Google Announces 5 New Revisions to the Quality Rater Guidelines

Google recently released an updated version of its Quality Rater Guidelines, with five important revisions. These extensive guidelines are used by third-party search quality raters to rate websites and provide Google with feedback. This feedback is what influences Google algorithm updates. However, it does not directly impact search result rankings.

There are five major changes in this year’s Quality Rater Guidelines, which are as follows.

  1. ‘Groups of People’ Definition

The definition of ‘Groups of People’ in the YMYL category has been expanded. The previous definition stated that ‘Groups of People’ included information regarding race or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, and veteran status. While this information is still included in the definition, the following has been added in the 2021 update:

  • Caste
  • Gender expression
  • Immigration status
  • Victims of a major violent event and their kin
  • Any other characteristic associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization
  1. How to Research Reputation Information Guidelines

The guidelines for how to research reputation information have undergone various changes such as:

  • The statement that the user ratings for “stores” can provide reputation information has been updated to “websites”
  • The guideline that a significant amount of “detailed, trustworthy, positive” reviews can function as evidence of a good reputation has been added
  • The guideline that articles that provide biographical information about authors/content creators can be used as a source of reputation information has been added
  • The statement that reputation research is necessary “for all websites” has been modified to “to the extent that an established reputation can be found”
  1. ‘Lowest Page Quality’ Section

The ‘Lowest Page Quality’ section underwent substantial changes in regard to how Lowest Page quality is calculated. Primarily, these changes included an expansion of definitions and an inclusion of additional examples for when a page engages in spreading misinformation, spreading hate, and/or harming others. Some of these additions include:

  • Content that provides information on how to commit suicide or homicide
  • Websites that share sensitive personal identification information
  • Harmful unfounded theories or claims
  1. ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ Definition

The definition of ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ has been simplified. It still states that content is considered ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ if the typical user of that locale would find it upsetting or offensive. However, the statement following that—”even if the result satisfies the user intent”—was removed.

  1. Minor Changes Throughout the Guidelines

Along with the aforementioned edits, additional small changes were made throughout the guidelines, such as:

  • Updated screenshots
  • Updated URLs
  • Improved wording
  • Fixed typos

The Importance of the Quality Rater Guidelines and its Updates

The Quality Rater Guidelines are important as they reveal the various factors that Google uses to determine the quality of content. Additionally, the revisions to these guidelines are indicative of the possible changes Google may make to the algorithm in the near future. Overall, the information provided in the QRG and its revisions can help marketers to optimize their content, as long as they know where to look.