Have you heard the news that the Google quality rating guidelines which is essentially a handbook used by Google employees to manually review websites was leaked to the public recently?

The Google quality guidelines handbook gives us some very important clues as to how Google evaluates your quality in terms of:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust
  • Reputation

This forms the basis of the EAT quality concept – that quality websites display expertise, authority and trust, thus creating a solid reputation.

The EAT concept isn’t completely new – we’ve known for the last couple years that Search Visibility is a result of credibility – but some specific points on how Google determines credibility is new.

You can still view the entire 160 page Google Quality Guideline March 2014 document on scribd.com for the time being. If you don’t have time to read through it in its entirety, here are a few major takeaways you may be interested in.

1. Expertise varies by topic.

Each subject area has its own way to qualify as an expert – qualifying as a medical expert is much different than qualifying as a hobby expert.

2. Ads still contribute to low quality.

These new guidelines place a bigger emphasis on advertising, and not just deceptive or spammy advertising above the fold. Raters need to evaluate if there is an overabundance of ads.

3. Supplementary content matters.

Google places a higher emphasis on supplementary content and not just navigation and footer. An example is showing similar makes of an item on an e-commerce site. Overall, supplementary content contributes to a better user experience.

4. Poor page design will hurt you.

Some page design features Google points out as hurtful are popups and inserting ads between content.

5. Each page must have a purpose.

Google will give a low rating to any page that has a lack of purpose. This includes auto generated pages.

6. EAT sites give About and Contact information.

Google’s raters look for signs of credibility on each website which includes an About Us page, contact page, customer service information.

7. Evaluation can be done by the page or by the website.

Google raters are told that sometimes they will need to evaluate based on the whole website whereas

Essentially you need to think of your visitor needs and how you can provide the best experience and give them exactly what they are looking for when they come to your website.

Need help with a Website User Experience Audit? Contact our SEO Team to get started!