Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Updated


Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Updated - Eric Sachs SEO

In May 2019, Google updated the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines again, for the first time since July 2018. The new version of the guidelines added in more detailed instructions about content creator expertise and interstitial pages, and adds “E-A-T” (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) within the Page Quality in certain areas. Quality raters are expected to follow the updated version of these guidelines over the course of their work.

What’s Changed?

The document has increased two pages, for a total of 166 pages. Though the document has grown in length, the table of contents and the majority of the guidelines are the same.

If you’re an advertiser that uses interstitial pages or ads or an app developer, you should make sure your ads don’t limit a user’s ability to get to the main content on a page.

A paragraph that explicitly mentions content creator expertise emphasizes how important it is to vet the information included in your content.

E-A-T is now part of the Page Quality section, in the explanation column of tables in sections 15 and 17.

The revisions don’t particularly alter the majority of the guidelines how quality raters evaluate websites, but they are impactful enough for Google to update the document. As such, content creators, advertisers, and marketers should be aware of the changes.

Why This Matters

The Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines are what humans use to evaluate websites and search engine results pages. Though they do not have a direct effect on rankings, the judgements they make do influence improvements to the Google search algorithm.

Adding E-A-T to the Page Quality section may indicate how Google wants the quality raters to approach content evaluation. The extra emphasis on interstitial pages within the Distracting Ads section suggests that advertisers and webmasters who make use of them may see lower ratings. The additional guidance about content creator expertise may mean lower quality content is under more scrutiny.

Quick Google Quality Guidelines Cheat Sheet

Some Websites are Held to Higher Standards

Google will place certain websites under more of a microscope than others. This is the case when the content affects a person’s wealth, health, or happiness. This means sites in the health, finance, and personal development space need to pay greater attention to content quality and accuracy.

If Your Site Doesn’t Look Trustworthy, Google Won’t Treat it as Trustworthy

If Google sees spam comments, clickbait like advertisements, poor formatting, and other things that detract from your site’s trustworthiness, it will give it a low quality rating because it doesn’t appear to be trustworthy.

Every Page Needs a Purpose

All pages on your website need to have a purpose. The high quality websites out there contain content that helps the user learn something, do something, or go somewhere. Each page should be focused on helping the user accomplish their goal. This means framing content around the user intent of the keyword – not just writing whatever you want as it pertains to the keyword.

High Quality Content Can Become Low Quality Content

If you create content you believe is high quality, but then never go back and update it to keep it fresh and current, it can and will become low quality content. This is especially important for medical and financial related topics, because the information changes in these areas often.

For content to be considered high quality, it should be written by, or supported by an expert. Financial and medical advice needs to be written by, or at least contain quotes from accredited experts. Real world experience is an acceptable measurement of expertise for other topics. Life experience is considered real-world expertise, so an author who has lived through something and shared their experience can be considered an expert.

Broken, Buggy, or Hard to Use Pages are Low Quality

If your want a high quality website, you should ne maintaining it and monitoring it to ensure users consistently have a functional experience. If pages aren’t loading, aren’t easy to use, or are full of bugs, Google will penalize you.

Reputation Matters

If you have great content but a bad reputation, you’ll get a lower quality score. A bad reputation will bring the entire site down. If you have a bad reputation, it’s not the end of the world because there are things you can do to improve your online reputation. However, it’s not something that can be considered an instant fix. We offer online reputation management services to help you keep an eye on things and improve them when and if it becomes necessary.

To maintain a good reputation, it’s important to provide quality customer service. When someone takes the time to leave a review of your business online – whether on Google, Facebook, or another platform, you should always take time to respond to the review whether it is positive or negative. Never go on the attack, even if the commenter is wrong in their review. Reach out and offer to take the conversion offline via phone, or off the review platform via email to ensure it gets resolved.

To ensure your website gets a high quality rating any time a quality rater takes a look at it, you’ll want to regularly check your site for broken links and images (making repairs if any are ever discovered), keep your content up to date and add new information when and where appropriate, remove spam comments, create author biographies that showcase experience, keep the user experience clean and remove any distracting ads, and make your site as easy to use as possible.

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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