SEO Tips from Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

How often do you switch to Google for a search daily? And do you trust the results it offers you?
Well, 65% of users completely trust search engine results when searching about a business or other information.
Google is aware and strives to deliver the most valuable and authentic results to users.
Additionally, it always spares no effort to answer the user queries quickly.
It understands the impact of search results on a user’s decision-making process. And therefore, it consistently optimizes its algorithm to deliver the best search experience.
To evaluate its algorithm, Google employs over 10,000 search quality raters worldwide. And here is where Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines marks its eminence.

What are Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines?

As aforementioned, a team of over 10,000 people works as “search quality raters” for Google.
(i) These raters work from across the globe and evaluate Google’s search results manually.
(ii) They conduct searches on the actual queries that occur online.
(iii) And then assess the quality of search results that Google’s algorithm offers.

Now, the assessment parameters these ‘quality raters’ follow may vary. And so, Google offers them a standard set of guidelines or parameters to follow while rating the results.
These guidelines are known as Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines (Google’s QRG).

  • Every quality rater rates the results on a scale from high to low based on the QRG document.
  • However, these ratings have no direct impact on a page’s ranking on the Google results page.
  • Instead, these rating data inform and bring change to Google’s ranking algorithm.

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines include factors that Google wishes to add as ranking factors to its algorithm.
For example:
Even if a page gets low ratings based on a factor, its rankings will remain unaltered. However, when Google considers this factor in its algorithm, all the websites rating low for this factor will witness an impact.
So, the factors in the 170-pages QRG document indirectly impact your rankings. And you can analyze it to make your SEO aligned with future algorithm updates.

Top SEO Tips from Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

Before we study the SEO tips, it is essential to know that the QRG document pays priority focus to YMYL pages. Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages are web pages that can impact your wealth or your life.
The pages that let users make monetary decisions are considered YMYL pages. Moneycontrol, the stocks, and shares news website is an example.
The types of pages that fall under the YMYL category include:

  • Financial transaction pages: They allow you to pay bills or transfer money online.
  • Financial information pages: They offer financial advice to users. These can include tax consultation, investment planning, insurance & home loan deals, etc.
  • Ecommerce and shopping pages: These pages impact a user’s monetary decision and fall under the YMYL category.
  • Medical information pages: It includes all pages offering medical or health-related information.
  • Legal Information pages: They offer legal advice or information to users. It can include information related to divorce, trademark, immigration, legal property, etc.
  • Other YMYL pages: Pages like home security advice, child adoption info, etc., also fall under the YMYL category.

So, if your website falls under the YMYL category, you must take good heed to the following SEO tips.

1. Enhance your E-A-T Score

E-A-T score is the abbreviation of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust.
It’s confirmed by Danny Sullivan, the search engine adviser at Google.
When Google checks the quality rating of a website, E-A-T becomes a crucial factor.
Some may debate, but E-A-T is already a considerable ranking signal. And it is likely to become a more influential ranking signal in the future. So, enhancing your E-A-T score is more than a choice but a requisite.


The expertise of a webpage is relevant to the expertise of the author of the page’s content. When raters assess your webpage, they have instructions to check the author’s background.
The raters can contain the author’s presence on the web and social media. They tend to check the other content pieces created by the author on the same or other sites.
The author must have more content contributions in the same niche. The goal is to find if the author is an expert in that particular field.
You can optimize your page expertise by adding their clickable author profiles to it. Moreover, you can add links to other content contributions from the author in his profile.

Related : Legit Ways to Earn Backlinks to Your Site

You can also ask the authors to keep their public and social profiles updated. It would reflect on your page expertise.


