Quality Rater Guidelines for Google: what are they and what changed in 2019

By: Vancouver SEO Consultant – Anney Ha

Did you know that Google invites people to test and evaluate search its search engine effectiveness? Yes, we talk a lot about Google bots, but it is important to remember that there are also human beings evaluating how the platform works. These evaluators follow the Quality Rater Guidelines, which are basically Google’s guidelines for this function. This year, this guideline has undergone updates that may impact your work with SEO.

What are these quality rater guidelines?

Basically, these are guidelines that Google publishes for search engine reviewers to understand how they should analyze the quality of a webpage. This, of course, according to the searcher’s view of what is good or bad content. This document is public and free. You can find it here: Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

These reviewers should manually see, read and classify webpages so that
Google can verify that the algorithm is doing its automatic work efficiently.
These ratings are not ranking factors. But it is good for Google to be able to
monitor the results it is delivering to users.

What has changed?

For starters, there are a number of pages that Google classifies as YMYL
(Your Money or Your Life). This classification includes pages or topics that
may impact the future of the reader – referring, for example, to happiness,
health, financial stability, security and others. Now, according to the
guidelines, if one of the reviewers finds content that is harmful to people on
some page with YMYL content, Google will rate it as poor quality.

Google is very concerned about the reputation of those who publish
content on the web. Therefore, for content to receive the highest quality
ratings, it must have been authored by experts. And that concern is remarkable
about YMYL.

In the update, an entire paragraph about this reputation assessment
specifically about YMYL content was added, which requires more attention. For
medical topics, for example, Google suggests that content creators should be
experts – people or organizations – who have expertise or accreditation in that
particular area. That is, medical content that is written or endorsed by a
doctor of medicine is worth more to Google than content written by an amateur.

For news sites, for example, Google highlights the originality and unprecedentedness of information, as well as compliance with journalistic standards. Here you see a concern of Google to value well-produced news and reports over fake news. Artistic content, in turn, must be produced by talented artists and content creators, while informational content must be clear, accurate, understandable, and professional. If pages offer this, they can be rated as very high quality. These are just some of the changes – and they indicate the ways the algorithm works. In short, these changes increasingly mean that Google wants content and SEO professionals to offer users the best experience during a web search.