Google publishes full Search Quality Rating Guideline

November 20, 2015

In an unprecedented move, Google has published a full comprehensive guide on how to rank well for your chosen keywords.

Once a mystery, the 160-page document published by Google details what Google’s testers believe go into a high-value (and therefore, high ranking) website. Separated into four parts (Page Quality Ranking Guideline, Understanding Mobile User Needs, Needs Met Rating Guideline, and Using the Evaluation Platform) and with more than 30 chapters and sub chapters, the document is an in-depth behemoth that will no doubt be a reference point for every major SEO firm on Earth.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the “How to rank higher” checkbox cheat-sheet that businesses have always hoped for. Instead, Google uses the guide to define what the purpose of a webpage is, and what goes into a high quality page. However, within each chapter lie a number of helpful tips.

For instance, in the chapter “Characteristics of High Quality Pages,” we’re told that a satisfying amount of website-relevant information, a functional page design, and a satisfying level of “main content” that’s ultra relevant to your chosen keyword will score the best rankings.

This, of course, isn’t exactly “bran new” news, but getting the exact details and examples of high-quality webpages from Google itself is too valuable to pass up.

There’s too much raw information in the full report to even publish here, but we’ve provided a quick rundown for you below.

Google’s (formerly) Top-Secret Ranking Factors

  • The primary takeaway from this document is the importance of user-experience in the overall evaluation of a site. Testers are told that they must “represent a user” and flag when sites give them any sort of difficulty or block them from gaining a full understanding of the page.
  • A high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT) from your site and related sites gives Google a reason to trust any of your given pages with a high ranking.
  • Association with Low Quality Pages with harmful or malicious intent will tank your overall quality score. Even linking to “abandoned” pages or “deceptive” pages with not a lot of content will make you seem more shady in comparison.
  • Catering to the needs of mobile users is more important than ever. Your site is rated on a number of factors to determine how well mobile viewers can access your site.
  • All pornography and foreign pages are flagged specifically to limit results when searched.
  • All content must cater to the needs of the searcher. To ensure this, each page is rated on a five-point scale depending on if the page “Fully Meets” the needs of the searcher, or if the page “Fails to Meet”

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