As we all know that Google uses Search Quality Rater Guidelines to guide human evaluators on how to analyze real-life examples of web pages to measure their overall quality. To take it further, Google updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines on September 5. This up-to-date version places more emphasis on vetting news sources as well as YMYL content and its creators and expands the basis for which a rater might apply the lowest ratings to content that may potentially spread hate. Alas, analyzing these changes can give us important tips about what Google is attempting to emphasize (or de-emphasize) with its algorithm.

Here Are 5 Key Facts That Are Worth Noting From The Changes Google Made To Its Search Quality Guidelines:

  1. The examples listed of YMYL websites were re-designed and re-adjusted

Google made changes to the ordering of its YMYL (Your Money Your Life) examples and the language it uses to describe them. Google also says that YMYL can be a topic, as well as a “page”, which is a new addition for this version of guidelines. This turns us more attentive to the fact that some YMYL content on a page can be enough for the page to considered YMYL, even if that is not the overall purpose of the page.

“News and current events” was placed above all YMYL topics. This reflects that Google is trying to raise the importance of news as a YMYL category. Google also burst forth “civics, government and laws” into its own category.

“Shopping” and “finance” were also re-grouped into individual categories.

What the earlier version of the Guidelines called “medical information” has now recognized as “health and safety.” Google removed the language about “specific diseases or conditions” and “mental health” and is now seemingly using the blanket term “medical issues” to describe all of these.

  1. Google adds precision about how “Very High Quality Main Content” should be defined

Google added a few important tips around what it specifically means to have “Very High Quality Main Content.” This knowledge section offers specific examples stating about what quality content might look like across different industries, including news, art, and informational content.

  1. The Pulitzer Prize is no more delineated as the only source of journalistic integrity

An interesting development in this version of the Quality Rater Guidelines is that Google is now supplementing now any reference of the “Pulitzer Prize” with other examples of awards or accolades that indicate journalistic quality.

  1. Google added extra recommendations around measuring reputation for YMYL content creators

Google adjoined a new paragraph around how to conduct“careful checks”for the reputation of content creators on YMYL topics. These checks should be based on“evidence from experts, professional societies, awards,”etc. Google also stipulates that, for shopping sites, these checks should consider experts those individuals who have “used the store to make a purchase.”This is a good indicator that reviews from prior customers can be considered a crucial factor that contributes to the trustworthiness of an ecommerce site. However, when analyzing medical advice, the reputation checks should go a level deeper and look at comment report from real medical experts.

  1. Google turned language more liberal in opposition to pages which “Promote Hate”

Google made some small tweaks to how it defines pages that promote hate or violence:

“Ethnicity” became “ethnic origin”

“Gender” became “gender or gender identity”

“Citizenship” was removed

“Socio-economic status” was removed

“Political beliefs” was removed

“Victims of atrocities” was removed

Kindly Note

Google made these changes for better. It’s a way Google adopted to make sure its official document is error-free and all-inclusive.


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