It’s been more than a year since we last heard the term, “Google Search Quality Rating”, but of late, according to Jennifer Slegg’s SEM post, it’s been revealed that the latest update of “Google Search Quality Rating” has arrived, and is mere weeks old.
The report comprises an incredibly detailed summary of all the new features and guidelines that have been included in the new version of “Google Search Quality Rating”. In the last year’s update, we saw Google emphasizing on pages that had a high level of expertise. However, this year’s update is a lot more about ‘Going Mobile‘ – something that Google has been focusing on for the past couple of years. Other features like ‘local queries’, ‘know queries’, do–and–device action queries’, and ‘explicit locations’ have been added in the update so as to influence users to search whatever they like to, depending on their location, such as restaurants, libraries, swimming pools, etc.
Google Search Quality Guidelines – Key areas of consideration
1. Page Quality Rating Strategies
- Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
- What is E-A-T?
- Google determines how expressive your site is in comparison to other websites by measuring its E-A-T. A web page should meet this 3 step criterion, which is equally important for both desktop and mobile. If you really want Google to define your website as worth showing and visiting, you need to follow a few tips:
- Set up your Google Places account – if someone searches for you and finds your location, your business is more likely to be trusted.
- Provide interesting and genuine information – As soon as people start trusting the information you’ve provided on your website, you’ll certainly gain the title of an expert in your field.
- Update your website regularly – It is important that you keep your website up-to-date by posting new and informative posts regularly. Once your website has outdated information, it will no longer be useful to the people who seek the latest content.
- Make your site accessible to everyone – Building accessible websites is one of the best ways to optimize for search engines. Make sure your site is user-friendly and is easily accessible to people with accessibility difficulties.
- Your Money Your Life Pages (YMYL)
- What is YMYL?
- YMYL, in general, is a term applied to specify pages on the Internet that can have a significant impact on your financial future or well-being. YMYL pages are those pages for which PQ, i.e. page quality is particularly important. Moreover, the content of these pages is generated from reputable websites with necessary authority and expertise. YMYL should be excellent in meeting the Page Quality guidelines as otherwise, the page will be rated below par, resulting in never being eligible for high organic ranking in SERPs.
- Examples of YMYL Pages
- Any page that allows you to buy something or requires your bank account details to process further – pages used for monetary transactions.
- Any page that offers medical or health related information – pages that can impact your physical well-being.
- c) Any page that offers advice on major life decisions – pages that can help you buy a new house, purchase a new vehicle, etc.
2. Mobile Quality Strategies
- Things Google considers while ranking a website: The website should be mobile friendly, user-oriented and emphasize more on the areas like speedy internet connectivity, higher Google rank, faster load speed, better browsing experience, etc.
- Different ways Google adopt to understand user intent: In order to enhance user’s search explicitly, Google introduced a new section on local based queries, which include:
- Know Queries: Know Queries are the queries whose result could not be answered in a short list or 1-2 sentences because the result would either be too broad or would need to be much more detailed.
- Know Simple Queries: Know Simple Queries are those queries that often show a featured snippet or another type of knowledge boxes.
- Queries with Multiple User Intents: Sometimes, a search can have several intents, which makes it harder to determine the intent. According to Google, you should be using your best judgment to make the decision of what type of query a user entered and how well it is being interpreted.
Example: For the search query “Oxford University”, there are multiple intents such as the website, directions, or just more information about the university itself.
- Multiple Meaning Queries: Many queries might have multiple meanings and the right interpretation is what is actually expected inside SERPs.
Example: One of the most simple yet informative examples of multiple meaning queries is, ”Apple vs. apple”. Here, apple can be anything, i.e. a fruit, a brand, a company’s name, or even a person’s name. ‘Apple iPhone’ and ‘Granny Smith apple’ are much more specific examples of multiple meaning queries.
- Special Content Result Blocks: According to the rating guidelines, mobile websites that provide SCRBs are likely to rank higher in SERPs than any other web pages.Example: Entering the query “weather” and directly getting the current temperature on the mobile.
- Device Action Result Blocks: It is really important to find out what exactly the user wants to do, i.e. whether he/she wants to open the app, install the app or rather wants some information about the app (web page) – thus, tweaking the content accordingly.
