NEW YORK, NY – It’s nothing short of amazing to see all of the time, money, resources and effort search giant Google engineers are putting towards accessing the trustworthiness of specific web-pages these days. I remember when the entire Google algorithm was simply based on the HTML code which made up a website. However, these days Google uses not only artificial intelligence to rank sites, but they also use ‘real people’ to give websites something called “QR” ratings (Quality Ratings), according to the document titled Human Quality Ratings and Guidelines .
Google released this document back in 2015 and has revised it several times since. According to the widely referenced “Search Engine Land“, Google contracts with over 10,000 search quality raters worldwide to evaluate its search results. Danny Sullivan, now at Google, is Google’s Search Liaison and uses a Twitter account for official Google communication explaining how Google works. Sullivan often mentions that webmasters should be reading the Quality Raters’ Guidelines.
For advice on great content, a good starting point is to review our search quality rater guidelines. Raters are people who give us feedback on if our algorithms seem to be providing good results, a way to help confirm our changes are working well….https://t.co/bVOAoKgDP2
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) 11 October 2018
These efforts create an ‘entirely new ball game’ for both search itself and search optimization companies and is probably the majority of the reason that Google’s search results are vastly different than other search engines, especially when it comes to Yahoo and Bing, which rely on many of the old school optimization elements which ultimately result in a much more predictable set of search results. While Bing and Yahoo search engine results pages or (SERPS) seem for the most part, expected and explainable, Google search results often yield nearly no rhyme or reason to what shows up where and why – outside of the fact that the results and answers to the users queries are often very good ones, and the majority of the times, the best search results.
Of course, or in my opinion, Google will continue to master this and work towards the same high quality results for its search ads business as it does for the search service itself so that users will no longer mind the ads and potentially prefer them as search becomes more and more commercialised. Again, in my opinion, it is in Google’s best interest to both A) deliver the absolute best search results possible, and B) remove the stigma associated with clicking on ads. If they can continue to accomplish these two things, the opportunity for all ad results becomes more of a reality.
If you are interested in tearing apart the algorithmic changes under the microscope, check out the assessment of recent changes by Marie Haynes in her post titled “The September 27 – early October algorithm update was likely about Google’s ability to assess trust”. Haynes goes into great depth on the Quality Raters’ Guidelines and QR scores as well as something now known in Google’s guidelines as E-A-T, a sources’ “Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness”, including spectacular examples of how exactly Google is explaining what to look for and how to access this to its team of human reviewers.
By reading and understanding this guide, webmasters could subconsciously know exactly how they should be building and maintaining web pages for optimal results, without even much thought on optimization. By knowing how these web pages will be perceived by Google’s Human Reviewers, you can avoid creating problems that are bound to get you into trouble. The only question that remains, especially for those who are trying to decipher changes or ranking declines, especially those which may have happened in the past, is that once a quality score is assigned, how long does it take for that site to be reviewed again, and is there a process for getting an entirely new review, once a site is cleaned up or improved?
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks Inc. and Internet Advertising Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy company Searchen Networks®