I just got ahold of the latest copy of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, with a date of March 2014. It’s an interesting read, all 160 pages of this document. There are a lot of new phrases and concepts that are included in this latest version, but honestly there’s are really not many new surprises. But, if you’re in the online marketing business, are an SEO, or own a website, then you really should take a look at the latest guidelines, if just to make sure that your website or your client’s website(s) are compliant with Google’s latest Quality Rater guidelines. There may be some things that you can improve, I’ve found a few things that I’m going to pay attention to from now on when I perform complex SEO Audits for clients.
Jennifer Slegg first reported that the latest document was leaked. Now, I have gotten a copy of the guidelines, and have set up the “pay with a tweet” service in order for you to download a copy of this document. If I just post the direct link to the document, then it will get indexed and too many people will use up too much bandwidth… so I’m putting it behind the “pay with a tweet”. Just Tweet it, Make a Facebook Post, a LinkedIn Post, or a Google Plus post, copy the URL of your post, and you’ll get the download link.
Here’s a copy of the Table of Contents of the Quality Rater Guidelines:
Part 1: Page Quality Rating Guideline
Part 2: Utility Rating Guideline
Part 3: Block Utility Rating Guideline
Part 4: Using the Evaluation Platform
Here are a few important points that I feel are worth noting:
— Google wants it to be easy to find the site owners through “Finding About Us, Contact Information, and Customer Service Information” on the website.
— Webmasters should maintain their websites. “Webmasters are responsible for updating and maintaining sites they create. Most websites add or change content over time. Web browsers, such as Chrome, update with new versions. Webmasters need to make sure their websites function well for users as web browsers change.” They go on to say: “How can you tell that a website is being maintained and cared for? Poke around: Links should work, images should load, content should be added and updated over time, etc.”
— Google thinks that Website Reputation is important. “A website’s reputation is based on the experience of real users, as well as the opinion of people who are experts in the topic of the website.” They say, “Many websites are eager to tell users how great they are. But for Page Quality rating, you must also look for outside, independent reputation information about the website. When the website says one thing about itself, but reputable external sources disagree with what the website says, trust the external sources.”
“Use reputation research to find out what real users, as well as experts, think about a website. Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information created/written by individuals about the website.”
— Google’s definition of a high quality page:
“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.
• 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 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.”
— Google’s definition of low quality pages:
“Low quality pages are unsatisfying or lacking in some element that prevents them from achieving their purpose well.
If a page has one of the following characteristics, the Low rating is usually appropriate:
• The quality of the MC is low.
• There is an unsatisfying amount of MC for the purpose of the page.
• The author of the page or website does not have enough expertise for the topic of the page and/or the website is not trustworthy or authoritative for the topic. In other words, the page/website is lacking E-A-T.
• The website has a negative reputation.
• The SC is distracting or unhelpful for the purpose of the page.”
To download the latest version of the quality rater guidelines, click on the ‘pay with a tweet’ link below: