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Google doesn’t like low-quality content. In fact, if Google’s team of Quality Raters flag the content of your blog posts as low-quality, you could have a hard time getting organic search traffic to your website.

You don’t want that to happen.

Search traffic, specifically from Google, is the lifeblood of a website. Without it, you’ll have a hard time building your brand and business.

The key to making sure Google Quality Raters don’t think your content is low-quality is to understand how Google defines the term, and create content that doesn’t tick any of Google’s low-quality rating boxes.

What Does Google Consider Low-Quality Content?

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According to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, low-quality pages may have been intended to serve a purpose that would benefit visitors, but they don’t achieve their purpose for one or more reasons.

Lowest quality pages are defined as those pages that serve no real purpose for users.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Low-Quality Content

Low-quality pages don’t achieve their original purpose well if they have any of Google’s defined characteristics that make them lack expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).

Specifically, Google expects content to be created by someone who has adequate expertise in the content topic, published on a website that is considered an authoritative source for the topic and published on a trusted site.

On the other hand, characteristics of low-quality content according to Google include:

  • The main content of the page is low.
  • The amount of main content is inadequate given the purpose of the page
  • The main content title is exaggerated or shocking
  • Ads or sub-content on the page distract from the main content.
  • There is not enough information about the website or the main content creator for the page’s purpose, and there is not an appropriate reason for anonymity
  • The website or the main content creator has a mildly negative reputation.

Google employs Quality Raters to evaluate search results and grade them based on how well they match the searcher’s intent. These Quality Raters are instructed to rate pages as low-quality if they have any of the above characteristics.

Lowest Quality Content

If a web page has two or more characteristics associated with low-quality content, then Google Quality Raters may rate it as lowest quality content.

In addition to the low-quality content criteria that Quality Raters use to evaluate search results, Google also provides its Quality Raters with a list of lowest quality content characteristics to look for and rate carefully.

Lowest quality content characteristics include:

  • Pages with no purpose
  • Pages that don’t achieve their purpose because they are highly inexpert, unauthoritative, or untrustworthy (the opposite of E-A-T).
  • Pages that don’t achieve their purpose because they have no main content or a bare minimum of main content that isn’t helpful based on the page’s purpose.
  • Pages with inaccurate main content.
  • Pages with main content that takes a great deal of effort to understand because it’s so difficult to read, watch, or use.
  • Pages with broken functionality due to poor construction, design, or maintenance.
  • Pages with content that has been copied (i.e., scraped) from other websites even if the content has been changed slightly and attribution is given to the original source.
  • Pages with main content that is automatically generated.
  • Pages with main content that is blocked or inaccessible by ads, sub-content, or interstitial pages.
  • Pages with main content that doesn’t include information about the website or content creator.
  • Pages on websites that are no longer maintained.
  • Pages on websites that have been hacked, defaced, or spammed.
  • Pages that potentially spread hate.
  • Pages that encourage harm.
  • Pages that are malicious. Google defines malicious pages as those that were created with harmful content or for the purpose of benefiting the website, an organization, or person at the user’s cost. This includes scam pages, pages that ask for personal information without an appropriate reason, pages that phish for passwords, and pages with suspicious links.
  • Pages on a website or by creators with negative or malicious reputations.
  • Pages that potentially misinform users. This includes pages that appear to be informational but include inaccurate information, content that contradicts established experts, and conspiracy theories.
  • Pages that potentially deceive users, including pages on sites that impersonate other sites and pages that look like news, information, or celebrity pages but are actually trying to manipulate users to benefit the site owner or another entity. In addition, sites that claim to include independent reviews but were actually created to make money for the owner, pages with content or links that disguise ads as main content, and pages with misleading titles are rated as lowest quality content.

Remember, Google’s goal is to ensure the results delivered in searches provide the best experience for users. If you want your blog posts to rank well in Google searches and drive traffic to your website, then you need to focus on publishing high-quality content.

How to Keep Low-Quality Content off of Your Blog

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Keeping low-quality content off of your blog begins by making sure you’re not making any common blogging mistakes that could cause Google to flag your blog posts as low-quality or lowest quality content.

Here are five steps you can take to ensure you don’t publish low-quality content on your blog:

1. Hire for E-A-T

Hire authoritative writers with solid expertise, authority, and trustworthy reputations in the topics covered on your blog.

2. Go Deep

Cover your topics in depth by publishing long-form content that fully answers your audience’s questions and gives them all of the information they need.

3. Do It Better

Research what other bloggers say about your blog post topics by conducting a Google search and reading the highest ranking results. Also, use a tool like Buzzsumo to find and read popular content about your topic. When you write your blog post, make sure it’s better than all the rest.

4. Be Unique

Cover existing topics in new ways that provide value to your audience.

5. Consider Search Intent

Think about the search terms people enter into Google to find content like yours, and write blog posts that deliver the best experience based on their search intentions.

Key Takeaways about Low-Quality Content

Even though it’s faster, easier, and cheaper to publish low-quality content, don’t do it. Based on Google’s current Quality Rater Guidelines, publishing low-quality content could do a lot of harm to your website and ultimately decrease the amount of search traffic it gets.

You don’t want that to happen to your blog, so invest in high-quality content by authoritative authors that adds value and meets or exceeds your visitors’ expectations. That’s how you build trust and create opportunities to turn those visitors into customers and vocal brand advocates.

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It’s faster and cheaper to publish low-quality content but don’t do it. Here\'s what Google considers low-quality content and how to keep it off your blog.
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Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, and The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.