Over the past few weeks, Google have updated their Search Quality Rater Guidelines. For SEO strategists, it is important to know if this will have an effect on your rankings and if your approaches require modification. While the changes are important to keep in mind, the good news is that they will likely require little adjustment from you. Read on to find out more about what these changes are and what they mean for you and your website.
What are Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines?
Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, simply put, are the guidelines given to people who Google employs for the purpose of rating websites. It is a document that assists them in determining the conditions that a website should meet in order to be considered high quality. Google then uses the feedback that they gain from these third party Quality Raters to inform their strategies for improving their search algorithms.
What are the updates?
There are 5 key changes in the October 2021 update to the guidelines:
- The definition of ‘Groups of people’ in the ‘Your Money Your Life’ section has expanded to include more identities and socioeconomic conditions
- Research practices for gaining information on the reputation of websites and creators have been updated to include “detailed, trustworthy, positive” reviews rather than just “positive” reviews as was defined previously
- The ‘Lowest Page Quality’ section has undergone several changes including a restructuring and expanded definitions of what it means for a page to cause harm, spread hate, or misinform users
- Changes to the definition of ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ have occurred to simplify this term and ensure that it is consistent with the ‘Lowest Page Quality’ section
- There have been edits for clarity and consistency throughout the document such as removal of outdated screenshots, updates to URLs, and other minor edits
These 5 changes are designed to clarify the assessments that Search Quality Raters make on websites and provide guidance on what websites should be doing in order to align themselves with the Google algorithm.
Do these updates impact SEO strategies?
While the Search Quality Rater Guidelines do not directly affect rankings, they are useful for gaining an understanding of Google’s search algorithm. The feedback that Google receives from these Search Quality Raters is used to inform how they can improve their search engine. Knowing what Search Quality Raters value in a website can help you to ensure that your website is meeting Google’s standards.
What can I do to take these updates into account?
While, again, these guidelines may not directly affect your ranking, it is important to be aware of how Google evaluates websites and the various factors that they take into consideration. Overall, ensuring that you are familiar with the guidelines will improve Google’s impression of your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, leading to greater success for your website.
Find the full document here for the complete list of guidelines.
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