Take advantage of the latest and the greatest about Google's new QRG implementations and bring your SEO A-game for this upcoming 2023.
So, Google made some changes recently…
Who isn't looking for a way to get our content noticed by Google? We all are undertaking the somewhat enigmatic task of comprehending search engines' behavior to scale up our presence online.
In this mission we online marketers share, grasping Google's Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG) is essential to achieve higher rankings and better lead generation, conversion rate, and customer acquisition through their search results. Given that the great G is king, they build and rebuild these criteria to evaluate websites and determine which ones should be positioned higher than others.
By following these recommendations and considering the latest additions to its now E-E-A-T (“Experience”, “Expertise”, “Authoritativeness”, “Trust”) system of rating websites, you can ensure that your content will not only be considered but also given priority when being evaluated for grading purposes.
If you're looking for a helping hand in getting your online presence in its best shape, contact us here at Julius anytime!
Let's explore how Google's QRGs affect your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and your online marketing campaigns for a better grip on what's going on behind the curtains. Then, we’ll provide some tips on maximizing your chances of getting listed at the top of Google's SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and, lastly, have a look at digital marketing outsourcing alternatives for your online endeavors.
Let's get started!
What's Google's QRG, and how do they affect my online presence?
Google's Quality Rater Guidelines – or QRG for short – is an official document released by themselves to guide how website quality should be evaluated. These standards consider multiple factors, such as content quality, uniqueness, relevance to the topic in question, and user experience.
To ensure that Google assesses webpages appropriately, they have developed a specific system around QRGs where its employees manually evaluate websites against these guidelines.
And how do I abide by these policies, exactly?
When analyzing websites according to Google's guidelines, their raters look at several factors such as:
- The accuracy of information provided.
- The trustworthiness of the website and the content it provides.
- The readability and clarity of text, overall usability, design, and layout.
- Usage of multimedia elements such as videos and images; information hierarchy; the language employed; and more.
Google also checks for accessibility features to ensure that all web pages are available to users with disabilities. Additionally, they consider page loading speed when determining search engine ranking placement.
By following Google's QRGs, businesses can guarantee their websites are optimized for Google searches and offer users a higher-quality browsing experience. This will help them rank higher in search results, which can increase visibility and traffic for their website or blog. In addition, understanding Google's QRGs allows digital marketers to anticipate changes in Google's algorithms to remain one step ahead in terms of SEO.
How does Google evaluate my content and website?
Google checks websites to ensure they are easy to use and have quality content that meets their purpose, which is congruent with what they say it's supposed to be accomplishing. Simultaneously, raters look at composition, vocabulary, loading speed, the accuracy of information, legitimacy, safety, and more. Google does this so that websites show up more often in its search results so people can find them easily.
Moreover, and this detail is of utmost importance, Google looks for evidence of originality when assessing content quality — content should be unique and not plagiarized from other sources. At the same time, raters also consider language usage mastery (text should be written clearly with appropriate grammar).
With this set of parameters, the staff reviews the information hierarchy, assuring navigation is clear and logical so users can easily find what they are looking for without getting lost in the process.
And what did change recently?
A lot, actually. More than what we're focusing our attention on here and we encourage any SEO technician, enthusiast, or professional to dedicate some time to have a read of the document so they stay in tune with these latest additions, which include changes in how Google's raters approach to and identify a webpage's nature, its reason-of-being, the authorship/ownership status and overall quality, safety, security, and reputation.
As we've mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, Google's QRGs has now added a new letter to its well-known acronym E-A-T, which used to stand for "Expertise", "Authoritativeness," and "Trust". As of the publishing of this article, the new letter "E" – responding to the "Experience" value – pretends to reinforce the system in place. At the same time, this condition ends up imposing a new layer of considerations that need your attention if your goal is to stand out in their SERP.
Let's dive deeper into what this evolved E-E-A-T (updated on December 15) system entails and how to use it to our advantage.
