Google’s Content Guidelines from an Advertiser’s Perspective

General Guideline Summary
Google Webmaster released their General Guidelines on November 19th. It has been 2 years since they’ve released anything about guidelines based on human ratings. This guide provides an insight on how Google views content on websites. An experiment was conducted on users to rate the usability of websites, ultimately, to develop guidelines that create the best user experience possible. Internet marketers continue to anticipate a Penguin algorithm update before the end of the year and believe this is just a Panda refresh with focus on content quality. However, with the growth of search on mobile and tablet, Google has expanded usability to include these devices.

It has acknowledged that typing on a mobile device is difficult, speaking to the device is sometimes inaccurate, and that users want immediate information. Considering these obstacles, Google has come up with a way to provide the best search results for users. These search results are determined by the query, user intent, and user location.

As the Internet is flooded daily with streams of content, Google continues to update its algorithm to weave out the bad and rank the best. The best is known as Page Quality and is determined by time, effort, expertise, and skill.

From An Advertiser’s Perspective
As you know, my specialty lies in Google’s AdWords Ads. You might be thinking, “why would SEO or quality content matter to an advertiser?” Although running campaigns consist of understanding Click Through Rates, Conversions, Cost Per Acquisitions and many more statistics, it is important to understand how quality content affects an Ad. The Quality Score of ads are determined by the user experience. Like Search Engine Optimization, the better the quality of the content on a landing page/website the higher the Ad Quality Score. This means the Ad with a high Quality Score will perform better in average positions on a search result page. It’s also a reminder that the lower the quality of the content on a landing page, the higher the chances are that the landing page may be suspended.

The guidelines for mobile and tablet devices have been expanded in this update. Google has recognized that not only has the amount of searches on mobile and tablet devices increased, but the way users search on these devices are different. While users browse on desktop, they’re searching for immediate results on mobile. As an advertiser this means it’s time to re-evaluate our campaigns. Where is the majority of the traffic coming from? Do the ads meet the needs of the users who are searching for immediate results and is the landing page providing the information they are looking for? These are just a few of the many questions that need to be asked to adjust to the Google guidelines.

Where To Implement Changes For The Guidelines
Now that we know and understand how Google reviews content, we can start implementing adjustments to campaigns.

Mobile Traffic
Since the amount of search has increased drastically on mobile in the previous years, adjustments should be made on mobile bidding. This will increase the number of impressions of the ad on mobile devices versus desktops. Because the ad will be shown more often on mobile, they need to meet the needs of the user’s query. The ads should indicate an immediate search solution.

Quality Content
When users click the ad, it will take them to a landing page. This page should be filled with quality content. According to Google guidelines, the best user experience comes from websites/landing pages that do not require the user to do further research on their query. Although there may be useful information on the website, if there is an indication that the user must perform more research, Google rates it as not fully meeting the guidelines. This results in a lower rank.

Google mentioned that this update is not a final version of their rater guidelines. The Internet and technology is ever changing, as will the needs of the user. Google promises to update their guidelines periodically with large changes.