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What is the Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines?

The Google Search quality rater guidelines are a detailed set of instructions that Google’s human evaluators (called raters or quality raters) use to assess the quality and relevance of Google search results pages.

The Google Search quality rater guidelines help quality raters understand how to evaluate various aspects of webpages and ensure that they meet Google’s requirements. 

While the ratings given by quality raters do not directly affect search rankings, they provide essential feedback that helps Google improve and refine its search algorithms to deliver more accurate and reliable results to users.

The Google Search quality rater guidelines are detailed in a PDF file available here.        

Who is a Quality Rater?

A quality rater is an individual employed by third-party companies to evaluate the quality and relevance of search results generated by the Google Search algorithm

Quality raters use the quality rater guidelines to decide whether Google’s current or proposed algorithm update meets Google’s goal of presenting relevant and reliable results to searchers.

They perform sample searches just like regular Google users and determine the quality and helpfulness of the results page based on the requirements specified in the search quality rater guidelines. Quality raters then assign the page a page quality and needs met rating.

  • Page Quality – The page quality rating specifies the value and usefulness of the page
  • Needs Met – The needs met rating specifies whether the webpage meets the needs of the searcher

Google currently has about 16,000 search raters, typically from the region where it wants to implement the change. 

However, despite their role in improving the Google Search algorithm, Google has clarified that its quality raters do not directly impact the Google Search results pages. They cannot make a site rank higher or lower than it already does. 

How Google Raters Improve the Google Search Algorithm

Google frequently conducts experiments on future updates to the Google Search algorithm. Once done, the proposed changes are passed on to raters for evaluation. 

For example, quality raters may be shown two search results pages. One has the changes already implemented, while the other does not. The rater would then select which of the results they prefer and inform Google why. 

It should be noted that Google Search quality raters are just one method by which Google evaluates planned updates to Google Search. Google also relies on user research and live experiments.

Google then decides whether to include the changes to Google Search based on the results from its raters, user research, and live experiments. 

Besides evaluating search results pages, Google also uses its raters to categorize information to improve its systems. For example, raters could help Google identify the language of content, understand the important information in a piece of content, or determine the correct spelling of certain words. 

SEO Takeaways From the Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines

The guidelines contain important information that would be helpful for SEOs and bloggers looking to improve their rankings on Google Search. Specifically, it addresses E-E-A-T and Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics, which affect your ability to rank on Google search results pages.  

1 E-E-A-T is Important to Rank on Google

E-E-A-T stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It refers to the signals that Google uses to determine the quality of a webpage. 

The Google search quality rater guidelines provide detailed information on the importance of the E-E-A-T signals required from sites looking to rank on Google. Simply put, the higher your E-E-A-T signal, the likelier you are to rank on search results pages.

To determine your E-E-A-T signal, Google requires its quality raters to review:

  • What you say about yourself and your site on your About page
  • What third-party sites say about your site, author, and content
  • How well the main content of the webpage indicates your trustworthiness
  • What visitors and customers say on reviews and comments they left on your site

Google also allows its raters to use other signals to determine a site’s E-E-A-T signal. For example, the quality rater could look for customer service information on sites that host an online store.

Trustworthiness is the most important aspect of E-E-A-T, and any site that displays any sign of untrustworthiness is issued a low E-E-A-T score, even if it displays a high level of experience, expertise, and authority. 

2 YMYL Keywords Require High E-E-A-T Signals

YMYL refers to Your Money or Your Life. These are keywords that have a significant impact on the health, wellness, finances, and safety of a person or group of people. Zum Beispiel,

  • What to do during an earthquake
  • Liver cancer treatment
  • How to invest in stock

The Google search quality rater guidelines specifically require quality raters to scrutinize Your Money or Your Life content more closely than other types of content.

This means bloggers require high E-E-A-T signals to rank for Your Money or Your Life keywords. In fact, it is almost impossible for random bloggers to rank for certain keywords. 

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