On April 25th, Google’s VP of Engineering, Ben Gomes, announced the latest quality updates for Google’s search algorithms in Google’s official blog, “The Keyword.” This has included updating the Search Quality Rater Guidelines.
The quality of search results has long been one of Google’s biggest priorities, which began with PageRank, the main algorithm used to determine the importance of web pages to allow for the ranking, and continuing through the current era of battling “fake news.”
According to Gomes, there has been an increase in “the phenomenon of fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low-quality, offensive or downright false information.”
Why Are the Updated Guidelines Important?
In order to combat the spread of fake news and low-quality search results in general, Google has launched new and improved evaluation methods. One enhanced way to evaluate web pages is the updated Search Quality Rater Guidelines.
The latest edition of the Search Quality Rater Guidelines is 160 pages, which are used to educate the many people hired to evaluate the quality of the content returned to search results. The Search Quality Rater Guidelines don’t disclose the exact equation for achieving a top ranking, but it reveals what these paid evaluators are told to prioritize.
The Search Quality Rater Guidelines can’t affect your ratings, but they do provide detailed feedback to Google which helps the search engineers to further clarify their algorithms. So while the Search Quality Rater Guidelines “are not actively voting websites up or down the SERPs,” they do exude quite a bit of influence.
The latest updates surrounding these guidelines give more detailed information to the raters on how to discern low-quality content, potentially containing “misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories,” according to the blog post. By downgrading a larger percentage of this low-quality content, Google can further improve their algorithms and learn much more in general regarding the search ranking process.
If you need help deciphering how the changes in the Google landscape will affect your SEO, contact us today.
Featured image via Canva.