How Does Google Determine What is a High Quality Website?

“Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find high quality sites by reducing the rankings of low quality content” Amit Singhal

I’ve always said that in order to build a long term online business, you have to have your visitors in mind at all times when building your website, doing your best to over deliver on content quality and site layout. Your aim should always be to make your website a useful resource for searchers.

But how does Google determines “high quality”?

Here’s a list of questions provided by Google that you can ask yourself when looking at your content and website to determine if they are high quality or not.

  • 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?

The information above is invaluable!! This is exactly what Google’s engineers ask themselves when creating the search algorithms that help them differentiate between a quality site and a useless site.

This list was provided on an article posted on the Google webmasters central blog:

I have this checklist printed out and go over it every time I build a new website and you should too.

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Thank you

AlexHow Does Google Determine What is a High Quality Website?

Comments 33

  1. Peter Venter

    Hi Alex
    As usual your content is top class and the list of questions to ask one’s self when building websites is priceless. I follow everything you have to say closely and even have a storage folder in my e-mail for all your articles and WSO’s. Love the Stealth Keyword Competition Analyzer. Best keyword software I have ever used.

  2. Celeste

    This post is eye-opening for me. I imagined Google looked for duplicate content, spam, keywords and LSI, poor grammar and a serious-sounding url, I never imagined their algorithm might go much deeper.


  3. Tim B. Miller

    Great information Alex!

    I always look forward to opening your emails because I know it’s going to be great content that I can learn from.

    Thank you for helping,

    -Tim B. Miller

  4. Tamara Madrid

    This is the information I’ve been looking for to make the content on my site better. I work hard to make sure the content and information is something my readers can use and want to share with others.

  5. Kanute Fleming

    Very useful information! I don’t think it suffices though, to provide high quality content on your pages to receive organic traffic from Google. The on-page SEO must be in place as well – using the ‘right’ keywords, keyword optimization etc.


    1. Post
      Alex Safie

      You’re right Kanute,

      Having quality content and structure on your website is one part of the equation, the other one is SEO.

      But you have to have both.


  6. Ken K

    Great article (and great software), but –
    I have a minor disagreement with you re:
    the google algorithms’ sophistication.

    I believe they do they best they can, but basically are trying to reverse-engineer the behavior patterns of “happy browsers”, NOT creating an algorithm that can actually judge subjectively.
    e.g.- real backlinks and real social bookmarks, staying on the site (not hitting the backbutton on the browser (in less than 30 seconds)

    Until (and maybe even then) they actually create robot-personas that can actually “grok” the content. (Does that term date me?) They will always be just one or two steps ahead of the more aggressive marketers.

  7. Hanns

    Hi Alex,
    Another great article. I”ve just stared a blog on watches (my personal passion) and while comparing the cometition on a particular model almost all of the first 2 pages where very similar results. Hope to be able to beat them by prividing quality as mentioned above.

    1. Post
      Alex Safie


      If you were banned maybe it had something to do with your backlinks.

      What type of backlinks were you building for your websites?

      All the best,


    1. Post
  8. geo

    any of these criteria apply easily to New york times or Home depot not many can qualify for.
    Google’s view of quality favours the big sites and the practiced writers not the small practical business.

  9. Bruce

    Just finished reading (and saving!) your 17 great posts.

    What a gift. I can think of quite a few “gurus” who would have packaged and sold what you have so generously given.
    Many, many thanks.
    Like Peter Venter, I have a folder for your posts; have all your software; and think both posts and software are fantastic.

    1. Post
  10. Mark Hamilton

    Alex, this is great! This post answers the question that I have always had when writing posts and articles. That question is, of course, “What does it mean to have quality content?” I have always tried to put out content that I thought was high quality – but did Google think it was? Did my readers think it was? Now I have something to compare it to and thus I will KNOW it is high quality.

    I have printed it off and I am going to use it as a checklist with every article and post that I write – just as you do. Thanks a lot for this Alex.

    1. Post
  11. craig williams

    Alex you provide excellent information. Alas I have lost confidence in Google. If you pay them a buck you can expose any rubbish! So I smile when I see them taking the information moral high ground. The bottom line these days is that only a fool would trust their income or livelihood to the whims of Google. Only a fool would spend years building a quality site in the hope that the merciful “big G” might shine light on it. If you’re online to make an income and you dont have two lifetimes to either SEO or recover from the wrath of the Mighty Mistress, then it is time to develop other methods of getting exposure and building relationships. Which is not to say keywords will not continue to be the lifeblood of every campaign.

  12. Libido

    I look foward to your intersting emails Alex as you always have good info to share with us all. I have learned a lot from you already. Keep up the good work my friend.

  13. Rodolfo

    just a little comment to let you know that I met him recently, with the purchase of two software, which I found very good and buy them, and are actually good as his blog post, excellent, thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *