Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller held a Google Hangout last week where an interesting question was asked about website design: Can a few bad web pages drag down an entire website?

As with most things Google, there isn’t a black and white answer to this question. Mueller first wanted to be sure people understood the difference between a website being “penalized” and a website simply not ranking.

When a website doesn’t rank, it’s usually for one or both of the following reasons:

  • The content quality is poor
  • The content isn’t relevant to the search query/user

A penalty, on the other hand, is something that is an obvious violation of Google’s policies or guidelines.


Google Focuses on Page Quality Rather Than Website Quality

Mueller shared another interesting tidbit of information during the Hangout. He said that generally Google focuses on the quality of individual pages rather than the overall quality of an entire website. This means that low quality web pages can certainly impact your search engine ranking.

Another important takeaway from the discussion is that there are times when great quality content also won’t rank well in the search engine pages if a website is mostly made up of poor quality content. Mueller strongly advised that web designers work hard to reduce or eliminate low quality on-page signals.


What Are Low Quality On-Page Signals in Website Design?

There are a number of different “signals” that can be dragging down your website. Some of these include:

  • Slow page loading speed
  • Poor grammar and spelling
  • Poor or limited accessibility from multiple devices
  • Poor site navigation
  • No external links

Your website is your online calling card. Your pool and spa company deserves an effective and engaging website that is going to impress visitors and put you in touch with the right people in your community.


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