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Google Updates Search Quality Raters Guidelines

November 17th, 2023

On November 16, 2023 Google has made an update to the Search Quality Raters Guidelines in order to simplify the “Needs Met” scale definitions. There has also been added guidance for different types of web pages and modern examples such as newer content formats like short form video. Outdated and redundant examples have also been removed, and the rating guidance for forum and discussion pages have been expanded. Google has specified that none of these updates include and major foundational shifts in overall guidelines.

What are Search Quality Raters Guidelines?

Search Quality Raters Guidelines (SQRG) are a set of guidelines provided by search engine companies, such as Google, to individuals known as Search Quality Raters. These raters are responsible for evaluating and providing feedback on the quality of search results.

Search Quality Raters Guidelines are used by Google’s search raters to help evaluate the performance of different search ranking systems and their ratings do not influence rankings directly. The Search Quality Raters Guidelines help people understand what content is helpful when using Google search, and users can reference Google’s page on how to create helpful, people first content for more information and a summary on these concepts. With the update to these guidelines last year to include experience, it is best to review the guidelines regularly to ensure assessment of your content in order to be successful in Google search.

Search engines use complex algorithms to rank and display search results, but human judgment is essential to ensure that the algorithms are producing relevant and high-quality results. Search Quality Raters play a crucial role in this process by manually assessing the relevance, usefulness, and overall quality of search results. Here is an overview of some guidelines to follow for your own website:

  1. Relevance: Raters are instructed to evaluate how well the search results match the user’s query. This involves considering the content and context of the web pages to determine their relevance to the search intent.
  2. Content Quality: Raters assess the overall quality of the content on the web pages, looking for accuracy, depth, and reliability. High-quality content is more likely to receive a favorable rating.
  3. Page Design and Functionality: Raters may consider the layout, design, and functionality of web pages, as well as the overall user experience. Pages that are easy to navigate and provide a positive user experience are typically rated higher.
  4. Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T): This is a crucial aspect of the guidelines, particularly for content that relates to health, finance, and other sensitive topics. Raters are instructed to assess the experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of the content and the website as a whole.
  5. Understanding User Intent: Raters are expected to understand the user’s intent behind a search query and evaluate whether the search results effectively address that intent.
  6. Needs Met: Raters consider whether the search results satisfy the user’s needs. This involves evaluating whether the content on the web pages adequately addresses the query.

It’s important to note that the guidelines are continually updated, and search engines may refine them to adapt to changes in user behavior, technology, and the evolving nature of online content. Working with an experienced SEO Content Writing Company can help to ensure your content follows these guidelines and is relevant to your users.


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