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
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.
“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:
“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.
What Does Site Quality Mean?
Watch Mueller discuss site quality at the 34:40 minute mark:
Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience.
I offer site audits and link building strategies.