Google released a new search rater guidelines in July, and it was the first major update to those guidelines since 2015. For those in the hospitality industry, the guidelines hold important clues on what owners and managers should focus on when creating new websites or adding to current ones. Google even went so far as to list out what made a bad web page, so let’s delve further into those details so that you can make sure not to fall into those traps.
“An inadequate level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).”
The company has long used the acronym EAT to express who they thought should create websites. They want to see web pages produced by people who know what they are talking about on a given topic. Google continues with an example of a video on how to complete a tax form from people who have no expertise in taxes as being an example of poor expertise.
For those in the hospitality industry, you should be an expert on the geographic location of your establishment, so get out and show people why they should be visiting you.
Furthermore, Google wants to see web pages strongly tied to the subject matter of the website. As an example, Google lists putting that video on a cooking website.
Hospitality providers are often guilty of allowing their content to be shared in many different places. Before you allow your content to be shared, stop and ask yourself if that site will help to build your content.
They also want to see secure websites. As an example, Google lists a shopping page without a secure connection. Those in the hospitality industry will want to make sure that their customers feel safe using their websites when making purchases. For example, the latest version of Google Chrome is marking all HTTP websites as nonsecure.
“The quality of the MC is low.”
Google goes on to say that raters should mark all content as low if the quality of content on the web page is not top-notch. When rating your web pages ask yourself some questions:
- Is the content useful to my target audience?
- Will viewers find it more useful than content produced by my competitors? Is the content credible?
- Is it high quality?
- Will it engage a target audience member?
If you cannot satisfactorily answer all these questions adequately, then it is time to make some changes before a Google rater downgrades your website.
“The title of the MC is exaggerated or shocking.”
Clickbait articles are a waste of time. Therefore, make sure you are writing headlines that deliver on any promises that they make. Well-known SEO expert Neil Patel says that he increased the click-through rate on one of his articles by over 40 percent just by changing the headline. Meanwhile, Copyblogger says that 80 percent of people will read your headline, but only 20 percent will read every word of an article. Increase your click-through rate by:
- Using specific numbers and data
- Make your rationale unique
- Include a call-to-action
- State the obvious
- Use interesting adjectives
- Invoke emotions
In particular, Google outlines several types of pages that should never be found on the internet even in headlines. These include:
- Deceptive pages
- Pages that misinform users
- Malicious pages
- Pages about how to carry out terrorism or self-harm.
If you are including lots of additional content or ads across the top of your page and down its side, then expect to get rated lower. While these can be another source of income, you may be hurting your main cause by allowing too many of them to live on your page.
While Google says that the results collected by their 10,000 raters do not directly affect the search engine results pages, the company freely admits that they use the results to teach their algorithm to create these pages. Therefore, you should consider each of these areas before a rater marks your web page down for them.