Attire Accessories - May/Jun 2018 (Issue 70)

108 ATTIRE Imagine playing a game where the rules aren’t published, it costs you money every time you lose and you are more or less obliged to play in order to survive. I’m going to call this ‘The Google Game’; it is something that Online Marketers like myself know how to play very well. Until quite recently, the actual rules for playing ‘The Google Game’ were hidden from view. Google wouldn’t tell you how to play properly, there were various (sometimes conflicting) third party opinions on what Google meant when any information was actually published and there was always the question ‘can you really trust what Google is saying?’ – a very valid question when you realise that Google is run for shareholders, not to play fair for retailers. While I personally will always be on the cynical side where Google is concerned and continue to question motives of the search giant, I am glad to see that Google is continuing to expand its guide for search quality raters, giving at least some insight into how it ‘thinks’. What is the Search Quality Rating Programme? To be brief, the Google Search Quality Rating Program was set up to help Google to identify the quality of pages out there on the web in order to push the development of more robust search engine algorithms. The program is backed by a set of guidelines, which can be found at , detailing what should be considered factors for assigning quality ratings to a web page or website.The guidelines document is fairly lengthy at 158 pages, with many abbreviations to keep in your head whilst reading, but it does give a fair insight into what Google is looking for when assessing the quality of a page of content. Google first introduced the Search Quality Rating program back in 2005, but until recent years the workings and methodologies of the programme have been hidden. It was only since 2011 and the Google Panda update that the program has really been ‘out in the open’, although there was a leak of an early release of the rating document back in 2008. The Search Quality Rating Program relies on a large group of manual page reviewers. In the early days, these were Google employees, however, reviews are now farmed out to external companies. The program works by manually reviewing web pages and websites using many different quality markers, this data then being fed back to Google to enable better quality search engine algorithms to be built.The manual review teams therefore provide feedback to the Google staff tasked with writing the complex code, which powers the Google search engine, helping Google to give the best search results to Google users. A read of the latest document doesn’t really give any surprises to a seasoned web marketer, but is useful for underlining why we, as web marketers, do the things we do. It’s all about quality! No surprises really where the content of pages is concerned. Google loves quality content and will actively penalise pages that fall below a certain level. What most may not know is that the layout, design and functionality of a website plays an important part of Search Quality Rating reports and can make the difference between a very high rating and a poor rating. Examples of poor layout mentioned in the Quality Rating Program document includes poor quality design, bad navigation structure and potentially deceptive layout. Whilst these wouldn’t affect a recent e-commerce website using modern frameworks like the Intelligent Retail Connect software, Magento, Actinic or similar e-commerce, websites that have been around for several years would naturally David Fairhurst of Intelligent Retail explains how to play ‘The Google Game’ in order to maximise the visibility of your e-commerce store T h e G o o g l e G a m e