As a portion of the big “How Search Works” reveal, Google took a gigantic step in revealing its Search Quality Rating Guidelines to the public for the very first time.
It is the very document that Google’s live quality raters use during the grading of the Google search results. This document is essentially a newly, modified version of an older document that was scattered quietly among numerous webmasters in the SEO community. In fact, most agree that it is more of a gutted version than an edited version. This is because the older document that was circulated quietly was a full 161 pages. On the other hand, the document that was released to the public was only forty-three pages long.
The largest change in the document is that Google completely removed the third and fourth parts which were the “Page Quality Rating Guidelines” and “Rating Examples.” These sections gave detailed information on how pages should be rated, how each section of a page should be rated, and to examine the status of a specific website. The section also showed precise examples of web pages as well as how they should be evaluated.
Unfortunately, a lot of the sections are also missing the URL examples. These URL examples were matched up to different labels on the Google rating scale. These labels include vital, relevant, and useless. Most individuals believe that Google probably removed all of these URL samples because they do not want the community to know exactly what websites they rated and how the websites were rated. It is also conceivable that Google just decided that live URL examples are not a good idea because of how often websites change.
While it’s great that Google has publicly released this Search Quality Rating Guidelines document, it’s a shame that it is such a watered-down, public-friendly version.
If you want to download the document (all 43 pages of it), you can do so here.