6 Key Takeaways of Google's Search Quality Rater Guidelines | Boostability

6 Key Takeaways of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines

When you search online, chances are, you’ll turn to Google to help you. Many would deem Google as their ‘best friend’ as it furnishes them with just about anything they want to find and, best of all, on-demand. Therefore, it is not surprising that Google dominates the search engine market. 

To further drive this home, an April 2021 survey found that Google has a market share of 95.45% in India and accounted for most of the global search engine market.

Google Market
Google market share in selected countries 2021 (Source: Statista)

To maintain this lead market share, Google utilizes human Search Quality Raters to help assess and improve its algorithm. Based on the Google Quality Guidelines document, these raters will evaluate the content and search results. From here, they’ll offer suggestions that help make search results more relevant.

Now, once you have your website ready, the next thing in mind would be to source for a good and trusted web hosting solution. Then, you’ll need to concern yourself with driving more traffic to your site. As you know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to driving organic web traffic, and you’d want to rank high in Google’s search results to achieve this. 

As such, you need to familiarize yourself with Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines so that you can fine-tune your content for higher search rankings. Unfortunately, the document is 175 pages and still growing, and you don’t enjoy the privilege that the raters have as they get training directly from Google.

Fret not, as you’ll be able to grab the highlights from those pages right here in this article. 

Understanding the Search Quality Rating Program

Search Engines Market
Global market share of search engines 2010-2021 (Source: Statista)

Bear in mind that each individual is unique and has their own needs. Furthermore, there are so many ways to perform a search query. In short, Google has a tough and challenging task at hand.

It is not easy to understand in-depth how users behave, what they want to see, and most of all, produce the best possible results to match what they have in mind. That said, the Search Quality Rating Program helps Google in this challenging task.

Google analyzes and re-evaluates its search results to see if they accurately meet its users’ needs. By gathering input from Search Quality raters, Google then fine-tunes its algorithm to reflect the changing environment in the search space, all in the name to give the users only the best search results.

What Raters Look For and Why

Google Search Quality raters look into six distinct areas of assessment;

  1. Purpose of page creation
  2. Content elements
  3. Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)
  4. E-A-T rating
  5. Production source and monetization
  6. Website reputation

Every website’s objective is to give a quality user experience and to gain higher traffic. And to do that, you need to make sure you appear on the first page of Google’s search results. So, if you understand these areas and how they influence the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you can gain crucial and actionable information to help your content rank high. 

  1. Purpose of Page Creation

A web page exists for a reason. Google is popular because it gives beneficial information and it helps answer many question marks that people may have.

Boostability home screen
For example, Boostability is a web page with the purpose of white-label SEO.

Educate & Share Information 

Your web pages could teach others how to perform certain installations and how to resolve common bugs. Or, if you’re in the medical line, you can share information on prevalent medical conditions, their behavior, possible treatments, which can help educate your readers. 

Express Opinion

Your company can create web pages containing a list of questions where you can hand out to a targeted group of people. This is especially useful when you wish to gauge an upcoming new product’s general sentiment and collate feedback. This can help your company better understand the needs of the people and ultimately produce the desired product for all.

News & Entertainment

Everything now is all about staying relevant and in touch with the latest development of things, be it locally or globally. Web pages that continuously provide updated, valid and authentic news about your country, the world are beneficial. This includes entertainment news as well.

Besides, including videos in your content lineup will significantly help if you want to tap into this huge market. Just make sure that they do not contain anything of a sensitive and illegal nature; you’ll do just fine.

E-commerce

E-commerce has been on an exponential rise nowadays, if you have something useful to sell, be it products or services, you should consider creating an e-commerce site. As long as you’re not selling anything of an illegal nature, web stores are much welcomed.

Takeaway

Google emphasizes the purpose of a web page. It evaluates and assesses how well a web page does in achieving its goals, and your goals must be beneficial to your readers. 

Also, if your web page successfully displays a clear-cut useful purpose, you automatically will rank high. So, no matter what, keep this ingrained in your mind – always be clear in what you wish to achieve, and this MUST be beneficial to the users.

2. Content Elements

There’s no point in having empty web pages. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Google stresses a lot on what makes up a content page.

Main Content

This is the core of the web page. It is from here that helps the page achieve its purpose. As such, Google scrutinizes this part the most. 

Therefore, you need to invest a significant amount of effort, time and focus on your main content to make sure that it is consistently and relevantly top-notch, meeting the purpose of your content in the first place.

Supplementary Content

Supplementary content indirectly helps the page achieve its purpose. It focuses more on helping to improve the user experience by including comment sections, headers, footers, sidebars, media handles, internal links to other related articles.

