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Can Site Quality Be Quantified in Search Console?

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Can Site Quality Be Quantified in Search Console?

Google’s John Mueller was asked about whether search quality is quantifiable, meaning something that could be measured and expressed as a metric. John Mueller’s answer was surprising because he indicated having looked into a search console quality metric to help publishers.

What is Site Quality?

The idea of site quality seems deceptively simple but it’s not.

John Mueller and many others talk about the importance of site quality for indexing and ranking but what it actually means at Google is a mystery so we’re stuck with our own subjective ideas.

Screenshot of John Mueller Discussing Site Quality

Google's John Mueller discussing site quality

The concept of “site quality” is a subjective concept that depends on the opinions of individuals, opinions that are influenced by their wildly varied levels of experience and knowledge.

There is no absolute and objective way to express what Site Quality is.

Every person is literally blind to what “quality” actually means for Google because Google doesn’t say what the height, width, and depth of their definition of site quality is.

And it could be, as the person asking the question implies, there is no way to quantify what multiple algorithms are independently verifying.

The person asking the question, quite reasonably, was looking for something more objective and quantifiable.

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The question:

“When you say improve the quality of your website is this quality something that is quantifiable?

Or is it simply a term used to determine how multiple algorithms look at your website?”

Site Quality is Not Quantifiable

Perhaps not surprisingly, John Mueller confirmed that site quality is not a quantifiable quality.

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t think it’s quantifiable in the sense that we have kind of like a quality score like you might have for ads when it comes to web search.

We have lots of different algorithms that try to understand the quality of a website so it’s not just one number, anything like that.”

Search Console Site Quality Metric

Here’s where John Mueller revealed something surprising. He said that he’s discussed the possibility of creating a quality metric in search console.

That’s really cool because it shows Mueller sympathizing with the plight of publishers and seeing if there’s a way to help them with some kind of quality metric.

Mueller continued his answer:

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“From time to time I talk with the search quality team to see if there’s some quality metric that we could show for example in search console.

But it’s super tricky because we could create a separate quality metric to show in search console but then that’s not the quality metric that we actually use for search so it’s kind of almost like misleading.

And if we were to show exactly the quality metric that we use then on the one hand that opens things up a little bit for abuse and on the other hand it makes it a lot harder for the teams internally to work on improving this metric.

So that’s kind of the tricky balance there.

I don’t know… At some point maybe we’ll still have some measure of quality in search console though.”

Quality is Not Just One Number

When Mueller said, “if we were to show exactly the quality metric that we use” that does not mean that there is a single metric. That statement must be understood within the entire context of his answer where he begins by stating there are multiple quality related algorithms and that, ” it’s not just one number.”

So in order to provide an actionable quality metric, Google would have to reveal what the different quality-related algorithms are and that would open things up for “abuse” as Mueller noted.

One thing we do know is that what is meant by site quality, by Google’s standard, is something that is broad and encompasses far more than just text content.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting that Mueller left open the possibility of one day having some kind of quality related metric.

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Citation

What Does Site Quality Mean?

Watch Mueller discuss site quality at the 34:40 minute mark:

Searchenginejournal.com

SEO

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’ts

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SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do's & Don’ts

Ecommerce is expected to grab even more of the retail pie, with a projected growth of nearly $11 trillion between 2021 and 2025.

An increasing number of ecommerce sites want a piece of this pie, making it critical that your search strategy delivers.

Add to this the fact that advertising costs are reaching the realm of prohibitive, only to often see sinking results, and smart SEO practices become more urgent than ever.

10 Do’s Of Ecommerce Product Page SEO

Here are 10 steps to take and 10 to avoid for a successful SEO strategy.

1. Fine-Tune Your Keyword Strategy

Keyword research is the foundation for product page optimization.

When conducting keyword research, always use product-focused topics that users are searching for. Don’t fixate on volume. Instead, think about relevancy and what will actually convert.

If you have data from other channels like paid search, use it in your keyword and topic research and incorporate ad copy with high click-through rates (CTR) into meta descriptions.

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Product pages have transactional intent, so make sure your landing pages are optimized for searchers ready to buy.

