Google has updated its search quality guidelines and included a new section that details the “most important factors” for Page Quality. The new changes focus on the rise of mobile, local search and the E-A-T acronym, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
It has been less than six months since Google updated the Quality Rater Guidelines for marketers, but the quickly changing SEO landscape has forced the tech giant to make further amendments and new recommendations to reflect its user-centric direction and help brands score highly in SERPs.
The “most important factors” tie into the E-A-T, which means that brands must create and post content to best showcase their site’s expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in order to optimise their search engine strategies. Other notable factors include main content quality amount, website information and website reputation, with all three informing the E-A-T of a website, according to Google.
It adds: “The quality of the MC is evaluated by looking at the landing page of the link in the PQ rating task. The reputation of the website is based on the website which the landing page belongs to. Depending on the page, E-A-T may be based on the page alone, may be based on the website, or may be based on both the page and website.”
Previous guidelines included several mentions of Supplementary Content and how it impacts on the user experience and ratings, but the latest version omits this information entirely, which suggests that Google is de-emphasising its overall importance without fully condemning its use.
The removal of this content is likely to tie in with Google’s renewed emphasis on mobile, as suggestions for other products can harm the user experience by detracting from the main content on the web page. Google has urged its raters to look carefully at supplementary content to see “whether it offers users an adverse experience.” This suggests that marketers should always ensure this content is really helping the end users.
The final major change relates to local searches. All instances of the term “local” have been replaced by “visit-in-person,” as raters are now advised to take smartphones and tablets into account as well as the possibility of a person making a local visit when determining a search query. Other less notable changes relate to Paywalls, Functional Page Design, Non-determinate Page Rating, Ads and Tabbed Content