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Understanding Google Search Quality Ratings and Why They Matter for a Business’ Website

Woman using laptop to review search quality ratings

Search engines like Google have a tough job of trying to deliver the most useful and relevant results from all over the internet to its users. A huge part of how they establish a hierarchy for delivering those results is search quality ratings. These ratings are extremely important to the SEO and discoverability of a business’s website. We’ll discuss what search quality ratings are, why they’re important, and the metrics behind these important numbers.

What Are Search Quality Ratings

Google works with over 16,000 external search quality raters to determine the search quality of a page or website. These raters examine the quality of results for internet searches to determine if the results are relevant and/or useful for users. These quality ratings are important for Google and other search engines because they ensure they function optimally. If search engines failed to provide relevant and useful results, people would stop using them.

Why a High Page Quality Matters

On the simple side, providing a high-quality web page means you are providing users with a quality experience on your website. However, that search quality is also an important metric for how Google generates search results. Pages with high quality will be given priority in search results, while those with low or failing quality will be delisted from searches entirely. Considering that Google still provides over 83% of all internet searches, it’s a serious concern if your pages aren’t being listed. Ensuring you meet Google’s quality expectations means that your website is optimized for search engines and is discoverable.

How Google Defines Search Quality

Since it works with so many quality raters, Google provides a thorough, 176-page document explaining how search should function and what kind of results should be returned for an acceptable quality. There are certain major criteria that search quality raters consider when determining the quality of a page: purpose, content, and its EEAT.

A Page’s Purpose

First, raters consider why the page was created and what is its main job is. They want to determine whether it does this job in a way that is beneficial for those accessing the page. Some of the main beneficial functions are sharing information or content, expressing an expert perspective, providing a place for others to share points of view, selling products or services, and entertainment.

A Page’s Content

When considering search quality, Google divides a web page’s content into three groups: main content, supplementary content, and ad content. 

  • Main Content is any of the content that is central to the page accomplishing its purpose. That will be the articles or the entire article itself on a blog page. On a business page, that main content could be services with descriptions or products with images and prices. This main content is a huge component of the quality rating. 
  • Supplementary content is anything that improves or aids the user’s experience. These can include navigation aids, links to articles or other pages, or even comment or review sections. If designed well, they add to a page’s overall rating; if designed poorly, they will reduce it. 
  • Ad content is any kind of content that is sponsored. These are less typical on business and nonprofit sites, but they are still a key part of the quality rating. Even if you did not make the advertisements, their quality will affect your page’s rating if the raters find them excessive, obtrusive, deceptive, or distracting.

The EEAT Rating

Google has search quality raters who consider a page’s experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust (EEAT) for its content and purpose. The major search engine puts special emphasis on that last one: trust. To determine the EEAT of a web page, raters need to consider the knowledge of the content’s creator(s) and the reputation of the website’s owner(s). This metric is especially important for pages that Google defines as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) pages. These are web pages whose purpose or content can impact a person’s or society’s health, financial stability, or safety and well-being. Google considers these pages important and has search quality raters subject them to high scrutiny. Their EEAT rating needs to be thoroughly validated to obtain a high-quality ranking.

The Research for Quality Starts with Your Website

Search quality raters can conduct some thorough research to verify a page’s EEAT. To determine your website’s reputation and expertise, raters will search through the website for pertinent information. This will include information about your business, its owners, and staff, and look for any contact information to further verify the page’s credibility. As a result, these are all important things to include on your website in an “About” and “Contact Us” page.

Quality raters will similarly research any named creators of the content. That includes reading reviews about the website or business. The rater will also research whether the business or website is recommended by experts, mentioned in news articles, or has received any awards. Again, including or linking that information on your website will help make the rating process easier and increase your business’ trustworthiness for both quality raters and prospective customers/clients.

Designing for Quality

Search quality ratings are vital to your website’s SEO, which is why you want to design a website with high-quality pages. Without suitable page purposes, quality content, and a good EEAT rating, pages can remain undiscoverable. A poor-quality rating will severely reduce a business’ discoverability since many pages on a website are designed for SEO to increase discoverability. This is especially why blogs on websites need to be well-written and accurate. Their content needs to meet quality standards, or it will begin to negatively impact the reputation and trustworthiness of a website and overall decrease its quality rating. If you’re interested in improving the quality of your web pages or designing an entirely new quality websitecontact us at Rosewood Marketing.

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