Google: Google Search Wants What Your Website Users Want

Feb 16, 2024 - 7:51 am 13 by

Google Robot Care

Google's Danny Sullivan said it again, when it comes to what you do on your website, Google Search wants what your users want. Do what is best for your users, and Google will be happy. If you just think about what to do to make Google happy, it might result in your users not being happy. Sullivan wrote, "Virtually everything someone asks about what Google wants, the touchstone is "Is this what your reader / audience wants?" Because that is what Google wants. "

He wrote this and expanded on this on X, he wrote:

Virtually everything someone asks about what Google wants, the touchstone is "Is this what your reader / audience wants?" Because that is what Google wants.

That's the big picture. We want our systems to show content that people think will be satisfying. When they land on a page, they go "Yes! This is exactly what I want!" (And yes, our systems aren't perfect. Yes, there's unsatisfying content that can surface. It's all something we're working very hard to improve on).

People who create content -- I'd hope -- should be able to know best if what they are doing is what their readers want and doing that is what Google wants.

But instead, if we say something like "Hmm, this page doesn't have a clear date" because a *reader* might expect that, it easily gets turned into "Have a clear date and you rank better!" And ... no. It's not like that. It's that if you have a clear date on a page, it might be a sign that you're doing one of a number of things that readers like -- which, in turn, can align with completely different things we use that still correlate with content that readers like. And then people get lost in the little details of "Google wants me to do X" rather than "Google wants me to do the best thing for my readers."

Which I know can be a hard thing for some to deal with, especially when at times we've said stuff like "Don't do things for Google." Really, you should do things for Google -- it's just those things are the same things you should do for your readers. That's always the touchstone. Read your pages. Do you like the experience? Do you feel someone else coming to them is satisfied? That's what's to do.

Which is a lot of words to say ... sure, I can try to do some more from time-to-time.

Yea, Google has been saying this since forever and Google will keep saying this.

Sometimes when Danny Sullivan provides this feedback, with specific examples, which he has done before, he may come off as being too critical. So he isn't always looking to knock on people's websites. Sullivan wrote, "I have done a few before. Might do as time allows. The difficulty is that people can misinterpret as criticism (perhaps even as harsh criticism) rather than it really meant as "Hey, maybe this is helpful feedback" -- especially as posts can be so impersonal sounding."

The other issue of giving specific feedback is that people might consider that advice as being a specific Google ranking factor. He wrote, "I worry more that people mistakenly interpret "perhaps consider this from a reader's perspective " as "he mentioned X thing, so X thing must be a ranking signal!" Everyone, do X thing now!"

Here is that tweet:


Forum discussion at X.


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