What Advanced SEOs Should Know From The Google Raters Guidelines

November last year marked the first time that Google lifted the lid on the guidelines it gives out to the team of human raters who help to shed light on the actual quality of results that the search giant provides.

Prior to this, one or two leaked copies had made their way onto the internet, but November 2016 was a real turning point as it was the first time that the guidelines had been released in an official capacity.

Then, around four months later in March 2016, the official guide was updated again and this was followed by a hosted panel talk at SMX Advanced 2016 in Seattle, which was called “What Advanced SEOs Should Know From The Google Raters Guidelines.”

Here is a brief insight and a quick recap of some of the main points discussed – which those involved in online marketing and the vast majority of SEO enthusiasts will find particularly useful.

  • Google Raters do not affect the search results directly. They simply provide a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses in the overall search algorithm and are used for testing purposes.
  • If you own a website that serves as online store you are subject to the YMYL standard (Your Money or Your Life) which is the highest standard currently employed. This is because the pages you provide will affect your visitors directly and influence their decision to buy a product or service.
  • The human search quality raters that help determine the quality of Google’s search results use EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) in order to rate the pages of a website.

    Expertise – this concerns the author of a page and how intimately they know their subject matter.

    Authoritativeness – this is related to the website itself. A well written and well maintained About Us page is an essential requirement as Google uses this to find out more about the companies that are listed in the search results.

    Trustworthiness – Your website should appear trustworthy as appearances actually count as far as the human raters are concerned.

  • Does your website deliver what people are looking for? Google Raters base their opinions of your site on its ability to meet the needs of your visitors.
    * Are you mobile friendly? This is a definite must if you are to satisfy the “Needs Met” search criteria as failure to comply is unacceptable.
  • You should read the content of your site aloud in order to judge the quality of the information you provide your visitors with. If it sounds strange then you need to work on it some more.
  • Content does not need to be unnecessarily long. A good read is much more important than a large word count.
  • Your online reputation is not determined by an occasional negative review but on your overall presence and how the majority of your visitors feel about your website.
  • Is your content relevant? Too many distractions and your content may be considered to be full of junk. The latest update places a lot of emphasis on the quality of content and the removal of anything off-topic or annoying such as pop-up ads and spam.
  • The reason that Google uses human beings to rate their search algorithm is that the users themselves are human.
  • A medium rating is not the end of the world! It just means that your website is adequate, or perfectly alright, but not exceptional.
  • If you use your website to promote products and services then it is essential that your contact details are made readily available and easy to obtain.
  • It’s a good idea to show customer feedback on the pages of your website so that visitors can share the experience of those who value your services.
  • Are you referenced online? If so, then it’s a good idea to link to any news articles, online reviews or blog posts that link to your website.
  • The guidelines themselves are just that – guidelines! They are not to be considered as absolute rules.
  • The actual number of human raters that Google employs is not public knowledge.
  • Some guidelines are aimed more towards content and individual pages than at a domain level.
  • Scraping content from other websites should be avoided at all costs – Google knows what you are up to!
  • Trust is achieved when a website owner takes care of the smaller details like grammatical correctness and using more “polite” methods advertising.
  • Although expert roundups are useful, they won’t necessarily help you gain trust or authority. However, they can benefit in terms of helping you gain more links.