Please note, these individuals are not training the algorithm as such, nor can a poor or good rating on your site affect your rankings. They are merely providing Google with some measurable feedback on the effectiveness of the experiments it is running that might relate to Google Search experiments in production or future ones that they are currently assessing.
Google has been pushing webmasters to produce good quality content for a long time and have introduced algorithmic changes that make old, popular SEO techniques like article spinning defunct. Google released a condensed version of their guidelines back in 2013 and then released the full version in 2015. The latest version runs to more than 160 pages and has many good and bad real-world examples of SERP results and how to rate ranking pages and its rationale behind this.
If ever there was an essential reading list for SEOs then this would be on it!
Tip #1. Anyone working on the content on your site should have some training on this.
The guidelines are where we first heard about ‘Your Money or Your Life’ pages (YMYL). Google places great importance on these sites as they can impact someone’s life, e.g. They are about medical, health and financial topics, such as financial transaction pages within ecommerce sites.
These sites especially should have EAT – Expertise, Authority and Trust.
The site should show why those who are giving the recommendations on the YMYL pages have the expertise (i.e. Display their credentials), the authority (i.e. They are well known in the industry) and they can be trusted (i.e. Reviews, citations from other industry resources).
The complete Search Quality Guide covers assessing the quality of the website, but here we’re just focused on a specific page and these are the main factors that they consider when assessing the overall page quality.
- The Purpose of the Page
- Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness
- Main Content (MC) Quality and Amount
- Website Information/information about who is responsible for the MC
- Website Reputation/reputation about who is responsible for the MC
Tip #2 – So why not do your own internal (or even external anonymised testing) to see how your key money pages compare to your competitors on the Page Quality and Needs Met scales. Perhaps, this might give you some useful insights into discernable differences between your pages and higher ranking competitors and suggestions of changes you can make to your page to improve the user experience.
Tip #3 – If you really want to get a feel for what Google is looking for then sign-up to become a Google Search Quality Evaluator yourself. Google has recruited in the past through companies like Appen and Lionbridge. Alternatively, the low-cost online Search Quality Evaluator courses run by a former Search Quality Rater give you a good sense of what it is like to evaluate websites.
Tip #4 – Don’t just think about producing the content. Do your keyword research – which keywords generate Featured Videos, which keywords generate Featured Snippets and are they in a table, list or paragraph format? Professionally produced content that’s the right combination of content types or formats, in the layout Google favours (e.g. Articles or category pages) all combine to produce great content.