Create High-Quality Content with Google Style Guide Tips

The saying ‘content is king’ has been floating around for years and Google has long stressed how they value the importance of high-quality content. Unfortunately, for many business owners and marketers, it can be difficult to determine what Google considers high-quality content and what the best strategy is for going about creating valuable content.

Recently, Google’s Developer Relations Group published several guides aimed at helping its own content creators develop high-quality online content. Thankfully, these guides were publically published and can be accessed by anyone.

The released list of Google’s Developer Documentation Style Guides are as follows:

  • Developer Documentation Style Guide
  • JavaScript Style Guide
  • Java Style Guide

These are just a few of the many guides that Google employees use internally. Although the information provided is not new, groundbreaking or even complete, it is an excellent resource for anyone that is interested in creating better, high-quality content that their users will value and that will be recognized by search engines. Each guide highlights that pages that rank well all contain a combination of high-quality content, code, and UX.

To summarize the key points of the guides, below are the key areas that developers and content creators should focus on.

Tips for Developers/Technical Creators:

  • HTML should be used for structure and CSS for style
  • Use <b> and <strong> correctly – <strong> is to indicate items or of strong importance, whereas <b> is to be used for visual emphasis
  • Use SVG files or optimized .png files that include ALT text
  • Instead of using 6 character hexadecimal notifications for colours, consider using shorter, succinct 3 character versions instead
  • Do not use byte order marks (BOMs) in HTML5 UTF-8 templates
  • Use lists and tables correctly – only use tables when there are multiple columns of documentation

Tips for Content Creators:

  • Only use outbound links to sites that are reliable, respectable and high-quality
  • Standardize spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization
  • Use a friendly, informative tone – avoid sounding like a robot
  • Be knowledgeable, sounding like a friend or colleague that understands what action users want to take
  • Write concise, clear and short sentence with easy to understand words that users can easily comprehend
  • Implement descriptive link text
  • Use numbered lists to highlight sequence of events
  • Try to create short sentences with accessible words which will translate better to other languages

Often just as important as knowing how to create high-quality content is knowing what mistakes and red flags to avoid.

What to Avoid:

  • Technical jargon
  • Overuse of exclamation points
  • Buzzwords
  • Starting multiple sentences the same way or with the same word
  • Using ‘please’ within written instructions
  • Slang
  • Using placeholder phrases like ‘at the time’ or ‘please note’
  • Using ‘click here’ as anchor text
  • Extreme metaphors
  • CSS hacks
  • User agent detection

As always, these are general guidelines and are not written in stone. Both developers and content creators need to interpret with their own judgment. Although intended for internal usage, these guides to help shed some light on what Google considers as valuable factors of high-quality content and can be helpful to incorporate into your future content creation approach.

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