Google Updates Search Quality Rating Guidelines

‘Quality’ web pages rank better and speed is a big factor!

Back in 2013, Google confirmed that their search algorithm was continually evolving and the results monitored by human raters.

Google Ticks the Boxes

As confirmation they published their human rating guidelines to offer a level of transparency to help webmasters understand what Google looks for in web pages.

They have updated the guidelines and included additional criteria that was not in the previous guide  for human raters.

Ratings from evaluators are not used to determine individual site rankings, but are used to help understand the continued experiments used to determine what Google thinks search users want to see.

What does Quality look like?

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 rating requires at least one of the following high quality characteristics:

  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC (main content).
  • The page and website are expert, authoritative, and trustworthy for the topic of the page.
  • The website has a good reputation for the topic of the page.

In addition, the page and website should have most of the following:

  • A satisfying amount of website information, for example, About Us information, Contact or Customer Service information, etc.
  • SC (supplementary content) which contributes to a satisfying user experience on the page and website.
  • Functional page design which allows users to easily focus on MC and use SC as desired.
  • A website which is well cared for and maintained.

High Quality Pages Characteristics of High Quality Pages:

  • A Satisfying Amount of High Quality Main Content
  • A High Level of Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
  • Positive Reputation
  • Helpful Supplementary Content
  • Functional Page Design
  • A Satisfying Amount of Website Information
  • A Well Cared For and Maintained Website

And, Mobile Enters the Picture!

Since they were first published a lot has changed! More people have smartphones than ever before and more searches are done on mobile devices today than on computers.

Mimi Underwood, Sr. Program Manager, Search Growth & Analysis at Google said, “We expect our phones and other devices to do a lot, and we want Google to continue giving users the answers they’re looking for—fast!”.

And, that is reflected in the guidelines with an emphasis on speed and user experience with a section entitled ‘Understanding Mobile User Needs’

She continued saying, “We often make changes to the guidelines as our understanding of what users wants evolves, but we haven’t shared an update publicly since then. However, we recently completed a major revision of our guidelines to adapt to this mobile world, recognizing that people use search differently when they carry internet-connected devices with them all the time. You can find that update here (PDF).”

Last year when the ‘mobile-friendly’ label was announced it was not clear if it would become a ranking factor and it was confirmed around February 2015 that is would impact on the serps (search engine results pages), at least, for mobile search.

It was still not clear the scope that mobile-friendly would have and in a post the question was asked, “But, who is to say that in the not too distant future, with the continued trend of mobile as the device of choice for search, Google might take the view that those sites making no effort to improve their user experience should also be downgraded across all platforms!”

It might still not be 100% clear but for the reason given above there is every possibility that it will be factored in for ranking purposes in the not too distant future.

About Rob Willox

Inbound Marketing and SEO professional working and living in Scotland. Owner of Search Marketing company, WebMedia Inbound Marketing dedicated to helping small businesses get more from the internet and improve their profitability.
This entry was posted in Search Engine Optimisation. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.