A practical guide to website SEO from Google!
Much of what we know about Search Engine Optimization is learned by employing the principles of reverse-engineering. We see the end result of decisions made by search engines, and then try to dissect the factors that are responsible for it. Search engines (and in particular, Google) do not reveal all of the factors that go into their website ranking decisions. That 'secret sauce' has remained largely secret.
What if you had a document that gave an insider's view into how search engines rate your website? Well, now you do! Google has released (for the first time) the full version of its Search Quality Rating Guidelines. This is a 160 page PDF document that helps Google Search Quality Raters accurately apply Google's quality standards as they rate websites in Google search results.
What is a Google Search Quality Rater?
A Google Search Quality Rater is employed to rate the quality of Google's search results. Their work helps Google to fine tune the algorithms that generate search results. Typically, Search Quality Raters are sub-contracted worldwide on a part-time basis. They visit websites provided by search results in Google and make a site by site rating based on standards set by Google.
How Search Quality Rating Guidelines Can Help Your Website
What this document does, most importantly, is define the standards of high quality, medium quality, and poor quality websites from Google's own mouth. It tells a Search Quality Rater exactly what to look for in making these judgments.
You can use this guide to rate your own website. Does it have all of the features and attributes expected in a high quality website? For example, I learned from Chapter 4.1 of the Search Quality Rating Guidelines that a High Quality website should have About Us, Contact, or Customer Service pages. It should make clear who is responsible for content and maintenance of the website. Does your (and my) website have that? This document comes with an added bonus. It provides Google's search quality guidelines for Mobile websites as well!
By evaluating your website with this guide as your standard, you may find ways to potentially strengthen its ranking in Google. That is not, of course, the intent of this guide. But it certainly is one of the best means we have to tap into what Google search algorithm 'thinks' of our website and to effect that opinion.
This is a publicly available download from Google. If you are a savvy website owner who wants to build a website to the highest SEO standards, then this is for you!