I think there has always been a little speculation over whether Google use some kind of a "quality score" for their organic listings, as well as their ads.
I’ve seen quite a bit about this more recently, with Rand Fishkin doing his last couple of Whiteboard Friday's around this subject, so although this is still only a concept, it appears to be becoming more and more apparent that this could be a thing!
So, let’s look at some of the things we could be being "scored" on...
Google have put a lot of focus on the accessibility and usability of a site over the past few years, with things like the Mobilegeddon. They want to make sure website’s look good, and provide a good user experience across all devices; desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and tablets.
So, if you don’t have a responsive website already, you may as well ignore the rest of this, and make sure this is the first thing you do!
I know, this has been said so many times before, but this is really important anyway regardless of a quality scoring system. However, it’s not just a case of changing a few words and phrasing throughout your content, it needs to be of actual value to the end user - You need to make sure you’re at least trying to meet the user’s search query, rather than just writing content for ranking purposes.
Successfully Answering a Searcher’s Query
As above, the content on a site needs to answer a user’s query to be deemed valuable to both the search, and the search engine. Let’s say someone carries out a search, lands on a web page from the search engine results pages, spends a bit of time there and then goes off and does something else - Google will see this has this searcher’s query has been resolved. However, if that user goes back to the search results to find another page; maybe they go through a few before they either give up or eventually find what they’re looking for, this shows that the first page they landed on didn’t answer what they were looking for, and would therefore probably receive a lower quality score - If it exists, that is.
Grammar and Spelling
This one could potentially be up for debate. I know, Google can cater for mis-spellings, and I know some would say that Google probably doesn’t really care about grammatically correct the content is. However, there have been tests done by the guys at Moz, which implies that Google are potentially penalising websites for having bad grammar and/or spelling - So, make sure to get your spell check on!
Engagements (Clicks, Queries, etc.)
In the days before I even started working in SEO, it’s been said that the number of clicks a website gets from the search engine doesn’t actually impact it’s ranking. However, I’m not convinced any more. Surely there’s something that says to Google “this website is a getting a lot clicks, meaning it must be pretty engaging for a reason”... I’m sure there’s a bit more to it than that, but you get my point. This probably depends on whether or not users are actually spending time on the site, and whether the feel the user has found what they’re looking for.
So, these are just some of the main points I think website’s are potentially being "scored" for in order to rank well. There are obviously a lot of other things that Google will take into account, and it will be far more complex than I can explain! However, if you were to start with the main ones you’re making a good start at becoming an A* student in the eyes of Google.