Google’s Latest Search Quality Evaluation Guide Leaked: What is Quality in Google’s Eyes and What Expertise Means?

Jul 16, 2014 | 1,320 views | by Ritu Sharma
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The updated version of Google’s Search Quality Evaluation Guide has leaked once again, giving more details on how Google determines quality. The latest version (version 5.0) includes updated information on expertise, authority, trust and reputation and how Google analyzes them while rating websites and pages.

Google search quality team uses human raters, also called search quality evaluators, to rate sites for quality. The team uses a Google manual to get insights into what a quality website is and how to rate them. This manual is updated frequently and sometimes the content gets leaked. Although the content of the manual is not very much different from what Google often talks about quality, it contains more details on deciphering high quality from low quality.

Version 5.0 of the guidebook talks more about how expertise, authority, and trust can play an important role in determining quality and hence ratings. Popularly dubbed as E-A-T this is a subsection in the latest version. Although this is not a new concept, the guidebook explains this in details with a few examples.

  • It says high quality advice should come from pages with proper expertise and sources which can be trusted. But don’t hurriedly determine what expertise is. The guidebook says apart from looking for level of formal education, it will value the everyday expertise and life experiences of the author to determine whether or not they are an “expert” on the subject.
  • It also talks about requirements for expertise on a topic. Formal education is needed for medical advice, less formal expertise is needed for lighter topics like recipes and humor.
  • While in some cases the analysis of E-A-T should be done by page, in other cases it is done by website. At the page level, the quality of the main content, supporting content, and page design are seen. While at the website level, contact information, website maintenance and reputation etc are considered.
  • If a website has different authors on different pages, page level checks are important. Website level checks are needed when all the content on the website is produced by the same person, the website has active editorial standards and the website has positive reputation from experts in the topic of the website.
  • The guide says the website may not be trustworthy if they allow anyone to publish anything, if the writers choose their own topics, have poor writing skills and no expertise on the subject. The website is also not trustworthy if the authors are paid per article or word.
  • Version 5.0 also talks about positive reputation. Even a medium quality page can get a high rating if it has positive reputation. Positive reputation is based on prestigious awards and recommendations from well known authors on the topics of the website.

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Ritu from PageTraffic is a qualified Google Adwords Professional and Content Head at PageTraffic. She has been the spear head for many successful Search Marketing Campaigns and currently overseas Content Marketing operations of Page Traffic in India.