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New Google Quality Rater Guidelines Updates: What Do You Need To Know?

Google Search Rater Guidelines Update

Yesterday, we noticed that Google updated their Quality Rater Guidelines. But before we get into that, a little background.

The Quality Rater Guidelines provide an insight into what Google looks for. With thousands of ‘raters’ around the world who search for a pre-designated term, the results are rated based on a range of criteria. While Google claims these ratings don’t feed directly into rankings or algorithms, they are used to give Google an understanding of how ‘good’ the results they return are.

In recent years, every time Google has updated these guidelines, we’ve seen a core algorithm update within two weeks. Based on the fact the guidelines have just been updated, we predict an incoming core algorithm update coming, fast. 

What does this mean for you?

There are a number of changes that are expected which can be read around in more depth over at Search Engine Journal. For now, we’re focusing on the main elements we see will be most relevant to the clients we work with. These include:

Groups of people in YMYL content

If you work within a niche where you need to be considerate to sensitive elements of character or socioeconomic classification such as immigration law services, this one applies to you.

Within the update, Google expanded the definition of the YMYL (Your Money Your Life) subcategory, ‘Groups of people’. Previously, this subcategory included information related to ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.

Google has since kept those groups but also added the following:

  • Caste
  • Gender expression
  • Immigration status
  • Victims of a major violent event and their kin
  • Or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation

This update shows Google’s evolvement to expand its YMYL content to include various identities, socioeconomic conditions and more. As EAT content is a top priority when it comes to YMYL sectors, this update implies that following EAT best practice is crucial when creating content related to any of the groups mentioned. If this is something that applies to you, we’d recommend taking a look into whether your content meets the associated needs.

How to research reputation information

Previously, Google saw that businesses that had a “number of positive reviews” as a good thing. But now, the search engine is looking for those who have “detailed, trustworthy, positive views”.

From this, we’re anticipating that basic reviews that simply say, “5 stars!” will be deemed less valuable than detailed reviews on a service or product. We also suspect the trustworthiness of the review will link back to the user’s identity. This means having real names on reviews rather than “DIYLover123”, for example, is what Google will be looking for.

It’s worth encouraging your customers to provide more detailed reviews under a trustworthy name. Equally, if you don’t have any reviews at all, this is a good time to start pushing for them.

What’s next?

There’s no reason to panic about a potential impending update. But it’s worthwhile being aware of it and working with the relevant people to make improvements where needed. We always strive to pick up on the impacts of Google’s updates in real-time, so our advice and efforts are consistently in line with best practices. If you want to find out more about this, get in touch with our experts.