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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

LEAKED: Google Rating Guidelines for Page Quality

Posted by @ 4:28 pm

Google human search quality raters have the enviable tasks of reviewing Google’s search results and the quality of the web pages that rank well in its algorithm. The Quality Raters’ work has become more widely known over the years thanks to a couple occasions when the guideline document that Google provides as part of their work has been leaked online.

And the leaking has begun again… the latest version of the 161-page document, version 3.27 dated June 22 2012, is largely unchanged from previous versions, except for 1 major development – how to rate page quality.

The document provides an outline of what Google is looking for in a high-quality website. The handbook breaks down the aspects of a page into three main areas:

  • Main Content: This could be in the form of a news article or a blog post, information about a product, a video, a tool, a search box, or a log-in.
  • Supplementary Content: This could be internal navigation or links to related products or videos.
  • Advertisements: These may also be referred to as ads, sponsored links, sponsored listings, or sponsored results.

Pages are broken down into high-quality, medium-quality or low-quality. Here is a breakdown of what makes up each of these page qualities:

High-Quality Pages
Google views high-quality pages as those with content that is “very satisfying, useful, or helpful for its purpose.” That purpose could be, according to the handbook, to:

  • Share objective, personal, or social information
  • Share an opinion
  • Entertain
  • Share pictures, videos, or other media
  • Sell a product or service
  • Post questions and answers
  • Provide file-sharing or downloads.

Medium-Quality Pages
These pages are viewed as being a good-quality and achieve their basic goal, but could still do with some improvements. This could easily be achieved by adding more extensive content, a better design, or by improving the pages reputation/trust signals.

Negative reviews are one thing that could result in a medium rating.

Low-Quality Pages

Low-quality pages either “lack purpose, fail to make their purpose clear, or exist to deceive or do harm”. Usually pages like this contain copied or scraped content or may be auto-generated, or generally just fail to provide users with the information they want.

Issues with these pages include:

  • Factual errors.
  • Grammatical errors.
  • Paraphrasing/spinning content.
  • Using a keyword repeatedly.
  • Using too many words to share basic or obvious ideas or facts.
  • Failure to cite sources.

Other factors that determine the quality of a website include purpose of page, page layout, reputation/credibility, design and technical errors.

So if you think any of your website pages fall under the medium or low-quality categories, it might be time to give the page an overhaul. Otherwise, it could result in a lower Google ranking for your overall website.

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

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