Google: Quality Is A Site Level Signal

Jun 16, 2021 • 7:21 am | comments (11) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

I am not sure why there are such extreme divisions in the SEO industry around site level vs page level signals. Some say Google only uses page level signals for rankings and some say Google uses both, page and site level signals. The reality is there is truth to both of those arguments but to outright say Google does not use some overall site higher level signals would be wrong.

We've covered Googlers talking about site quality and site level signals, from quality all the way down to how Google handles new pages it doesn't have signals for. Google will often, in those cases, use signals from the overall site to backfill some of the signals it has yet to capture - from links, speed and many other signals. But one thing that Google uses as a whole when it comes to the site is site level quality. John Mueller and other Googlers have been saying this over and over again, just search this site for "site quality" or searches like that.

That being said, it is my belief that Google uses a site level quality factor (let's say your site is scored a 7 out of 10 - this is super simplistic, I doubt Google uses something that basic). When Google ranks page A on your site, it likely plugs in both the page level scores for that page, as well as the overall site level scores for that page to make up the overall ranking score for that page. So the page is both ranked based on a page level score and a site level score - how that score is actually figured out is super complex but you get my point.

John this past week said it again, both on Twitter and in his weekly hangout. At the 40:28 mark said that when it comes to quality signals, Google cannot come up with those scores based on a single page but rather uses the site as a whole. John said "we do index things page by page, we rank things page by page but there's some signals that we can't reliably collect on a per page basis where we do need to have a bit of a better understanding of the overall site. And quality kind of falls into that category."

Here is the full transcript of this part:

We would probably see a mix. So on the one hand we do index things page by page, we rank things page by page but there's some signals that we can't reliably collect on a per page basis where we do need to have a bit of a better understanding of the overall site. And quality kind of falls into that category.

So in a case where you're significantly improving the quality of one page of a website then that does help that one page to improve a bit in ranking but kind of the overall effect of the whole website's quality that's something that takes a bit of time and where we really have to see that okay overall all of these things have changed. So kind of like more than just that one page. And then we can kind of see that website as a whole as being a little bit better with regards to quality.

John is clearly saying for quality metrics, it cannot just look at one page but at the overall site. Of course we know Google can possibly ignore parts of your site for assessing quality but that just strengthens that Google does use the site as a whole (or sections of the site when applicable) for quality.

You can listen to John say this:

So yes, Google may rank specific web pages but what goes into the scores to rank those individual pages are both page level signals / scores and overall site level signals / scores.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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