Google’s QRG document mentions authoritativeness as a significant quality rating factor. Raters check the authoritativeness based on the content’s authority and the site authority.
You can optimize the authoritativeness of your webpage by:

  • Drawing significant number of high-quality links to your domain
  • Backing your content with references and citations from reputed sites
  • Getting brand mentions with a positive social proof
  • Producing content that is per facts


The QRG document lists clear instructions for the raters to assess the trustworthiness of sites. The instructions are more precise for YMYL and Ecommerce sites. These sites must display more prominent trust value as they promote life-altering decisions.
Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines lists crucial trustworthiness indicators like:

  • Transparent customer service pages: Sites with transparent customer service pages and policies are more trustworthy. You must include pages like - contact page, support, return policy, delivery tracking, privacy policy, etc.
  • Social Proof and Engagement: A site with trust signals like badges, user engagement, and reviews score higher ratings. You must encourage user reviews, add trust badges, and boost engagement on your site. You can also establish feedback and loyalty programs.
  • SSL Certificate: Your website must be HTTPS instead of HTTP. It becomes more crucial when your site handles personal data or processes payments.

Rank Your Website

2. Manage your Online Reputation

Another parameter that holds a prominent focus in the QRG document is online reputation. Google instructs the quality raters to scrutinize the reputation of the site on which the page dwells.
So, the raters check the mentions about the site all over the web and social profiles. They check the business directories, reviews, Wikipedia mentions, news & media, etc.
Below are the major strategies the most successful business performs to have a great online reputation.
Therefore, it is advisable to include online reputation management in your SEO strategy. Here are a few main areas to look into:

2.1 Grow Positive Brand Mentions

Positive brand mentions are good for your business reputation online. You can use reputation management tools to track your brand mentions. You can curtail the negative brand mentions strategically or by growing positive mentions.
Awario is the best freemium tool in the market that notifies your brand mention anywhere on the web.
Try connecting with reputable news sites and famous bloggers who could give you mentions. And maybe they can give you high-quality backlinks to your site.

2.2 Manage Google My Business Page Reviews

While Google’s algorithm cannot scrutinize user reviews on 3rd party review sites, it uses GMB. Google My Business is Google’s proprietary business listing platform, so the algorithm uses it.
A local business with a detailed listing and great reviews on GMB can make it to the local 3-pack. So, your GMB listing and reviews have a role to play in your reputation and rankings.

2.3 Your PageRank Score Represents Your Site Reputation

Google’s PageRank assesses a site’s reputation based on the number of quality backlinks it earns. Unlike other factors, PageRank does not depend upon the reviews from other sites or users.
Instead, it mainly depends upon the number and quality of links. So, it is easier to gather authority and grow a reputation through link-building tactics.

Related : Tips to Boost Your Reputation Using SEO

3. Produce Quality Content

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines acknowledge the efforts that go into creating good content. And it instructs raters to consider content quality a crucial metric for ratings.
This indicators the raters need to follow to rate a content copy’s quality include:

3.1 Uniqueness and Originality of a Content

As per the QRG, unique content or one-of-a-kind content has the highest quality score.

  • It means that the writer used his exclusive data without replicating any other content piece.
  • It can be a survey insight, a detailed personal experience, a unique service or product info, etc.

Even if the content is not unique, make sure you have your original take on the topic.
Use free plagiarism checker tools Quetext, Grammarly, or others to ensure it’s not duplicated.
You might use a topic based on your audiences’ interest but maintain your originality. You should make sure that your content adds a unique significant value to a topic.

3.2 Grammar and Readability

We know that there is no previous reference to grammar as a ranking factor.
However, the QRG document has multiple references to grammar and punctuation. It instructs the raters to assess the sentence structure, grammar, word choices, etc.
With that said, it is advisable to proofread your content before publishing.

3.3 Citations and Facts

A crucial indicator of content quality is its factual accuracy. This parameter holds higher importance when assessing results for YMYL pages. Any use of false claims, biased opinions, or conspiracy theories will ruin the quality of the content.
Make sure you deliver factual accuracy and add sources to back up your content.

4. Do Not Overdo Advertising

Google’s Quality Rate Guidelines acknowledge the importance of ads for success online. However, excessive advertising can ruin the ratings of a webpage. Here are some examples of ads that attract low ratings:

4.1 Ads that Blends to Look as a Part of the Original Page

Raters will penalize pages that have ads indistinguishable from the page’s content. These ads are misleading, and users may click on the ads unknowingly.