Understanding the E-E-A-T system and its purpose
First off, being one of the most discussed topics in the SEO circles, the former E-A-T system used to stand for "Expertise, Authority, and Trust". With this ongoing set of rules and regulations, Google's employees look at websites to certify they have experts talking about the topics they are writing about, that people with authority in their field write them, and that the website can be trusted.
Now, with "Experience" being the new member of the E-A-T family (now E-E-A-T), Google is reinforcing its aim specifically to the "Trust" value of its procedures, locating it at the center of the scheme, which looks like this:
On page 27 of the recently updated document, Google states, "Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem."
With this explanation, it seems clearer the purpose of adding "Experience" to the formula given that an "untrustworthy" website would lack in some or all of the checkmarks in the quality rating process, particularly in how it may or may not offer a knowledgeable, safe, reputable platform for users to engage with.
To comprehend better the axioms followed by Google to establish its E-E-A-T acronym, they have facilitated a table with a concise explanation of all the criteria:
Trustworthiness – A ring to rule them all
As you may have noticed, the table above does not include the "Trust" value Google alleges to be of the utmost significance for the quality rating system to work correctly. But that's for a good reason: defining it at more length further down the line in the document's body.
As per Google's words, "Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family" – statement illustrated in the quote we grabbed and placed earlier in this blog post – because if this condition is not met, the rest of this new system implementation falls apart.
For case in point, Google also says the following:
When it comes to Page Quality rating, your assessment of E-E-A-T should be informed by one or more of the following:
- What the website or content creators say about themselves. Look at the "About us" page on the website or profile page of the content creator as a starting point. Is the website or content creator a trustworthy source based on this information?
- What others say about the website or content creators. Look for independent reviews, references, news articles, and other sources of credible information about the website or content creators. Is there independent, reliable evidence that the website or content creator is experienced, has expertise, is authoritative, or is otherwise considered trustworthy? Is there independent, reliable evidence that the website or creator is untrustworthy?
- What is visible on the page, including the Main Content and sections such as reviews and comments: For some types of pages, the level of experience and expertise may be clear from the MC itself. What evidence can you gather from examining the MC or testing the page out? For example, you may be able to tell that someone is an expert in hair styling by watching a video of them in action (styling someone's hair) and reading others' comments (commenters often highlight expertise or lack thereof).
But what does this mean for my SEO endeavors?
Well, for starters, Google now places more importance on the reputation of a particular website and its creators, according to the type of information they publish – or users of the platform share therein. At the same time, the idea is to determine if the site is congruent with its "mission statement" and its reason-of-being to ensure the quality of the content it provides, whether original or user generated.
Furthermore, the big G is, from this point on, giving more power to the people behind the screens and their impressions of any given webpage. This circumstance means that if the site behooves good independent reviews, references, or mentions in media/credible sources of information, it will be noticed and prioritized in its SERP. In other words, what's authority or expertise good for if they lack the trustworthiness factor beheld by the user experience itself?
There are more changes throughout Google's new set of guidelines concerning other variables that strengthen its strategy, centered around the safety and trust of the end user. However, one that stands out mainly is what Google defines as "Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)" topics of discussion on any website they scrutinize.
These YMYL labels are applied to web pages that offer information about money, health, safety, and other relevant things, which forcefully need to be accurate and honest. Google looks at these kinds of sites very closely so people can trust the information they get from them. Here's a sample of how they apply these tags according to the content provided in a hypothetical scenario:
Given that "some topics could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society", Google states in this related document, "raters apply very high PQ standards for pages on YMYL topics because low-quality pages could potentially negatively impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society".
Experience or Expertise. What's the difference in a YMYL-labeled topic?
This is a bit trickier to understand how Google determines if a webpage is safe and reliable. But fortunately, they have offered a series of examples about how its raters define the nature of the content based on either the Experience of the user or the Expertise of the creator or contributor:
The table above elaborates on the various circumstances in which a website could be considered safe and sound for users. For example, Google alleges that "pages that share first-hand life experience on clear YMYL topics may be considered to have high E-E-A-T as long as the content is trustworthy, safe, and consistent with well-established expert consensus. In contrast, some types of YMYL information and advice must come from experts", the document points out.
