For the first time, Google have released their search quality rating guidelines to the public.
Although we have seen similar versions of this document leaked before (last in 2012), this is the first time ever that Google has made all 160 pages of this manual freely-available to the public.
For those of us who are dedicated SEO, this just helps to confirm many of the factors that we already consider in our SEO services and we intend to summarise some of the interesting points over the space of the next few months for our readers. To read the full guidelines for yourself visit:
Google has said that this guide is used by Google’s “Search Quality Evaluators,” however it is only currently used to help the team understand their experiments. It is not used as a guide to manual action or web spam prevention. We still take a lot of notice of these guidelines, because these guidelines reflect what Google thinks their users want.
Google’s Mimi Underwood implied Google will keep the document updated over time, as they are constantly refreshing it “as search, and how people use it, changes.”
So why would Google release their search algorithm?
It’s an unusual move for Google to release this publicly, but by doing this, they level the playing field and it reduces the need for anyone to steal this information or access it “illegally.”
It is also clear that this guide is heavily focused on content quality and user experience – there is almost no mention of off-site SEO. It’s clear that Google is striving to improve the quality of content on the web and telling us that we should be focused on content before link schemes. Google is aiming to push us towards more natural off-site SEO.