Spending a lot of money on a site is no guarantee of it being classed as a high quality one. You can actually create one for very little financial investment (as little as £250 probably) so long as you invest thought and time into it.
Though assessing quality is a subjective task, as what one persons judges as low quality another might judge as high quality, there are multiple indicators that people and search engines use when making judgements.
If a site can answer ‘yes’ to more than 90% of the below questions then it most cases it can be said to be a high quality website. However, even a single ‘no’ (slow to load, duplicate content, too many ads, etc.) can be sufficient for it to get classed as low quality.
- Is the domain name representative of the business’s name?
- Does it clearly state its full postal address and phone number?
- Is it possible to speak to a real person associated with it?
- Are there names and photos of the people associated with it?
- Is it transparent about its history and objectives?
- Are there links to its presence on social media websites?
- Are there testimonials/reviews/case studies?
- Would you trust it with your credit card information?
- Would you bookmark/recommend/share it?
- Is it professionally designed?
- Is there consistency in style and presentation (fonts, colors, alignments, etc.)?
- Is text clear and easy to read?
- Is content free from spelling, grammatical and factual errors?
- Are there photos/graphics/videos and are they high quality?
- Is it simple and logical to navigate?
- Is it free from broken links and 404 errors?
- Is it free from manipulative SEO tricks (hidden text, cloaking, doorway pages, etc.)?
- Is it free from viruses and malware?
- Does it have a clear topical focus?
- Does content provide comprehensive coverage of its topic?
- Is content written by a verifiable expert or enthusiast?
- Is it free from duplicate/overlapping/redundant content?
- Is content trustworthy/reliable/unbiased?
- Is it regularly updated?
- Is content unique/valuable/engaging?
- Is content of the quality that you might expect to see in a printed magazine/journal/book?
- Does it provide substantial value when compared to competitor websites?
- Is it cited on, and linked to from, other high quality websites?
- Does it reference and cite other high quality websites?
- Is there a fair balance between providing value and marketing?
- Is there a fair balance between content and ads?
- Are ads clearly distinguishable from content?
- Does it avoid unnecessary registration and data collection?
- Does it load properly across all web browsers and screen resolutions?
- Do pages load in less than 3 seconds?
- Does the average visitor visit more than 1 page?
- Is the average visit duration more than 1 minute?
As well as having their main algorithm set-up to push high quality websites towards the top of the search results, Google also have specific updates (called Panda updates) aimed at reducing the rankings of low quality sites.
Panda updates, which are run on a monthly basis, will reduce the rankings ofa low quality site even if it scores highly under the main algorithm due to its on-site optimisation and backlinks.
When assessing the quality of a site, Google look at it as a whole and also on a page by page level. Having multiple low quality pages, on an otherwise good quality site, can easily result in the rankings of the whole site being reduced.
Having a high quality website is important from more than just a rankings perspective too, as it’s of little benefit to your business if once on your site people don’t like the look and feel of it and the experience they have on it.
A high quality website can easily convert visitors into leads and sales at a rate of x100 compared to a low quality site. That clearly makes it economically wise to invest in improving the quality of your business’s site.
Therefore, it’s important to review each and every page of your site. If some pages or sections of it are of questionable quality, then you need to either improve them or remove them.
You’re not well placed to judge the quality of your own site, as being so close to it tends to lead to a blinkered view of it. So, try to get independent opinions on it, and carefully assess the data shown in Google Analytics.