Take note that your supplementary content MUST never overshadow the main content because if it does, your main content will fade, and the purpose of your page will become unclear. Therefore, you must always ensure that the main content still manages to shine through and remain as crystal clear as day.

Ads

For any website to survive, there’ll naturally be ads; anything sponsored or exists to make money falls under ads or monetization. Google does not count ads as a means to determine web page quality. 

Still, it is crucial to make sure such ads can help the page achieve its purpose so always use ads that are closely related to the subject matter at hand. Like your supplementary content, ads must be clearly segregated as well.

Takeaway

Google is always on the lookout for useful and high-quality content which meets the needs of its users. Always stay relevant by having consistently top-notch and accurate information that is regularly updated. You’re the expert in your field, so make sure this is conveyed crisply clear in your pages.  

3. Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)

Google considers any page to be YMYL if it contains information that can potentially impact someone’s future and well-being.

YMYL
Google gives a rundown on what constitutes YMYL topics in section 2.3 of the document.

To make things simple, there are five areas that fall into YMYL: 

  • Shopping/Financial Transaction
  • Financial Information
  • Medical Information/Safety
  • Legal Pages
  • News & Current Events

Takeaway

Google wants to protect its users. As such, it is not surprising at all that Google repeatedly stresses the importance of holding YMYL sites to a higher bar than others. So, don’t screw up your web pages with misleading and inaccurate information. You should always be good to involve experts in the respective fields scoring highly against the rating criteria. 

4. E-A-T rating (Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness)

Understanding E-A-T typically refers to a website’s overall value. This is determined by the following when a reader visits your site:  

  • Does this site have enough expertise? 
  • Is the site lacking in authoritativeness? 
  • Can I trust this site? 

Expertise – You Need to Demonstrate This

This category judges the content of your page, so prove your expertise in the said matter, be it coming from you or your contributors. 

For example, if you’re in the medical line and a reader is searching for information on a certain medical condition, an in-depth research study on causes, impact, statistics, trial studies and etc. from a highly credible medical institution along with a write-up from the relevant medical experts, would help loads.

Authoritativeness – You Need to Have This

The authority of the website comes from judging the authority of the content itself along with its domain. This is more from the website perspective. Also, you need to include the relevant external factors such as the included quality links, brand mentions, citations, etc.

Trustworthiness – You Need to Build This

When readers peruse your site, they’ll start asking themselves if they can trust what they read. Again, this trust factor encompasses both the content and the domain. Also, look into your site’s performance and security. If your site suffers from performance or security issues, users’ trust in your site will drop. 

So, make sure you get a trusted and reputable web hosting solution provider to ensure good uptime and high performance. Also, never take for granted the passwords that you use to access your systems; keep your passwords safe at all times.

Takeaway

To ensure your web pages have E-A-T, you need to:

  • include real-life experiences; medically wise, patients’ accounts could be helpful
  • cite all credible sources
  • show the expertise of contributing authors (include their bios and credentials)
  • have content written by respective experts in their respective fields
  • have review pages written by your customers who have personally used the products or services
  • be a reliable and trusted source of information that is highly regarded and trusted by other reputable sources in the same field.

5. Production Source and Monetization

Being an owner of your website, you need to be aware that transparency is of utmost importance like who the owner of your website is, the person in charge of creating and managing the content, and where the financing of your website comes from. 

As for e-commerce sites, remember to include your payment, refund, return, and any other relevant policies that are easily locatable and accessible.

Takeaway

All information regarding policies and contact information must be clearly and easily accessible on your site. Additionally, ensure that any monetization methods and public partnership policies are displayed to raise your site’s trustworthiness. Last but not least, you must provide a page dedicated solely to customer service, especially if you’re in the service industry. 

6. Website Reputation

A website’s reputation is judged based on how others look and think about your website, your company or business, and the reputation of the content creator and the whole team; it’s the reputation of the whole package. This can come from the experience of users and the opinion of experts in the related field. 

Also, Google looks at reviews, references to your website or business, expert recommendations, news articles, awards even. These must be credible for Google to give you a high website reputation.

Takeaway

If you want to do well in Google’s ranking, your website must have a good reputation. Remember that all negative reviews must be attended to and resolved in a satisfactory and timely manner. Do not remove any such negative comments or reviews on your website as Google will penalize you if you do so. In short, always build a positive and good online reputation for your brand, business, and employees.

Conclusion

Human raters use Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines to help assess and give feedback to Google, after which Google can finetune its algorithm better. This is because Google emphasizes what users want and want to meet their needs. It would make sense for you to leverage these guidelines to extract handy tips to help you rank higher in the SERPs.