Types of Pages on a Website

Encyclopedia Pages

There are many encyclopedia-type websites. Some are highly-respected publications that are standard references, while some are websites with content created and edited by anonymous users, with no editorial oversight or fact checking. We may not always know the author of the specific encyclopedia article, and therefore must rely on website reputation research to determine the E-A-T of the article. High and Highest quality ratings should only be used for encyclopedias with very good reputations for accuracy and expertise, where the article itself is well-researched with appropriate references cited.

A note about Wikipedia: in general, the website has a good reputation and is a very popular resource that is generally valued for accuracy. However, there is no single author or organization that vouches for the accuracy of Wikipedia articles, and the quality of pages varies. You should perform page-level checks on individual articles.

A Wikipedia article on a non-YMYL topic (example) with a satisfying amount of accurate information and trustworthy external references can usually be rated in the High range. Some Wikipedia articles may even be rated higher, although remember that a high level of expertise is required for YMYL topics. A PQ rating in the Medium range is often appropriate for pages with less extensive MC and external references. Naturally, Wikipedia articles with very little MC should get lower PQ ratings. Factual inaccuracy is a sufficient reason for a Low or Lowest rating.

Ratings for Pages with Error Messages or No MC

Some pages are temporarily broken pages on otherwise functioning websites, while some pages have an explicit error (or custom 404) message. In some cases, pages are missing MC as well. Please think about whether the page offers help for users—did the webmaster spend time, effort, and care on the page?

Here are some examples.

Webpage/Type of ContentCharacteristics of the PagePQ Rating and Explanation
Deliberately created with no MC
  • Large amount of prominent Ads and no attempt to help users
1This is an example of a page with no MC. You might think that the MC is “missing” due to a problem with this particular page, but in fact, this website has hundreds of pages that look the same way—no MC, just Ads. This website shows Ads with little or no attempt to help users, and should be rated Lowest quality.
Page didn’t fully load and has noMC
  • No MC (probably due to a temporary technical error)
  • Sufficient SC
  • Positive reputation
2This page has no MC and no error message. It is an isolated example of a page with no MC or error message on a website for a reputable newspaper for a town in Michigan. All of the navigation links work, and the page was later fixed.
Error page with custom 404 message 1
  • Nothing wrong, but nothing special
3This is an example of a “custom 404” page, alerting users that the URL they are trying to visit no longer exists. Some websites do a nice job of alerting users about a problem and providing helpful tips.This page is on a well-known merchant website with a good reputation. However, this particular page displays the bare minimum of content needed to explain the problem to users, and the only helpful content is a link to the homepage.
Error page with custom 404 message 2
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC for its purpose
  • Helpful SC that improves the user experience
  • Positive reputation
4This is an example of a “custom 404” page, alerting users that the URL they are trying to visit no longer exists. This website does a nice job of explaining the issue and providing helpful tips, including a search box.
Error page with custom 404 message 3
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC for its purpose
  • Helpful SC that improves the user experience
  • Very positive reputation
5This is an example of a “custom 404” page. These pages are designed to alert users that the URL they are trying to visit no longer exists. The MC of this page is the cartoon, the caption, and the search functionality, which is specific to the content of the website. It is clear that time, effort, and talent was involved in the creation of the MC.This publication has a very positive reputation and is specifically known for its cartoons, which allows us to go as high as High+ to Highest.

Ratings for Forums and Q&A pages

Ratings for forum and Q&A pages can be challenging. The most important aspect is the E-A-T of the participants in the discussion, which can be difficult to judge. Keep in mind the following:

  • The Main Content on forum and Q&A pages includes both the question as well as the answers/responses and resulting discussions.
  • Rate forum and Q&A pages from the point of view of a user who visits the page, rather than a participant involved in the discussion.

Here are some examples.

