Google has made considerable changes to its quality rating guidelines, or QRG, for search. Though Google is known to update this document several times a year, the latest version has considerable changes to the structure of the document. Tables and new sections have been added, along with 11 pages of relevant content. Dozens of important details have been changed; among them, an important change is the introduction of the letter E to the popular acronym EAT.
Introduction to E.E.A.T
Google has gone on to introduce the concept of E-E-A-T, that is depicted in the form of
The inclusion of experience implies that while assessing the information’s calibre, the level of the author’s first-hand familiarity with the topic may be appreciated. With the reframing of E. E. A. T., Google suggests that trust is at the essence of the concept and the most important member of the E. E. A. T. family. Google is also known to provide concise examples of important topics such as
- Evaluation of the reputation of content distributors and websites
- The extent to which E-E-A-T matters and how it is to be evaluated
- what it indicates for the content to be harmful.
Granularity and the need for inclusive language
Google appears to be in an evolving mode as the language becomes more inclusive and in line with the times. It has incorporated new mentions of social media handles and influencers and the manner in which content may take different forms like video, UGC, and social media posts.
In this version, Google adopts a granular approach where it answers common questions in the manner E-E-A-T works and how much it would matter for various topics. Google illustrates what form of content is to be considered harmful and whether the relevant experience is viable to develop trustworthy content for the topic at hand. Through the new guidelines, all SEOs will take some amount of time to be read. It serves as a representation of where Google wants the algorithms to go first.
Significant changes to the QRG
Some of the changes made to the search quality guidelines in 2022 are as follows:
Understanding the website
The updates from Google revolved around the fact of who updated the website. Start out by figuring out who is responsible for the website and who developed the content on the page. Then you need to search for information about the content creators on the website itself. Google also refers to the reputation of the website and the content creators, rather than focusing on the former. It means that the reputation of the people who contributed to the content of the website also holds relevance.
Being aware of who is responsible for the website and who created the content on the page
Google is clear that when identifying who is responsible for a website, it has to be the person who is the owner of the website. In the earlier version of QRG, Google asked the rater which company, individual, foundation, or business was responsible for the site. In this version, Google has replaced the foundation with the government agency and organisation.
Google has since added a new table to assist quality raters in determining who wrote the website’s major content.. This is taking into consideration that some websites control their own content, whereas others comprise contributions from authors. Google seems to be focused on distinguishing the website owner from the content contributors on the website.
Overall page quality rating
Google has significantly altered some of its advice related to rating page quality and interpreting reputation information. The updated version of QRG offers a 3-step process for accessing the page quality.
- Assessing the true purpose of the page and how deceptive or harmful it is
- Assessing the potential of the page to cause harm or otherwise be spammy or trustworthy( if the rater assumes that the pages are harmful or deceptive, they should rate them as low quality)
- If the page is not harmful, then a quality rating is provided based on how well it achieves its purpose.
When evaluating page quality, Google has added a new table.
The quality of the main content
Google has made considerable changes to how raters should assess the quality of the main content page. In this new version, Google removed time and incorporated the word originality. Taking into consideration that the focus of Google is original content, this is hardly a matter of surprise. They have also added a new table to this section on how to assess page quality.
They seem to be asking the raters about the degree of effort they put into the formulation of the content. This is in opposition to tactics that use automation without manual creation or oversight. Since the focus is on originality, there are no insights anywhere. Google also states that alignment and accuracy are vital for YMYL topics.
The reputation of the website and the content creators
An important addition is that reputation research is dependent on the topic of the content page. A quality rater can observe various websites to obtain reputational information. As for the reputation of the content creators, this is an entirely new section. This showcases the fact that they are concerned about the reputation of the individual content creators.
E-E- A- T
In the SEO community for the past few years, Google E-A-T has turned out to be a hot topic. It is not only about introducing an extra letter, but Google also places trust at the centre of the family of important considerations for page quality. Trust is the most important component of the E-E-A-T family, and an untrustworthy page will have low E-E-A-T no matter how authentic it may seem.
Trust is a medium that indicates whether a page is trustworthy and reliable. The amount of trust that a page generates is totally dependent on the nature of the page. Google offers examples of online stores that demand reliable customer support and secure online payment methods. It also mentions product review websites, as reviews will enable a customer to make an informed purchase decision about a product.
The introduction of experience to the concept of E-E-A-T is consistent with many of Google’s updates and communications. Google has also gone on to add a new page that is termed “conflict of interest. a review of the product manufacturer is not trustworthy, or view the reviews of an influencer who is paid to promote the product.
YMYL topics: experience or expertise
Google has introduced a new section to distinguish whether expertise or experience is necessary for YMYL content. The section outlines that just being a content creator is not going to make you an expert on a Bonafede YMYL topic. People tend to share their stories based on first-hand experience that is considered trustworthy in certain scenarios.
Harmful to oneself or other individuals
Google has introduced YMYL topics based on their ability to cause harm to a user. In the present version, Google has provided a detailed table of what it considers harmful or not. They have drawn a clear line between harassment and free speech when it comes to quality or harmful content.
Google also provides clear examples of misleading information. This may include internet conspiracies that are not validated.
Lacking E. E. A. T.
Google provides examples of what is an appropriate level of English for the topic and the purpose of the page. A few of the examples are as follows:
- The content creator lacks relevant experience. An example is a restaurant review written by someone who has never eaten at the restaurant.
- The website or page is not trustworthy for the purpose. An example is a shopping mall with minimal customer information.
For anyone who is working in search marketing quality, rater guidelines serve as a crucial document. It serves as a guide to where Google wants the algorithms to proceed. Reading between the lines in the document can give an idea of what Google is looking for in terms of precise content, quality experiences, and the E-E-A-T of websites.
Complying with the guidelines ensures that the site and the company will be visible on Google searches. They are not subject to being impacted by any of the updates to Google’s algorithms or penalties.