Google has Updated its Quality Rater Guidelines

Jenna Lamb, online marketing analyst at Ontario SEO
Jenna Lamb
November 15, 2021
Google Updates to the Quality Rater Guidelines

Here’s What You Need to Know

Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG) are used by human evaluators to manually evaluate websites and Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The feedback from the evaluations using QRG is used to improve search results.

Google made five changes to their QRG guidelines in Fall 2021. The changes don’t affect search rankings however they do give insights into what Google considers quality content.

1. Definition of ‘Groups of people’ in the YMYL category has changed

Google’s definition of YMYL (Your Life, Your Money) use to solely define “groups of people” as information including “race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.”

Google has broadened its definition of “groups of people” to now include caste, sex/gender and gender expression, those associated with discrimination or marginalization, immigration status, and victims of violent crime and their relatives.

2. Changes in how to research reputational information

In the guidelines to evaluators, Google has revised its language to recognize stores have consumer feedback or user ratings that can be used to establish expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Now a store with lots of detailed reviews can be considered for a positive evaluation. This makes it even more important to encourage users to leave reviews.

3. Lowest page quality

There were a lot of changes to how Google calculates lowest page quality. Perhaps the most important change to the QRG’s lowest page quality information is the enhanced definitions of what causes harm, spreads hate or misinforms users.

The definition now emphasizes:

  • Doxx users (sharing personal information with malicious intent), 
  • Instructions on committing suicide or homicide, or offensive or dehumanizing stereotypes, 
  • Harmful content and unsubstantiated theories easily refuted by widely accepted facts. 

4. Simplified definition of Upsetting-Offensive

Google did a complete rewrite on its definition of Upsetting-Offensive content. Briefly, they took out the redundancies from the Low Page Quality directions and made the definition more concise. Basically, if content is considered upsetting or offensive in the user’s location, then it is Upsetting-Offensive.

5. Other minor updates to the Quality Rater Guidelines

Google’s other changes include things like removing spelling mistakes, refreshing the language so it’s clearer, updating images and more so the guidelines are more easily used by evaluators.

Why should you care?

Understanding what’s going on with Google can help you create more effective content for your website. Knowing evaluators are looking at your content from the lens of expertise, authority and trustworthiness can inform how and what you include in your website.

Need to know how E-A-T and these Google changes impacts you and your business?