If you are a ‘brand’ in your space or well-cited site, Google wants to rank your stuff at the top as it won’t make Google look stupid. This takes a lot of work and a lot of time to create, or even mimic, such a site. We conveniently call this effect ‘domain authority’ and it seemed to be related to ‘PageRank’ – the system Google started to rank the web within 1998.
If someone is putting the hours into rank their site through legitimate efforts – Google will want to reward that – because it keeps the barrier to entry HIGH for most other competitors. Google Panda aims to rate the quality of your pages and website and is based on things about your site that Google can rate, or algorithmically identify.
If your intent is to deceive, be malicious or present pages with no purpose other than to monetise free traffic with no value ad – Google is not your friend. A very positive reputation can lift your content from “medium” to “high-quality“. How reasonable this is, is dependent on the TOPIC and the PURPOSE of the web pageRELATIVE to competing pages on the web.
Domain authority, whether or not is something Google has or not, is an important concept to take note of. Essentially Google ‘trusts’ some websites more than others and you will find that it is easier to rank using some websites than it is others.
After numerous ‘leaks’, this previously ‘secretive’ document has now been made available for anyone to download. Google says a quality rater does not affect your site, but if your site gets multiple LOW-QUALITY notices from manual reviewers – that stuff is coming back to get you later, surely.
Note also Google often releases multiple updates and changes to its own GUI (Graphic User Interface – the actual SERPs) at the same time to keep us all guessing to what is going on . If you can satisfy the user with a page “thin” on text content – you are ok (but probably susceptible to someone building a better page than your, more easily, I’d say). You obviously want the highest quality ‘score’ possible but looking at the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that is a lot of work to achieve. Quality raters are on the lookout for content that is “copied with minimal alteration” and crediting the original source is not a way to get around this. Domains that are ‘related’ in Whois can lead to a low-quality score, so be careful how you direct people around multiple sites you own.