The Google search quality raters guidelines were updated and updated in a big way, with a new E added on to E-A-T. Google is adding experience on top of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google said that trust is the most important of all four elements here.
Adding an E, led to the document getting 9 pages bigger, the PDF document is now 176-page PDF from 167-page PDF in July 2022, from 172 pages in 2021 and 175 pages in 2020.
What Changed In The Document
Here is what changed, mostly based on the final page of the revised PDF that documents the changes:
- Double-E-A-T – adding the experience topics to the PDF is the big one (more on “experience” below).
- Google also “broadly refreshed concepts and rating criteria in “Part 1: Page Quality Guideline” to be more explicitly applicable to all types of websites and content creation models.
- Clarified guidance on “Finding Who is Responsible for the Website and Who Created the Content on the Page” for different webpage types.
- Added summary table with the top “Page Quality Considerations” involved in PQ (Page Quality) rating, which carries through to each PQ rating section (Lowest to Highest)
- Refined/expanded guidance on the following core pillars of Page Quality Rating:
- Main Content Quality
- Reputation for Websites and Content Creators
- Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust (E-E-A-T)
- Reordered PQ rating sections from Lowest to Highest; streamlined transitions between these sections; de-duped existing guidance and examples as appropriate
- Added more guidance and clarifications to sections: “Pages with Error Messages or No MC”, “Forums and Q&A Pages”, and “Page Quality Rating FAQs.”
- Reformatted lists of concepts and examples into tables (throughout/as appropriate)
- Minor changes throughout (updated language, examples, and explanations for consistency across sections; removed outdated examples; fixed typos; etc.)
Previous Quality Rater Guidelines
Here are the previous versions, compared to the live version:
- December 15, 2022 PDF download link
- July 28, 2022 PDF download link
- October 19, 2021 PDF download link
- October 14, 2020, PDF download link
- December 5, 2019 PDF download link
- May 16, 2019 PDF download link
- June 20, 2018 PDF download link
More On Experience in E-E-A-T
As I covered on Search Engine Land yesterday, Google said experience adds another level of quality to assess its search results. What is Google looking for with experience? Google said when you write the content, does that “content also demonstrate that it was produced with some degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced?” Google explained that there are “some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has first-hand, life experience on the topic at hand.”
Google shared this example, “if you’re looking for information on how to correctly fill out your tax returns, that’s probably a situation where you want to see content produced by an expert in the field of accounting. But if you’re looking for reviews of a tax preparation software, you might be looking for a different kind of information—maybe it’s a forum discussion from people who have experience with different services.”
Google said in the updated guidelines that Experience, Expertise, and Authoritativeness are important concepts that can support your assessment of trust, with trust being the most important member of E-E-A-T. Google said, “trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem.”
But how does “experience” differ from “expertise?” Google said, “pages that share first-hand life experience on clear YMYL topics may be considered to have high E-E-A-T as long as the content is trustworthy, safe, and consistent with well-established expert consensus. In contrast, some types of YMYL information and advice must come from experts.”
“Pages on YMYL topics can be created for a wide variety of different purposes,” Google wrote. “If the purpose of a page on a clear YMYL topic is to give information or offer advice, a high level of expertise may be required for the page to be trustworthy. However, sometimes pages on YMYL topics are created to share personal experiences, often regarding difficult life challenges. People turn to each other in times of need to share their own experiences, seek comfort or inspiration, and learn from others. Factual information from experts and authoritative sources may not satisfy this need,” Google explained.
Here is the diagram Google created to illustrate this on page 26 of the PDF:
Here is the changelog of sorts from Google (click to enlarge):
Lily Ray did a much deeper dive into her story at Search Engine Land.