Webpage/Type of Characteristics of the PagePQ Rating and Explanation
Q&A page about chest pains and smoking (YMYL)
  • YMYL page with inaccurate potentially dangerous medical advice
1We must evaluate this page from the point of view of a user visiting this page from a search engine, rather than a participant. The question is poorly worded and difficult to understand. The answers are poorly worded and have incorrect and potentially dangerous medical advice, making it lowest quality MC.
Q&A page with unanswered question
  • Misleading page design
  • Unsatisfying amount of MC for the purpose of the page
2In addition to having no answer, this page has Ads and links to other questions (misleadingly labeled as “Relevant answers”) displayed prominently, which users may mistake for answers to the question. It takes a moment to notice that this page actually has no answer. Deceptive design and lack of an answer make this page a frustratingly poor user experience and cause this page to completely fail to achieve its purpose.
Q&A page about a 2002 Volvo part
  • Misleading page design
  • Unsatisfying amount of MC for the purpose of the page
2In this example, the MC is boxed in red. Please read the MC, including the completely unhelpful “answer” to the question in the red box. This answer is so unhelpful, we can consider this question to be unanswered. This page has an unsatisfying amount of MC.In addition to a very unhelpful “answer,” the page design makes it difficult to distinguish the MC from Ads. For example, below the answer, we see a “sponsored answer,” which has the same format as the real answer, but is actually an Ad and not an answer to the question. This page design is somewhat misleading.
Q&A page about a game console issue
  • Unsatisfying amount of MC for the purpose of the page
3Some websites rely on users to create virtually all of their MC. In this case, the MC is the user’s question. If there are no answers, the amount of MC on the page is unsatisfying.
Q&A page about Native American customs
  • Lacking E-A-T for the purpose of the page
3There are 94 answers to this question with a few results that seem helpful. Many of the posts are wrong or misleading, including the top answer, which is labeled the “best answer.”
Forum page on how to wash ballet shoes
  • Mixed, but with some redeeming qualities
4This forum is about dance topics, and many pages have expertise from a community of ballet dancers. On this particular page, participants have everyday experience washing ballet shoes and make recommendations based on their own experiences.This page is “mixed” because there is some distracting content that makes it hard to read the MC. However, this is not a beauty contest! Even though the page may be cluttered, there is some valuable everyday expertise and helpful MC, making Medium a good rating for this page.
Q&A page about whether aRoomba will work
  • Everyday expertise for the purpose of the page
5Many participants share their personal experiences with these products, giving details such as how well certain models work with pet hair. There are many descriptions of participants’ own experiences with this product and how well it works for them.
Q&A page about interviewing at Build-A-Bear
  • Everyday expertise for the purpose of the page
5The answer on this page is written by an employee of Build-A-Bear, so it offers a somewhat unique and presumably somewhat expert answer.The page design allows users to read the MC as the Ads are clearly labeled, as well as both the question and answer.
Forum post on the magic loop technique in knitting
  • High level of E-A-T for the topic and purpose of the page
4The person who posted the first message on this forum page provides a helpful resource on how to master the magic loop technique in knitting. She also shares pictures of her own version using an old pair of blue jeans. With over 20 years of experience knitting socks, we would consider her to be an expert on the topic.
Q&A page about how long most cancer patients live
  • Everyday expertise
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC
h1The question on the page asks how long people live with cancer. There are many results describing how long a loved one lived after diagnosis. There is very little medical advice and the focus of the page is sharing personal experience. Many results are heartfelt and well written.
Forum page on authenticating a purse
  • High level of E-A-T for the topic and purpose of the page
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC
h1This forum is well-known for discussions on luxury designer purses. On this particular forum page, members are consulting forum experts who have expertise authenticating bags from this brand. These experts can tell if a particular bag is authentic or fake. While there is an ad at the top and a few ads within the forum message, it does not distract from the MC, which is easy to find.
Forum page on KPIs to track
  • High level of E-A-T for the topic and purpose of the page
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC
h1This forum is well-known for its community of experts on quality assurance. The responses are authoritative and trustworthy for the purpose of the page. While there are Ads on the page, it is easy to find the MC and they are clearly labeled as “Sponsored Link.”
Forum page on landscaping an aquarium
  • High level of E-A-T for the topic and purpose of the page
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC
h1This discussion focuses on landscaping for a particular paludarium (an aquarium with terrestrial and aquatic elements). There is a lot of discussion and interaction between forum members about the types of materials and species used in the aquarium. The posts show expertise in the niche topic of aquarium landscaping.
Q&A page on abbreviations
  • Very high level of E-A-T for the purpose of the page
  • Very positive reputation, and the website is responsible for all content on the website
h2The purpose of the page is to answer questions about the usage of abbreviations. This website has a very good reputation as a reference for information on writing, publishing, etc. It is considered highly authoritative and trustworthy for the topic of the page.
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