Google has completely rewritten their Quality Ratings Guideline (this is the resource that their team of quality raters uses to rate websites). The brand new version was leaked online and although Google hasn’t confirmed (or denied) that this is the actual document, it seems legit.
This new document which has only been written about by a couple people so far has a ton of interesting information in it.
The document is 3 months old and here is some of what it covers:
Google is putting a lot of emphasis on sites that are considered to have a high level of expertise, authoritativeness or trustworthiness (E-A-T).
Google feels that sites that lack expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness should be awarded the Low rating by their quality raters.
Special consideration: Google warns the quality raters about sites with user driven content (like forums or other sites that allow users to submit articles or information). They urge caution because pages on the sites may not be trustworthy and many lack appropriate amount of E-A-T.
Tip for SEOs and site owners: It is vital that you establish your clients/self as authorities or experts in their field.
Here are some other things Google has warned their quality raters to look out for:
Too Many Ads = Low Quality
Google’s page layout algo has been focused on cleaning up the SERPs from sites that have too much advertising but the Quality Guidelines for raters never focused heavily on it. It does now.
Google specifically mentions sites that are top-heavy with ads and require scrolling to see the content.
Google also states that pages should get the Lowest rating if the rater feels the site is designed to manipulate the user into clicking the ads.
There is more focus on supplementary/secondary content now. What is it? Anything on a page that isn’t the main content or advertisements. They consider it important to the overall user experience. It could be nav, footer, “you might also like….” Content, videos etc. If you don’t
Google asks raters to look for pages such as contact information, return and exchange policies.
Website reputation has been given more priority in the new version of the guide, and it is clear that Google is putting a greater emphasis on reputation than they did before. Google stresses that a webpage cannot be given a High rating if the site has a negative reputation. They are also asking raters to give the lowest rating to any page where there is sufficient evidence of fraudulent or malicious behavior on behalf of the website.
There were various other changes and plenty of items removed as well. Speculation is that the items that were removed from the guide are items that Google feels they have a good handle on algorithmically and therefore they don’t need quality raters to worry about them.
Whenever we get an inside look at what Google considers to be important, you want to pay close attention.
Consider this little leak an early Christmas gift from Google. J (Speaking of that, it is time to start planning for your holiday marketing already!)