While many in the SEO industry have had “leaked” copies for some time; Google has now released a copy of its much discussed Search Quality Rating Guidelines for all to download.
Before you eagerly click on the download link below; something important to bear in mind that this document isn’t about how to rank well; but more to do with the process behind evaluating how good Google’s results are. However, some pretty good conclusions can be drawn that will be useful in your SEO, although most of it will be common sense stuff.
Google uses “raters” located all over the world to help the company measure the quality of its search results, ranking, and search experience. The manual provides a very detailed guide as to how the ratings work should be performed.
The document has been released as part of the launch of Google’s “How Search Works” site, which allows folks to “follow the entire life of a search query, from the web, to crawling and indexing, to algorithmic ranking and serving, to fighting webspam”.
Yes, yes, yes that’s all well and good – but you want the publication; so here it is:
Search Quality Rating Guidelines – Version 1.0 November 2, 2012
If you’re going to read it cover to cover; ensure you put aside a decent chunk of time. It’s 43 pages long and there’s a lot of information contained within those pages.
It’s interesting to note that Google gets its raters to look beyond the visible content and check for issues such as hidden text, hidden links, keyword stuffing, dodgy redirects and cloaking. It’s amazing how much of that still goes on and sometimes sneaks under Google’s radar.
It also provides guidelines as to gauging intent of a page; e.g. thin affiliate; pure PPC, parked domains and “unhelpful” content accompanied by PPC ads.