Who are Google Raters & Why You Should Care
Google Raters Contribute to Algorithm Updates
Google’s search engine operates off a mathematical algorithm. That’s a sentence repeated in hundreds of client calls each year. It’s how we explain to clients what SEO is, and why we take specific actions like tweaking meta data, adding markup to HTML, and fixing page load times.
At the most recent SMX (Search Marketing Expo) experts shared what SEOs need to know about Google’s search quality rating guidelines, created by the search giant for their human screeners.
Google raters are actual people hired by Google to search the web and confirm that the algorithm is working the way it was developed to. In November 2015, Google released the guide that these employees use to determine the quality of search results. The guidelines were updated in March of 2016.
At SMX Advanced, experts in the field of search engine optimization including Jennifer Slegg, Jenny Halasz and Ruth Burr discussed Google’s guidelines and the takeaways for search marketers.
Top SEO Takeaways
Google Raters don’t actually impact search results
This could be good or bad news depending on the quality of your site. If your website’s been around for a while, and still features some black-hat tactics, you’re probably happy to hear that these website whistle blowers can’t actually impact your results. While raters can’t directly impact where you rank, Google uses the intel they provide to update the algorithms so they can catch more offenders.
Online stores get heavily scrutinized
According to the panel, online stores are held to the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) standard, the highest standard there is, because your website could have an impact on a person’s well-being.
You’re Judged on 3 Criteria
Google Raters judge page quality based on three factors that include: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Expertise relates to the webmaster/author and how well they know a specific topic. Authoritativeness relates to the website itself, specifically the “About Us” page. Make sure to update your about section to cover all you provide. When it comes to trustworthiness, looks matter. If your site looks outdated or full of spam links or ads, you might get dinged.
Optimal Search Results
Google is all about providing the best user experience. They want to be confident and convey confidence that they provide the best results for your search. That is why search quality is high on ranking factors. Google raters will look through your site and ask, “Are they giving the searcher what they’re looking for?” Does your website provide answers to the queries your site ranks for? These are important things to consider when planning a content calendar. If your site doesn’t provide the results a searcher is looking for, it’s time to update your content.
If your website isn’t mobile optimized, you’re likely to automatically fail the needs met criteria. Pages that are not mobile optimized are not user friendly. They make it difficult for visitors to find answers or acquire the service/product they’re looking for.
If your website offers a product or service, it’s important to make it easy to find your contact information. Consider adding a Contact us page to your header navigation, not just your footer. Include your phone number, address and at least one email address where consumers can contact you. Google wants to know that visitors can speak with someone who can address their concerns and resolve any issues.
Now that you know Google uses real people to review your website pages, will you incorporate more best practices to your SEO? Share your thoughts below.
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