There’s a new Google “Page Quality Rating Guidelines”!
A new version, version 3.27, of Google’s General Guidelines handbook for search quality raters, which was dated June 22, 2012, has finally hit the web, which had caused some apprehensions among the SEO community.
The new General Guidelines handbook, which is now 161 pages long, has now a new “Page Quality Rating Guidelines” section, which is 32 pages long, that instructs human raters how to rate page quality.
Google has posted as an explanation of the concept of Page Quality to its raters, stating, “You have probably noticed that webpages vary in quality. There are high quality pages: pages that are well written, trustworthy, organized, entertaining, enjoyable, beautiful, compelling, etc. You have probably also found pages that seem poorly written, unreliable, poorly organized, unhelpful, shallow, or even deceptive or malicious. We would like to capture these observations in Page Quality rating”
According to Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts, he, however, insisted that Google’s search engine results are not directly affected by these ratings. But, without doubt, the feedbacks gotten from Google's human raters do play some part in the roughly 500 algorithmic tweaks that occur every year.
Regardless, in the new rating guideline, a high-level view of what Google is looking for in a high-quality website is provided.
The new handbook now breaks down the aspects of a page into three main areas: the Main Content, which could be in the form of a news article or a blog post, information about a product, a video, a tool, a search box, or a log-in; Supplementary Content, which could be internal navigation or links to related products or videos; and the Advertisements, which may also be referred to as ads, sponsored links, sponsored listings, or sponsored results.
In the new handbook, the existing section on “URL Rating Tasks with User Locations” has also been revised and expanded to 16 pages from the previous 12 pages.
There are also no pages, whether its news, forum, shopping, encyclopedia, or other, that are considered automatically high or low quality. Now, Google essentially views content as having high-quality if it is “very satisfying, useful, or helpful for its purpose,” of which the purpose could be, according to the handbook, to share objective, personal, or social information; share an opinion; entertain; share pictures, videos, or other media; sell a product or service; post questions and answers; and provide file-sharing or downloads.
Also, ratings aren’t now assigned based on a query as well as reviews are now strictly being done based on page quality.