changes to tax legislation.

If you are writing about design then sites like Good Housekeeping could be a great site to add-in or if you are writing about a recent event then news articles on CNBC or CNN could work well.

Remember not to spam your viewers. You don’t want to cram lots of links in on irrelevant articles. The point of a link is to allow the reader to read more about a topic or area that you don’t have time to go into detail in your text. They are designed to help your users understand the topic and to make it easy for them to look up terms they don’t understand.

3.On-Site SEO: Don’t Make Mobile Users Work For Your Site

When we think about websites the first image in our minds is no doubt a website displayed on a desktop or a laptop. But it is becoming increasingly uncommon for a user to view a website for the first time on the big screen.

More people now scroll the web on their cell phone when they are bored or are waiting in line for something such as a hospital appointment or bus. Websites must, therefore, be optimized for mobiles.

And a website copied straight from the desktop and opened on a cell phone will often be fiddly to use. There will be too much text on display for a small screen and the user might have to zoom to click some of the menus. This kind of user experience will lead to many users clicking off your site.

You need to ensure you have two versions of your site, a mobile version, and a desktop version. The mobile version must only include the basic details that the user needs to know.

Big corporations have now started employing UX designers who specialize in creating a comfortable user experience as a result of Google algorithms that reward good design and mobile-friendly sites.

This is a crucial part of on-site SEO, different from on-page SEO. It is about making sure your site looks and works well for your users.

What is SEO? A Great Tool To Get Noticed

In the internet age where we are loaded with information on a daily basis SEO is a great way of standing out from the crowd. By following a few simple guidelines to the way you write you can get noticed more easily and drive traffic to your site.

Write in manageable paragraphs in a friendly and informative way, do some research into what topics and keywords are driving traffic and include lots of great useful links. Then build a site that is easy to navigate and is mobile-friendly and you are well on the way to increase your traffic.

If you are interested in learning more about local SEO services then be sure to check out our services to see if we can help you or your business today.