4.2 Using Ads Images and Titles as Clickbait

Some low-quality pages bombard users with ads that show graphic images and flaming titles. Raters penalize these types of pages in the form of low ratings.

4.3 Ads Hindering Page Visibility and Readability

The QRG document tells raters to give low ratings to pages with ads that block the page-view. Intruding popup ads with no cancellation functionality also negatively impact page quality.
The right tip is to limit the use of ads on a page to dedicated sections. And allow only ethical advertising.

5. Optimize for the “Needs Met” Category

While Needs Met is not a direct SEO ranking factor, the QRG document gives it significant heed. It equates to a result’s true value and whether a result meets the searcher’s need.
The raters rate search results from “Highly Meets” to “Fails to Meet” ratings. Google’s QRG also mentions Needs Met indicators like:

5.1 Relevancy to the Search Query

A search result that exactly matches a user’s query falls under the “Highly Meets” category. It should match the actual intent of the user’s search query. Moreover, the content on the page should suffice the user’s need in an efficient way.
An SEO recommendation is to use LSI and long-tail keywords in the content to make it more relevant.
The use of a clear page title with a focus keyword ensures you score a “Highly Meets” rating. The use of long-tail keywords in meta tags also allows you to rank for relevant searches.
A website may keyword-stuff the title just to rank for specific irrelevant queries. In this case, the raters will find your page content not suitable for the user’s query. And they will mark your page result as “Fails to Meet.”

5.2 Accuracy of the Featured Snippet Result

If the featured snippet ranks for a user’s query, raters need to check the snippet’s content.
The featured snippets are quick answers to the user’s query, like the example below.
If the snippet’s content suitably answers the user’s query, raters rate it as “Highly Meets.”
However, if the user doesn’t get an adequate answer from the featured snippet, he will have to click on the result link or try other results. Raters will check it manually and give a low rating to such featured results.

6. Define your Page’s Purpose with Satisfactory Content

Another notable SEO tip from the QRG document is offering enough content on a page.
According to Google’s QRG, a content page doesn’t meet its purpose until it offers satisfactory content. This satisfactory content may vary according to the specific purpose of the page.
Based on this parameter, raters can mark a page as low-quality or high-quality.

For example,

If you create a page to list a small and common service, the satisfactory content can include:

  • The description of the service
  • Relevant image
  • Your quote
  • CTA to book your service

However, if you offer a premium service, the satisfactory content would include:

  • The description of the service
  • Various inclusions and feature list
  • Relevant images and maybe a demo video
  • Your USP points
  • CTA to book a consultation
  • CTA to directly book the service
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Associated Policy Documents

So, you need to make sure that you add a satisfactory amount of content to your page. It will affect your ratings as well as conversion rate. And if this factor makes it to Google’s ranking algorithm, it will impact your rankings.

Rank Your Website

7. Make Sure Your Site Appeals to Mobile Users

Google makes it clear in its QRG document that mobile-friendliness is a must for high ratings. And all the pages that aren’t mobile-friendly are worth the lowest ratings.
Google has been mentioning it repeatedly that it values the mobile usability of a site. And Google’s algorithm already includes mobile-first as a significant ranking factor.
To further press on its importance, Google now conducts rating tests on mobile devices.
As per Statista, it’s forecasted that mobile users worldwide will grow beyond 2 billion by 2040.
Google considers the fact that mobile traffic has overtaken web traffic. And it makes sure that mobile users enjoy the best search experience on its platform.
So, if your site doesn’t offer a suitable experience to mobile users, it will gather the lowest rating. With this, mobile-friendliness is a factor that directly impacts your search rankings. It would be best to optimize your site for mobile devices without further ado.

8. Gear Up for a Suitable Search Result Snippet for your Page

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines instructs the raters to assess the search result snippets. And it offers clear guidelines on the indicators to rate the appearance of search results. These indicators include:

8.1 Clear and Relevant Meta Title

The raters assess the relevancy of the meta title with the page’s content. You must keep your meta title descriptive enough to show the intent of the page. Moreover, adding your focus keyword to the title makes it more SEO-friendly.
Here’s how the meta titles look in the Google SERPs.
A meta-title that is promotional, shocking, or used as a clickbait, will rate the lowest.