In a nutshell, just because the content displayed on a website is not coming from a figure of authority does not equate to being dangerous, misleading, or deceitful. Then again, Google places the trust factor in the middle of the system, which is validated by the perception of safety the users get from it.
How can we comply with this QRG to get the most out of our SEO strategy?
We know. This tide of very technical information can be overwhelming – trust us, it was for us, too! – but it is definitely helpful to appreciate better what Google is going for with its QRG strategy and how we can find common ground to align our online endeavors.
Here are a few tips for you to succeed:
Optimize Your Website
According to Google's QRGs, optimizing a website is essential for businesses that want their website to rank higher on search pages. They evaluate websites and content using a variety of factors, aside from what we've covered so far, taking into account the website's overall quality.
Conduct keyword research for unique, relevant content
Businesses need to conduct keyword research to identify which terms users are searching for when looking for information related to their products and services. This can be done through Google Ads, Google Analytics, or other tools that allow businesses to identify which keywords are popular among their target audience.
Ensure information on your website is accurate
Accurate, up-to-date website information is critical for ranking high in Google searches. QRGs are an excellent tool for ensuring accurate and current information.
Keep track of Google updates using Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is an essential tool for any business looking to improve its SEO rankings. With it, companies can gain valuable insights into their website's performance and make necessary updates to help Google better understand its content.
Creating original content can help businesses stand out from their competitors because Google rewards websites with new and exciting information that meets its QRGs. SEO is also meaningful when creating fresh content, as Google uses keywords to determine which sites are most relevant to specific queries.
Which companies have done this exemplary?
One website that stands out for successfully implementing Google's QRGs is Google itself. They apply a strict policy on providing the best user experience possible, reflected in how Google follows its guidelines to ensure a smooth search engine experience.
Another example of successful SEO implementation for these QRGs can be found in Microsoft's use of structured data. Structured data allows Google to understand a website's content better and rank it more accurately in its SERPS. Microsoft primarily targets topics related to artificial intelligence and machine learning, so they use structured data to help Google understand its content more clearly.
How to outsource content marketing for maximum effectiveness and reach
Outsourcing your content marketing to a company like ours is a great way to ensure that SEO and paid campaign efforts are successful, reaching intended audiences. It gives businesses access to experienced professionals with the know-how necessary to create high-quality content that Google will reward with higher SERP rankings. These professionals understand Google's QRGs and use SEO strategies to ensure content is optimized for Google Search results.
When outsourcing content marketing, consider your budget and the quality of the content you are looking for. It is vital to find professionals who offer competitive rates while providing high-quality content that meets Google's QRGs. Additionally, ensure that the professionals you outsource are knowledgeable about Google's algorithms and SEO best practices. This will help them create content that Google will reward with higher SERP rankings.
Outsourcing content marketing allows businesses to access high-quality content while saving time and resources. This will enable companies to focus their efforts on other aspects of their businesses while maximizing the effectiveness and reach of Google Search results.
To sum up
Google recently changed how it evaluates websites for success, following the E-E-A-T manual rating system centered around a trustworthiness factor. These changes are precisely arranged to prioritize the final user experience and guarantee the reliability of the content displayed on any site that wants to position itself in search results.
By complying with this criterion, Google rewards websites with higher rankings on search engines. So, if you want your website to be successful, you must confirm it follows the guidelines recently updated by Google.
The key takeaway is that Google's QRGs are constantly changing and evolving, so businesses need to stay up-to-date with them to remain successful regarding SEO.
Want to learn more?
That's the spirit! If you want to check out the official document released by Google about their renovated QRG, click here and start planning your strategy for this upcoming 2023. And, while you're on it, why not visit our blog or call us?
We'll be happy to offer you and your company solutions for your digital marketing goings-on.