New SEO Guidelines!
Real live people are judging the quality of your website for Google.
Google contracts thousands of people part-time to visit sites, evaluate them, and then include that information in Google’s search algorithm.
Search Quality Raters
Search Quality Raters are given actual searches to conduct, drawn from real searches that happen on Google. They then rate the quality of pages that appear in the top results.
Over time, that quality rater’s data might have an impact on low-quality pages that are spotted by raters, but the algorithm will also impact pages that weren’t reviewed. In other words, a particular site does not need to be visited by a quality rater to be negatively impacted.
Quality Raters use a set of guidelines that are about 200 pages long, instructing them on how to assess website quality and whether the results they review meet the needs of those who perform searches. The guidelines are linked at the bottom of this post.
Highlights From The Google Quality Guidelines
The Purpose of Search Quality Rating
The ratings will be used to evaluate search engine quality around the world. Good search engines give results that are helpful for users in their specific language and locale.
A website’s reputation is based on the experience of real users, as well as the opinion of people who are experts in the topic of the website. Keep in mind that websites often represent real companies, organizations, and other entities. Therefore, reputation research applies to both the website and the actual company, organization, or entity that the website is representing.
A rater’s job is to truly evaluate the Page Quality of the site, not just blindly accept information on one or two pages of the website. Be skeptical of claims that websites make about themselves.
Overall Page Quality Rating
Here are the most important factors to consider when selecting an overall Page Quality rating:
- Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness: This is an important quality characteristic. Use the research on the additional factors below to inform your rating.
- Main Content Quality and Amount: The rating should be based on the landing page of the task URL.
- Website Information/information about who is responsible for the website: Links to help with website information research will be provided.
- Website Reputation : Links to help with reputation research will be provided.
Note: Some tasks may ask the rater to view the page on their phone, but to do research (e.g., finding website information and reputation) on their desktop. Other tasks may ask the rater to do everything on desktop.
Characteristics of High Quality Pages
High quality pages are satisfying and achieve their purpose well. High quality pages exist for almost any purpose, from giving information to making you laugh.
What makes a High quality page? A High quality page may have the following characteristics:
- High level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT), including the EAT of the publisher and/or individual author for news articles and information pages.
- A satisfying amount of high quality main content.
- Satisfying website information and/or information about who is responsible for the website or satisfying customer service information, if the page is primarily for shopping or includes financial transactions.
Characteristics of Low Quality Pages
“Keyword Stuffed” Main Content
Pages may be created to lure search engines and users by repeating keywords over and over again, sometimes in unnatural and unhelpful ways. Such pages are created using words likely to be contained in queries issued by users. Keyword stuffing can range from mildly annoying to users, to complete gibberish. Pages created with the intent of luring search engines and users, rather than providing meaningful MC to help users, should be rated Lowest.
What Website Owners Can Do Now:
- Analyze your site objectively from both a content quality and user experience standpoint. Run a crawl, or several, to get a solid look at your entire site. Then analyze that crawl through a quality lens.
- Improve low quality content and nuke thin content, or pages that shouldn’t be in Google’s index.
- Tone down aggressive advertising. If you annoy your users, Google can pick that up. And if Google sees this in aggregate, you can get smoked. Beware.
- Fix all major user experience problems on the site. Go through your site like a user would. If there are any issues that inhibit users achieving a goal, fix them. And fast.
- Hunt down technical problems that can be causing either content or UX problems. For example, major fetch and render problems, tech glitches that can cause thin content, performance problems, and more. Technical SEO is extremely important to nail down. So don’t overlook what’s under the hood.
- Continually work to add high quality content to your site. Make sure what you’re publishing is unique, relevant, and will satisfy user needs. If you can’t do that, don’t publish it. And boost the quality of content already on your site (if you feel some of it is lacking). Check the queries leading to your content and make sure it can meet or exceed user expectations. If it can’t, enhance it.
If you’re at all interested in the search engine performance of your site, you can view the entire rater guidelines by clicking here.
Internet Marketing and SEO are ever changing, we do our best to keep you up to date on all of the developing changes. We try to only bring you the updates that will have the biggest impact on you.
Thanks for reading!