Someone looking for a specific product like “Series S60l & Expression E52 paintbrush” strongly indicates they are ready to purchase it due to the detailed nature of their search.

Make it easy for them to take that next important step.

2. Optimize Titles And Meta Descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are very important in product page optimization.

Make sure you include details such as:

  • The brand of the product, including your proprietary brand.
  • The name of the product.
  • The model number.
  • Other important information (e.g., dimensions).

3. Mark Up Product Pages With Structured Data

Having the correct structured data type can help your brand appear in rich snippets.

All product pages should have product schema and review schema, which can:

  • Drive more impressions and clicks.
  • Improve your CTR and drive more sales.

4. Add Clear And Helpful FAQs

High-quality content that meets the users’ needs is key to ranking high in SERPs.

If users do not find your content useful, your bounce rates will be high, and customers may decide not to buy from you.

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Most category and product pages are light on optimized content and do not have an FAQ section that is marked up with FAQ structured data.

Instead, they tend to rely on user-generated content (UGC), which is a mistake.

Suppose I have a question about a product and do not want to talk to a chatbot or call customer service.

If the brand in question has built an FAQ section with answers to questions that users commonly ask, I can easily find the information I’m looking for, and so can other customers.

That, in turn, helps the brand sell more products.

5. Always Write Unique Product And Meta Descriptions

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen an ecommerce site use the same product description for all products. This is a huge opportunity lost.

Each item can rank for branded and non-branded keywords and should therefore include a unique description to take full advantage of SEO.

Give consumers helpful, meaningful information to encourage them to click on your listing, thereby driving more traffic and sales.

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SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from search, Google, August 2022

6. Share Real Testimonials And Customer Reviews

Product pages with customer reviews see conversion lifts of 52.2% more than their review-free counterparts, so this should be a no-brainer.

Genuine testimonials from customers, who have tried your product, speak volumes to in-market consumers trying to figure out whether or not to buy from you.

That’s why it’s so important to let customers share their experiences with your products and how they’ve helped solve problems.

But there are other advantages, too.

Reviews help build trust – especially if you have an endorsement from a carefully vetted celebrity or famous influencer.

They also provide the fresh, unique content Google craves. Just be sure to mark them up with the review schema.

Share Real Testimonials And Customer ReviewsScreenshot from zoya.com, August 2022

7. Test Landing Pages To Find The Best

Tools like Optimizely and Google Optimize provide an intuitive way to test even the slightest variations within product pages, which you should absolutely do to figure out the ideal configuration.

Changing the location of your call to action, for example, could drive more conversions.

Test your page layout options to see how they can best support sales.

8. Use High-Quality Video And Imagery

One of the drawbacks of shopping online is you cannot physically touch or test the product you are considering.

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High-quality images and videos can fill that gap by providing end users with the information they need to feel confident in their purchases.

Recently, my search for a cordless drill led me to the Home Depot site. The company’s site ranks very high for this term, and its landing page is filled with powerful content that includes:

  • Videos that answer common questions.
  • Q&A with other customers.
  • The imagery of what a particular kit includes.

This was a great user experience because I wanted to know how many batteries came with the drill and if it came with a bag.

Use High-Quality Video And ImageryScreenshot from homedepot.com, August 2022

9. Minimize Page Load Times

Your product pages must be optimized for mobile. More and more consumers are conducting their online searches this way.

Fast-loading webpages will get your content in front of your target audience more quickly and provide a better user experience.

That, in turn, helps increase sales, revenue, and pages per session. Plus, it gives you a leg up on the competition.

It also decreases your bounce rates.

Aim for three seconds or less.

10. Audit Your Product Pages For Technical Issues

Product pages can often be duplicated because of faceted URLs, which can cause a lot of headaches for SEO, such as:

  • Duplicate content.
  • Wasted crawl budget.
  • Split link equity.

To avoid these issues, audit your pages to see which technical and content elements need to be optimized, if any.

Problems to watch for include:

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10 Don’ts Of Ecommerce Product Page SEO

1. Don’t Use Product Descriptions From The Manufacturer’s Website

This is one of the most common mistakes I see in optimizing product pages.

Many manufacturer descriptions are not compelling, lack all the information a customer needs – and are not optimized for search.