8.2 Highly-relevant Search Result Snippet:

Raters will rate a search result snippet the highest if it represents the page intent. So, the best SEO practice is to add highly relevant titles and descriptions as meta tags.
The user should get a clear idea of what he will witness on the page once he clicks the result.
You can also use suitable schema markups to make the snippet look more precise.

9. Check and Update Your Site’s Functionality and Data

At any point, if your site fails to serve its purpose, it is no longer valuable. And Google’s QRG instructs the raters to give the lowest ratings to such sites. The QRG document also mentions the criterion that raters must scrutinize:

9.1 The Functionality of the Site

The QRG document mentions that a site that has functionality errors is invaluable to users. And if a user is not able to finish his requirements through the site.
These sites score the lowest ratings. And so, you must check the functionality of your site and manage it regularly.

9.2 Data or Content on the Site

If the nature of your site’s content is such that users visit it for the latest information, you must update it regularly.
In the below image, fortunately, a website is ranking on SERPs, but the title says the content is old. As per Google QRG, Google will move the result from the SERPs sooner or later.
Any such sites that still show old information may confuse and mislead a user. And so, the raters have instructions to rate such sites as low-quality sites.
It is advisable to update your content, images, concepts, trends, etc., regularly.
Except for SEO advantage, this is highly crucial for the user experience of your website.

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines FAQs

Q1. What Do You Understand by Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines?

Google consistently works on improving the quality of its search results. Following the same mission, Google hires evaluators who could evaluate and rate its results.
These evaluators or search quality raters conduct searches on real search queries. And they manually evaluate the quality of the results that appear on Google result pages.
However, Google keeps the rating criteria uniform and practical. Thus it offers a certain set of instructions to the raters. This 170-page instructions document is known as Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines.
The rating parameters that Google lists in the QRG document might bring an update in its ranking algorithm.

Q2. Does Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines Affect My Site’s Search Rankings?

Google’s aim with Search Quality Rating is to optimize its rating algorithm. And the rating data does not influence the individual rankings of a page directly.
For example:
Assume that your website gets low ratings from a rater owing to bulk ads on the page. Now, this will not affect your current rankings even if Google is aware. However, if Google includes this parameter as a ranking signal in its algorithm, it will affect all the sites rating low for this parameter.

Q3. What Role does E-A-T Algorithm Play in Page Quality Ratings?

E-A-T or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness are crucial page quality attributes for Google. Google instructs raters to use these attributes to rate the quality of the search results.
The YMYL websites are crucially scrutinized as per EAT guidelines to see how authentic the site is and the information it offers to users. Most SEO experts have suggested adding author bios and their social profiles to prove subject matter expertise on the site. To explain EAT explicitly,
Expertise: It equates to the expertise of the author of the page’s content. The raters manually assess the author’s expertise to rate the page expertise.
Authoritativeness: It equates to the authority of the content and the main domain. The raters evaluate the authoritativeness through backlinks quality, citations, and mentions.
Trustworthiness: It equates to the trust factors on a page and the transparency it offers to users. The raters evaluate the page for factors like – customer service pages, return policies, trust badges, support, etc.

Q4. Does Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines Offer Any SEO Tips?

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines include factors that Google wishes to integrate into the ranking algorithm updates. And it will do so once the raters help it find the correct weightage for these factors.
So, the QRG document hints at SEO tips that will help you preserve or grow your ranks even after algorithm updates.

Key Takeaways

  • Optimize for E-A-T algorithm
  • Grow page authority with backlinks and quality citations
  • Offer transparent customer service information, and make your site HTTPS
  • Encourage positive reviews on GMB and brand mentions
  • Focus on improving your content quality and originality
  • Make sure ads doesn’t hamper your page’s user-experience
  • Produce relevant and descriptive page title and description
  • Improve the mobile experience of your site
  • Add a satisfactory amount of content to serve a page’s purpose
  • Try to improve the relevancy of your preview snippet with the search query

Get in touch with us to know more about Google search quality raters guidelines and SEO.

Rank Your Website