3. Needs Met Rating Guideline
Needs Met Rating Guideline is one of the new rating guidelines for website owners that is used to determine whether a site is a quality site or an ordinary one. Moreover, it focuses more on the mobile users’ needs, on how helpful the results have been for them, and on whether they are satisfied with those results or not.
- Fully Meets: Fully Meets is the maximum possible value of the Needs Met rating. Also, it can be a site, a special content block such as a featured snippet, a perfect response, or an answer that completely meets the query of the user and makes him/her fully satisfied.
Example: If a searcher wants to open a specific site say ‘Wikipedia.com’ and he just types the keyword ‘Wikipedia’ and clicks the ENTER button, the search will end up leading to the Wikipedia home page, resulting in getting a Fully Meets Rating.
- Highly Meets: Highly Meets is another possible way of meeting the demands of the seeker based on the quality scale. These results are typically perfect for the specified query, but for some reason, fail to attain the Fully Meets rating, usually because the user is not provided with an answer, yet he/she somehow gets to it from the result.
Example: If a searcher enters an e-commerce website and searches for “Kids shoes”. The search will lead him/her directly to the kids shoe section on that particular site, resulting in getting a highly meets rating.
- Moderately Meets: Moderately meets refers to the content, a response, or an answer, which may be helpful for many users, but not precisely for the searcher. These results are usually less up-to-date and less inclusive for the users in comparison to the other meets.
Example: Monolingual websites, e.g. an English website with no translation option available, will have a Moderately Meets rating for a searcher from the UAE who does not understand English.
- Slightly Meets: Google describes Slightly Meets as the results that are low in quality, disliked, neglected, outdated, or far too less specific. However, these results are helpful for some or a few users.
Example: “Wikipedia” can be considered as an example of Slightly Meets as it provides results that are far too broad to understand. Another example is “Ezinearticles.com” as the content or results provided on that website are created by a person without expertise, so the content is considered to be of low quality and of untrustworthy nature.
- Fails to Meet: This is the lowest Needs Met rating that can be assigned to a website. Usually, this ranking is assigned to the sites that are NOT mobile friendly. Other reasons that will get a website rated as Fails to Meet include the usual crap content suspects like scraper sites, outdated sites, low page rank sites, etc.
Example: Sites that are not mobile friendly, sites with low Page Rank (PR), sites with running porn ads, etc.
Note: Relationship between Needs Met and E-A-T
Both Needs Met and E-A-T play an indispensable part when it comes to providing content and desirable results to the users based on their needs.
Needs Met Ratings are query based whereas EAT has nothing to do with queries. Needs Met answers the query of the user by providing him/her with the results along with the quality of those results while EAT is simply the rating of the website itself, independent of the search that might lead someone there. This is the reason why a page with a Not Fully Meets Rating can have an exceptional EAT. Also, a website cannot have a Highly Meets Rating if its landing page has a low EAT.
When it comes to getting high-quality ratings for your site, it is important that you come up with genuine and quality content from highly reputable sources and don’t forget to include things like a simple contact form in order to imitate E-A-T, i.e. Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Key takeaways from the Update
- Mobile Friendly: Google tells their raters to rate any page that is not mobile-friendly at the lowest rating.
- Page Quality: The page/website that is not trustworthy, lacks E-A-T, and has low content quality, is considered as a Low-quality page.
- E-A-T: If you really want Google to define your website as worth showing and visiting, you must make sure that your website reflects E-A-T, i.e. Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
- YMYL: Make sure your website falls into the YMYL category. If your page is YMYL, then the PQ, i.e. Page Quality of your website will be considered good.
- Know & Know Simple Queries: These queries are considered the driving force behind featured snippets, and contains most of the necessary information that users look for.
- Needs Met Rating: This rating is used for differentiating a quality site from an ordinary one. Ratings for this range from “Fully Meets” to “Fails to Meet.”
- Content Quality: Content plays a great part in determining the overall quality of a page. Make sure you present the highest-quality content from highly reputable sources.
Want to make the most of the latest Google updates?
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