See the Changes to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

Google’s Distain for Low-Quality Content Grows Stronger

Just a short year after publishing updates to their guideline to quality ratings, Google has once again made changes their 170+ page PDF with some interesting insights.

The search quality evaluator (or rater) guidelines were originally published years ago by Google, and seem to be updated yearly in order to “help make sure Search is returning relevant results from the most reliable sources available,” per Danny Sullivan.

So, What Changed?

Thanks to Search Engine Land, here is a good summary of what was added or removed from the document:

  • Changed the “Lowest Page Quality” section through reorganizing and including new examples that meet the new structure
  • Added “Groups of people” subcategory and definition to the YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) section
  • Updated guidance on how to research reputation information for content creators and websites
  • Reworded the definition of “Upsetting-Offensive” to be less redundant with the “Lowest Page Quality” section
  • Other vanity changes such as updated imaging, example URLs, verbiage, and older references
  • Many other smaller changes, including typos, formatting, etc.

Low-Quality vs. High-Quality

One of the main updates made to the document was the section on low page quality as mentioned above.

Here is a screenshot of the chart Google uses to define pages they deem to be of lowest quality:

quality rater changes

Groups of People and YMYL Pages

Another change was the addition of “groups of people” to the Your Money or Your Life area of the document.

If you are unfamiliar, Google has high standards in order for content to be deemed high quality if it falls under the YMYL category, as they believe websites of this kind include “pages or topics could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.” And when a page under that category is low quality, it can have a negative impact on those areas of life.

Here are some niches that fall into this category:

  • News and current events
  • Civics, law, and government
  • Health and safety
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Other (fitness, nutrition, college, housing, jobs)

And newly, here is what they have to say about groups of people in relation to YMYL content:

“Groups of people: information about or claims related to groups of people, including but not limited to those grouped on the basis of age, caste, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, nationality, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, victims of a major violent event and their kin, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”

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