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What does Google Look for in a Good Site?


Well if you have been looking into or researching SEO for longer than a week you have probably heard that last week Google released the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Handbook. This handbook has always been a secret that was held close to Google’s vest. Given only to the human quality evaluators.

So, what are these evaluators jobs? Well, even though the search algorithms are getting rather intelligent they still must learn through what is called machine learning. People are unpredictable and although 3 people could be searching for the same thing they could search for it differently. Person A could search “cheap hp laptop”, Person B could search “Where can I buy a budget hp laptop”, and Person C could enter “buy hp entry laptop”. All three people are asking for pretty much the same thing but in completely different ways.

So it starts with what people are searching for. The evaluators are given a parameter of search strings to search and get organic results for. They then look at these sites to determine their exact purposes. They then report these finding to Google so that they can design filters to weed out the websites that should have not ranked for the chosen keywords. So now you know that there is a human element to how the algorithms are implemented.

The rest of the handbook is about website and page quality. It is said in it that if the evaluator cannot figure out the exact purpose of the website that it should receive the lowest possible quality grade. It also spells out exactly what I have been preaching all along:


The handbook teaches the evaluator the difference in site content breaking into Main Content (MC) and Secondary Content (SC) and the importance of both. It is also very heavy on expertise, authoritativeness or trustworthiness (E-A-T). After figuring out what the exact purpose of the site is supposed to be the next step is to actually research the content and the author that wrote said content. If it is found that the author is not experienced in the field the content is about then it will receive a lower grading. Sites dealing in Law, Medicine, Health, and the like where you need hard cold facts are graded more harshly and needs to be written by an expert in the field. If it is found that one of these types of sites was written by John Doe just giving his opinion, the site is to receive the lowest possible quality score.

Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Handbook weighs in at 160 pages of pure goodness. Don’t let this fool you into thinking there is that much content to read however as large sections of the handbook are dedicated to demo sites to teach the evaluator the differences between low – medium – high quality pages and sites. These are very good for everyone to look at to see and learn exactly how Google is wanting sites graded.

Read the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Handbook for yourself and learn what Google has been reluctant to go public with for so many years now. Leave your comments below on what you think of these guidelines and where you think the future of search will lead.  Don’t forget to download the SearchQuality Evaluator Guidelines Handbook

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