It’s worth taking the time to write more informative and engaging descriptions. The more detailed information, the better. This may very well be the difference between being found and being invisible.

Also, remember that you do not want duplicate content, which will hurt your SEO efforts.

2. Don’t Kill Your Seasonal Pages Once Peak Is Past

This is a common mistake I see brands make.

While removing seasonal pages after the peak period may seem sensible, doing this will leave you with the same uphill battle every year, once again, trying to regain the authority your site needs to rank for seasonal terms.

And by the time you do this each year, it will likely be too late.

If you have a seasonal product page that has built up rankings, traffic, and sales over time, do not eliminate it.

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Amazon is a great example of how to do this well. They have a dedicated Black Friday URL that only gains authority over time.

Amazon can then update the page as the peak Black Friday season approaches.

3. Don’t Use Automated Optimization

Dynamically populated product pages with the product’s name as the title tag, followed by brand and nothing else, is not a best practice.

Also, using automated descriptions and changing just a few variables could negatively impact your CTR.

Instead, include important information in the titles that you cannot automate. This can help your site rank for targeted keywords.

All titles and meta descriptions should be unique.

4. Don’t Pull Out-of-Stock Pages

Sometimes products go out of stock, especially when supply chains are stressed.

But if the product is temporarily unavailable, you should keep the URL live, especially if the page has rankings and traffic.

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As with seasonal pages, this can seem counterintuitive.

In fact, a more profitable strategy is to keep these pages live and provide links to other relevant products until the item is back in stock.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from karmaloop.com, August 2022

5. Don’t Use The Wrong Type Of Structured Data – Or None At All

Structured data (i.e., reviews and product data) can help your site rank in the rich results and drive more traffic and sales. Having product data can help your site rank for rich snippets.

Many brands use the wrong type of structured data or do not implement any structured data. Both hurt your site rank.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from Google Search Console, August 2022

6. Don’t Use Weak Calls To Action – Or Omit Them Entirely

Oftentimes, many brands do not have strong calls to action (CTA), but clean and easy CTAs are a must-have for any site.

Remember that the main job of your product page is to drive revenue and sales.

If it takes users too long to find how to purchase your products, they will instead visit your competitors’ sites. Make it easy and convincing for them to buy from you.

7. Don’t Optimize For CEO Keywords And Keywords With No Volume

Often, when a CEO asks an SEO specialist, “Why are we not ranking for XYZ keyword?” The answer is that XYZ has no search volume.

Think like a customer, do your research, and use data to inform your decisions about which keywords to use.

For example, if I’m optimizing for “lego spice girls back in stock,” it won’t be worth it because users are not really searching for this term.

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Once I rank for it, I won’t get many sales because of the low volume.

8. Don’t Miss Opportunities For Internal Linking And Backlinks

Links still matter for ecommerce.

Often, brands build links to their homepages and category pages but forget about product pages.

But these pages can rank, especially for long-tail keywords that have high purchase intent and can dramatically increase revenue and sales.

That’s why you should always support product pages with internal links and even paid social to improve visibility and performance.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’ts

9. Don’t Charge The Wrong Price

Not having the right pricing strategy can cause consumers not to buy your products and possibly not to trust your brand.

This is especially true when prices spike on products high in demand, as we experienced during the baby food shortage.

We all know the laws of supply and demand, but paying 20% more for baby formula is crazy. Luckily, states are cracking down on price gouging.

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10. Don’t Forget Mobile Optimization

To appreciate just how important it is to optimize for mobile shopping, consider that more than 60% of online shoppers in the U.S. shop via mobile devices. And more than one-third are mobile-only shoppers.

Not having a mobile-friendly product page can cause users to not even consider buying products from your site.

Wrapping Up

By sharpening your SEO strategy, you’re also burnishing your brand.

Giving consumers the best information there is on a product (and quickly), a compelling reason to buy, answers to their anticipated FAQs, and genuine third-party thumbs-up, you’re giving them reasons to return to your site.

Brand building is a long-term commitment. Even when it doesn’t immediately lead to a buy, it’s an assurance to customers that they can trust you.

And being vigilant about your SEO is an important way to build that trust.

More Resources:


Featured Image: ImYanis/Shutterstock

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