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Google Quality Rater Guidelines Update March 28, 2016

     
3:07 pm on Apr 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google has refreshed its Google Quality Rater Guidelines on March 28, 2016, which is an update from the earlier release [webmasterworld.com] in November 2015.

Here's the PDF to download the March 28 Google rater guidelines update [static.googleusercontent.com...]

There are a couple of good reviews already online which summarise the changes really well, not least the one from The SEM Post which goes into great detail.

[thesempost.com...]
[seroundtable.com...]

Clearly, having scanned over the guidelines, mobile, again, takes emphasis, along with local being important. Local is like the long lost relative, imho, it's always been there but often not taken much attention. Perhaps these guidelines will make you think differently about local.
1:31 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There is also this video, where Paul Haahr of Google explains their interpretation of the guidelines.
[seroundtable.com...]
3:53 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Local has gained such a significance, especially with mobile search, that often times what I want now is at the bottom of the SERP.
9:44 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I just want to know who "watches the watchers"?
3:15 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Local seems pretty strong now. Can be for good or for bad. Gonna have to see how it evolves.
4:41 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The biggest flaw in this rating system is 'Reputation':

It also adds that raters should use “reputable” independent sources when checking what outside sources might say about the quality of a website.

Spammers in most business niches have created their own "independent reviews" websites and they, obviously, 'review' their own websites giving them the best possible 'scores.' A typical user won't be able to notice this important fact and would be easily misguided. In the end, I predict Google will remove this 'reputation' point from the list in the near future.
5:21 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've been noticing local growing strongly for some time, so if you haven't gotten on board with local, what have you been doing!
All the indicators have been there for some time, especially mobile.
Desktop is not dead, by any means, but as webmasters we need to keep upping our game, keep a focus on what is growing, and target our audience on-the-go.

Quality, quality, quality: Panda saw to it that poor quality just won't cut it any more, and the raters might just have that influence for borderline sites.

Google and Bing have upped their game, and we should, too.
11:05 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Agree Google and Bing have upped their game, BUT HOW should it be done?
Not trying to be cynical -
For 15 years my niche info website, which is also my occupation in a service related business, has been #1 #2 in so many niche related phrases over this time period.
Have always been a white hat, always used Google guide lines and Google tools checking mobile friendliness, speed, back links, (which seem to have gotten weird, 1 day shows thousands of backlinks some days shows 10 backlinks) and the all of the rest of the Google tools.

Site is considered an authoritative site in the subject matter from piers, has been quoted and linked to from news sites, magazines, universities, and state government sites - with links back to site.
My Bewilderment is the fact new 5 page go-daddy sites on the subject are ranking above it with copied content by competitors and these sites fail, sometimes miserably, in Google tool test.
My Question is, again not trying to be cynical, what good does it do to follow the guidelines or build your site to Google standards with a quick low content (you would not believe how low content for some) go-daddy 5 page site with no work put into it passes you buy.

Confused.
11:10 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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When Google talks about “local” it seems to always be in a geographic sense (a place, location or proximity) Examples such as “best cake shops in Vancouver” or “pre-owned wedding dresses in Prague” are used to illustrate how local feeds into the ranking process.

But IMO there is another aspect of “local” that is very significant in certain niches and I am referring to “local knowledge”. My interest is travel and tourism, and destination guides in particular, and here is an example of what happens in this field.

Site A is about a specific place, a truly informative resource, developed by a person or team with sound subject knowledge, exceptionally well researched, providing everything a visitor is likely to need… history, most popular sites, natural attractions, festivals and events, tours and attractions, transport options, accommodation choices, city maps, flight schedules, bus timetables …. and booking facilities. The site might have 20-25 pages covering all of the above… it is truly local in every respect.

Site B has a single boilerplate page about the same place that appears in an Expedia or TripAdvisor compendium site. In terms of the value of “local”, these pages are little more that a token effort and seem to exist primarily to carry advertising. It does not come remotely close to Site A in terms of being a useful resource.

So if the Site B’s dominate the rankings, and they do, it would seem that the demonstrated local knowledge that is obvious in the Site A’s is not flowing through to the algo.

