Some of the information which search engine optimisation experts understand about the ‘rules’ used by Google comes from an interesting document called the Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines. This extensive publication is aimed at human ‘quality raters’, who work on experiments for Google, assessing whether new search ideas are indeed producing relevant results.
The Guidelines are not a list of things which make up Google’s search algorithm, but they do help us understand what is perceived as a quality site.
There has been some discussion in SEO circles of the most recent update, which made changes to what’s considered ‘lowest quality’ pages. It’s now being suggested that a page can be considered low quality even if its intention is good. The Guidelines say “We will consider content to be Low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill. Pages with low quality Main Content do not achieve their purpose well.”
All this should be good for most of us, doing our best to present information clearly and fairly. While there’s no suggestion that longer articles are better, it’s clear that a few words on a page is not going to get us top positions – as if that was a surprise.