Quality Rater Guidelines

Manu Magno



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The Quality Rater Guidelines are intended to manually evaluate and improve the quality of Google search results. These are comprehensive guides in the form of questionnaires that the search engine distributes to so-called Search Quality Evaluators (or raters).


Certain Google employees, so-called Quality Raters, are given the Quality Rater Guidelines to manually and objectively evaluate the search queries as well as the corresponding landing pages.

In order to make the search faster and more effective, Google regularly updates its algorithm “Hummingbird”.   Experts estimate that there are around 500 to 600 updates per year, many of which are minimal and hardly noticed. Meanwhile, major updates, such as the Fred, Panda, Penguin or Medic update, can have a lasting impact on SERPs.


The so-called raters should primarily not only check already existing websites, but also indirectly evaluate the efficiency of already existing algorithms with the help of the search results and optimize them with manual checks.

This provides essential data for updates that Google plans several times a year. In order to make the work of the “raters” more uniform and simpler, they are provided with the Quality Rater Guidelines. These cover two broad areas:
– The Page Quality Rating Guideline
– The Utility Rating Guideline.

Relevance for SEO

If you know what the Quality Rater Guidelines say, you can use that for the optimization of your website. However, many aspects of the guidelines already belong to the general knowledge of website optimization. So even with “leaked” variants, hardly any earth-shattering secrets come to light – despite the hype.

The Quality Rater Guidelines:

  • confirm the importance of the search intention
  • show that besides the landing page also the headline and description will be evaluated
  • point out that content freshness is not a generally applicable criterion for ranking
  • show that Google makes a distinction between main content, supplementary content and advertising
  • show that it is becoming more and more essential for the ranking to build up a brand or authority.
  • suggest relying on Wikipedia to leverage your website’s reputation for PQ rating.

Tip: In order to make the work of the Quality Raters easier, you can refer to votes in forums, rating portals or articles in specialist portals on your website.


The Quality Rater Guidelines offer a behind-the-scenes look at how Google Quality Raters work. If you want to understand the Google algorithm better, you should take a look at the guides. If you don’t want to be penalized in future Google updates, you as SEO and/or webmaster should check the Quality Rater Guidelines and make sure that your website offers the user an added value.


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