The Five Changes To Google Quality Rater Guidelines
In the latest SEO news and updates, Google made five changes to their Quality Raters Guidelines (QRGs) and released a new version with a short discussion of each in the changelog. Online businesses and site owners must be aware of these changes as they could significantly impact SEO.
While they have no direct influence on rankings, these guidelines can provide online businesses and site owners with important information about Google’s top considerations when evaluating the quality of content.
Moreover, these guidelines are followed by human search quality evaluators, who provide feedback used to influence future search engine algorithm upgrades.
Being aware of Google’s QRG adjustments can help one predict the search engine company’s plans in the future, particularly in its modifications to algorithms and the criteria it uses when reviewing E-A-T and content.
What Are The Five Changes To The QRGs?
- In the YMYL category, the ‘Groups of people’ definition has changed.
- The procedure for researching the reputation information for site owners and publishers has been updated.
- The section for ‘Lowest Page Quality’ has seen a lot of changes.
- The definition of ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ has been modified.
- The company made changes throughout the content for consistency and clarity.
What do these revisions to the standards imply, and what should SEO professionals be aware of?
1. ‘Groups Of People’ In YMYL Content
In the YMYL subcategory, Google expanded the definition of “Groups of people”.
In the past, Google’s definition of Your Money, Your Life – or YMYL – included a part about “Groups of people”, discussing ethnic origin/race, disability, religion, nationality, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, and gender or gender identity.
Google retained those categories in its definition, but they did include various group types to its list:
- Gender expression
- Immigration status
- Victims of a major violent event and their kin
- Other characteristics associated with marginalisation or systemic discrimination
Google aims to expand its view of YMYL content to encompass a variety of identities, socioeconomic situations, and more.
Since E-A-T is so essential for YMYL material, it follows that E-A-T is critical when creating SEO content about the categories of people listed above.
2. Guidance On Researching Reputation Information
Google updated the guidance on conducting reputation information research for site owners and content publishers. Their language has changed from implying that “stores” often contain user ratings that give reputation data to stating that this may be done for “websites”.
The updated guidelines also said that having many positive, reliable, and in-depth testimonials serve as evidence of a great reputation. In contrast, Google previously only stated the number of good testimonials.
Google also took out a section that describes the Pulitzer Prize as proof of a good reputation for journalism sites. In previous versions of the QRG, Google has added and deleted references to the Pulitzer Prize.
The search engine company also changed its definition of how they measure the reputation of an individual or a website. In the updated QRG, they said that informative biographical articles might be an acceptable source of reputation information for content creators and individual publishers.
They also modified the phrase from “when a high level of authoritativeness or expertise is needed” to “For YMYL informational topics”.
Surprisingly, Google deleted the statement where they said reputation research is required for all sites. Instead, they now state that researching reputation info is only required “to the extent that an established reputation can be found”.
The search engine company also urges its raters to assess reputation accordingly and think about whether or not a subject is YMYL. They offered an example of how user reviews may not be as beneficial for a medical site compared to an online store.
It is a significant change because it implies that customer reviews hold more value for businesses compared to YMYL content like medical sites, whose E-A-T could be calculated in a different way.
3. ‘Lowest Page Quality’
The ‘Lowest Page Quality’ category was completely redesigned and updated. Now, examples are rearranged and refreshed to reflect the new structure.
Google modified its section on calculating the Lowest Page Quality. Notably, they broadened definitions and gave examples of what pages that seek to spread hate, misinform, or cause harm,
Examples of these additions include:
- Websites that doxx users
- Unsubstantiated theories that are not grounded in facts or evidence
- Content with instructions on how to commit homicide or suicide
- Harmful content that widely recognised facts can easily disprove
- Content with dehumanising or offensive stereotypes
4. ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ Definition
The definition of “Upsetting-Offensive” has been simplified to remove redundancy with the Lowest Page Quality section.
The definition still maintains that if a result can be characterised as “Upsetting-Offensive” by searchers in the area, it should be categorised as such. The statement that a result should be considered “Upsetting-Offensive” even if it fulfils user intent was also removed.
5. Minor Changes
Google made small modifications to the Quality Rater Guidelines, which included updates to pictures and URLs, as well as phrasing and examples for consistency. They also addressed spelling mistakes, outdated samples, and more.
In the blog post announcing the changes, Danny Sullivan, Public Search Liaison, explained why they made changes to the QRGs. He said that they work on updating and improving the QRGs from time to time to ensure that they’re functioning correctly.
Sullivan also said that the other changes that aim to enhance clarity and improve orderliness were what made up most of the October 2021 update. The update refreshed advice on researching websites’ reputations and included clarifications on what counts as low-quality content.
Stay Up-To-Date With Google’s Guidelines
Keeping up with the latest SEO news and updates from Google is necessary for good rankings. However, this is easier said than done. Many small companies will have trouble staying up to date as they need to devote time and resources to their business. Fortunately, with the help of an SEO company, business owners can make sure that their website follows all of the latest optimisation guidelines.
For those looking for a reliable SEO company in the UK, Position1SEO is undoubtedly the best choice. We are an agency that specialises in all things SEO. All of our methods are tried and tested, and fully compliant with all of Google’s guidelines and policies.
We guarantee that your site will get the best rankings possible, or we’ll work for free until you do! By working with us, you can boost your site traffic and gain better conversions to ensure higher profits for your business.
Contact us today at 0141 404 7515 for a free in-depth SEO audit.