Reputation as a Major Ranking Factor in SEO
To maintain high search engine rankings today, you should be meticulous about evaluating the quality of the content on your site and its usability. This includes your company reputation as a major ranking factor in SEO.
Google Quality Raters guidelines (QRG) have more influence in Google search rankings and are relevant to its recent updates. While Google plainly states that algorithms do not use human evaluators, they also report that rater data is utilized for feedback about how search formulas are working.
People who have explored this area point out that some guidelines are signals for what is ranked, especially Expertise, Authority, and Trust (called EAT by Google). Some elements like a company’s ranking with the Better Business Bureau or the reputation of a writer could be influential ranking factors. Google emphatically states that they are not using the BBB rating guidelines or researching the reputations of authors.
Google consistently advises webmasters to concentrate on quality content and recommend that they use the QRG as a guideline to do so. How Google decides on the quality of content with algorithms is a big question since it is subjective. Translating qualities like reputation, expertise, trustworthiness, and authoritativeness into quantifiable data should be a primary goal. Quality assessment based solely on query analysis and link trust analysis is inadequate but is a factor.
Part of Google’s original website quality patent utilizes machine learning. Bill Slawski commented on the policy in 2013 by saying that humans could rate website quality and then those ratings could be linked to analysis algorithms via website signals. This identifies relationships between human value ratings and quantified signals to generate models from typical signals.
Quality factor examples included in the patent are web page grammar and spelling accuracy, incomplete or blank pages, and inappropriate or obscene material on a web page. These things are also cited in the QRG. The patent provides a reasonable outline for developing ways to assess the quality of websites and web pages and to come up with a Quality Score for ranking.
Google can utilize the signals to measure ad placement, number of ads, page layout, and content amount, internal and external links, reviews, click through rates, titles or headlines, metadata, etc. to see if the website is legit. There could be a model involved that combines quality signals to develop a score that goes along with it.