Apr 7, 2008 116 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Google's page ranking methods have been the mythical legend of SEO and page rankings. Finally the secret behind Google's methods of ranking a page in its SERP has come out. In March 2008, Google Quality Rater’s handbook was leaked online. According to Pandia, this handbook is the Holy Bible on which Google judges the quality and relevancy of a web page. Some of the factors are:

Query Types:

There are three types of searches that Google operates and tries to maintain a balance between them in its SERPs.

  1. Navigational: When a search is made for a website. Example: DELL.
  2. Informational: When a topic specific information search is made..
  3. Transactional: When a search is made in an effort towards a financial transaction, either online or offline.

Quality Rating Scales:

  • Vital: A vital result comes from a query whose result page is mostly the official page of the query. It is also the highest score a query can achieve in a SERP.
  • Useful: It is assigned to results that “answer the query just right; they are neither too broad nor too specific." It is the second highest ranking a query can achieve in a SERP.
  • Relevant: It is used for results that return less useful results. According to the guidelines, it is often "less comprehensive, comes from a less authoritative source, or covers only one important aspect of the query."
  • Not Relevant: The pages that are not useful to the query, but still somehow have a connection to the query are awarded this ranking. Some of the aspects of a 'Not Relevant' result would be, "outdated, too narrowly regional, too specific, too broad".
  • Off Topic: When a result is completely irrelevant to the query, it would be given a rating of 'off-topic'. It is the lowest ranking a page can receive for a query.

Categories For Results That Can't Be Rated:

The categories of results that cannot be rated are:

  1. Didn't Load: Pages that return a 404 error, page not found, product not found, server time out, 403 forbidden, login required and many more.
  2. Foreign Language: When the results are shown in a different language than the query language. English is never considered to be a foreign language. Hence, if a search is typed in Russian and the results are shown in English, it would not be marked as foreign language.
  3. Unratable: When the rater for some other reason cannot rate a page

Spam Labels:

These labels include:

  1. Not Spam: This rating is awarded to pages that “haven't been designed using deceitful web design techniques."
  2. Maybe Spam: This rating is given when the page is suspected of being 'Spam', but the rater can't be sure of that assumption.
  3. Spam: This rating is given to pages that are proven to be violating Google's Webmaster Guidelines.


When immediate action is required towards a page, it is given a 'flag' rating.

  • Pornographic content.
  • Malicious codes on pages.
Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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