graeme_p - 2:28 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)
I started thinking about this when I Googled for some statistics. It was a pure curiosity, non-business, not webmaster search that was triggered by reading a book.
The highest quality site to a human reader (presented the info well etc.) was a major academic publication in fourth place, a .edu site that was the next best was in seventh place, and the source most of the sites cited (an international organisation) was not on the first page. To be fair it was not properly indexable (because what was displayed depended on options in a form).
To a human reader it is also obvious that the most authoritative sites are the international organisation, the peer reviewed academic journal.
The Wikipedia page, being a generic wikipedia page, had a high page rank (although I cannot imagine why anyone would read it). None of the other sites did, so were the high quality authoritative sites not at the top of the SERPS?
My point is that what is authority to the Google algo, is not what is authoritative to a human, and what its measure of quality is not human either. It favours sites that are big and moderated and therefore safe from spam?
What exactly does quality and authority mean in Google terms?