Maybe domain authority still rules the roost and has been absorbed into EAT?
12:52 am on Apr 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Funny how these have become public domain... wake up!
12:32 am on Apr 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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"noticing local growing strongly for some time"

Sux if you're a destination based travel site though. You don't care about locals already there, you want NON-locals.
1:30 am on Apr 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Sux if you're a destination based travel site though. You don't care about locals already there, you want NON-locals.

Not a problem, in my experience.
11:14 pm on July 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've thought that this thread fell by the wayside when it shouldn't have. The Rater's Guidelines are well worth studying, as is the video of the presentation by Paul Haahr of Google.

One of the things that jumped out at me when I read the Guidelines was the "Needs Met" section, starting on p76. These guidelines are seed questions for Google's ongoing "Panda" quality evaluations, and it suggests that Google is very basically changing how it looks at the results it delivers for a query.

There's lots of discussion in the monthly Updates thread that things aren't as they used to be... and I'm thinking that this might be one of the reasons why.
8:51 pm on Sept 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm kicking this thread up again. I continue to see that many webmasters are still unaware of the issues it raises.
7:14 am on Oct 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing that there are a lot of misconceptions about the Google Human Quality Raters and their relationship to the algorithm popping up in threads around the forum. One of the best explanations I've seen of how they work and interact with the algorithm is in this half-hour video featuring Paul Haahr (a Google Ranking Engineer whom I hope we see more of).

Even though the video is mentioned in passing several times earlier in this thread, I'm going to make more prominent mention of it here. I'll also note, FWIW, that visual prominence is part of User Experience (UX), which is an important factor in current site optimization....

SMX West 2016 - How Google Works: A Google Ranking Engineer's Story
trt 32:46 - Paul Haahr
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJPu4vHETXw [youtube.com]

Well worth watching, particularly in relationship to the Quality Raters Guidelines, which are key to quality factors that Google is looking at when it rates your site.

12:43 pm on Oct 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Here's my in depth look at the quality rating guidelines and how it affects rankings
These are my own original ideas and analysis of the Quality Rating Guidelines, published on March 21, 2016. I wrote several thousand words of ideas, with citations to scientific articles to back up some observations.

These are the key insights I found:

1. Content is Not King
Google’s guidelines explicitly instructs the raters to judge a site according to how a page satisfies a site visitor’s goals. Thus, for an e-commerce site, a page is judged according to the consumer’s research and buying experience, not by how much content is on the page. It is about how the content satisfies user’s goals that matters.

User Intent is King (or Queen)
There is an entire section in the rating guidelines, section 12.7, that is titled, Understanding User Intent. This is incredibly important

On-Page Algorithm Ranking Factors
Expect the search algorithm to favor sites on the basis of satisfying user goals. In my opinion, this is already happening and is most evident in highly competitive niches. It’s no longer about simple keyword matching.

2. Award and Review Cultivation Strategy
This is may be a controversial part of the rating guideline that is not discussed much.

3. User Experience Search Marketing
The phrase “User Experience” is used 23 times in the Google quality raters’ guidelines. Of those 23 times, the phrase “poor user experience” was used nine times.

4. For B2C and B2B: Be Comprehensive
Google’s quality rating guide is explicit that a quality web page not only contains the main content (MC) but also supplementary content (SC) in the form of videos, PDFs, manuals, granular specifications, user reviews, ratings, and so on.

5. Prepare to Accelerate
Here is what the rating guidelines says about the mobile experience:
"Users want results right away, at that moment, and may not be able to spend a lot of time to find what they are looking for."


Point five is particularly interesting because it goes against the mindset that we have to increase the time spent on a web page, which leads some publishers to slow down the delivery of data by dripping the data to the users, forcing them into more clicks or to scroll down. In my opinion, a long dwell time is not always justified or necessary. How fast you satisfy user intent is more important.

The full article is here:
5 Strategies Unlocked From Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/5-strategies-unlocked-googles-quality-rating-guidelines/156806/ [searchenginejournal.com]
12:38 am on Feb 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Great post, martinibuster. Thanks.

I'm kicking this thread up yet again, as there's good background in one of the stuides referenced below how the Feb 7 algo update is drawing from the Quality Rater Guidelines...

Feb 7, 2017 Google Algorithm Update - studies suggest it was Phantom
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4836985.htm [webmasterworld.com]

 

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