So it’s out – in all its 160-page glory – Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines.
We’ve sifted through it with our special “Key Points for Companies Looking to Rank Highly” sieve and we’ve picked out five major points. These key points are easy to understand and can be implemented while the company marketing brains are working through the other 159 pages.
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Pages
Google demands the highest standards from YMYL pages because the content can have real impacts – good and bad – on people’s lives.
Google wants only reliable, good quality information to make it to the top, so sites with misleading, out-dated or just plain wrong information that could harm people’s well-being or finances will sink.
Google also sees commercial websites in the same way – raters will be assessing the sites to see how safe they feel making transactions on them.
Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness (EAT)
EAT is a website’s overall value – if the contributors are experts who can write well and visitors have good reviews and comments, the EAT score will be good. EAT is especially important to YMYL sites.
A high EAT score is important even without raters. If visitors don’t trust the information, they’ll bounce, leave bad reviews or even report the site. Improving an EAT score can be as easy as updating author bios, adding news of new research, or inviting guest writers.
Google isn’t looking for degrees in contributors, just expertise and experience that lots of people agree with. Detailed reviews, well-supported opinions, people coming back to say thanks for advice – it all adds up.
This is an easy fix and one that’s overlooked. If a website is on WordPress, there’s lots of plug-ins that can accommodate additional content – news articles, opinion pieces, reviews, comments, related articles, just for starters. Even images have their place here, as does well laid-out and easy navigation bars.
Sneaky Redirects – lose them
If there are affiliate programmes on a site, Google sees them as “sneaky redirects” and if there’s quite a few, they can bomb a site’s ranking. The less they have to do with the original page, the worse they are. Similarly, excessively heavy monetisation is punished.
Webmasters have been changing the dates on some content to make it seem fresh – Google has got wise to this, so it’s no longer a fix. Updating the actual content – even if the original publish date is retained – is a huge help, thanks to Google’s internal version of the ‘Wayback Machine’, which monitors content updates.
Techies – what is your take on the new Guidelines? Tweet me @viva_digital