Marketers employing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics may have packed content with irrelevant keywords and information to rank better.
Those days are ending. Google has issued new search quality rater guidelines to improve overall user experience by strictly directing them to relevant content. And helping them find the information they need while bypassing the frivolous and immaterial.
In its new guidelines, Google talks explicitly about two areas. These factors are YMYL pages and E-A-T.
This is an acronym for “your money or your life.” YMYL sites include content that can affect people’s future and long-term health, financial status, safety, and health.
Google’s guidelines have established specific types of pages as YMYL examples.
- Legal information: Divorce, wills, child adoptions, and notaries
- Medication information: Illnesses, symptoms, general health, and nutrition
- Financial information: Health insurance, stocks, investments, and mutual funds
- Financial transactions: Includes banking portals, eCommerce sites, money transfers, and bill payments
- News and public information: Disaster response, laws, government services and policies, social services. Not all news reports are considered YMYL pages, however.
- General information: Vehicle safety, location-specific facts
For YMYL pages to rank high in Google search, they need to have high levels of E-A-T.
This acronym stands for “Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” Google considers web pages filled with useful, fresh, high-quality content to have a high amount of E-A-T.
- Experience or Expertise: Content creators should establish themselves as experts in their niche and as having experience with their industry or subject matter. Include certifications, degrees, and awards prominently on the first page. Use logos when available. Note that Google likes proof of expertise and will reward you with higher rankings for giving it.
- Authority: Even if you know what you are talking about, Google wants you to demonstrate your knowledge through participating in lectures, workshops, and other public events such as seminars. This quality means you can influence others. To establish authority, include testimonials and stories of success and list appearances at public events such as conferences. Try to get endorsements from prominent authoritative figures.
- Trustworthiness: People value honesty. You need to establish yourself as a trustworthy source of valuable information to rank highly in the new guidelines set up by Google’s search engineers. Always include accurate, truthful data in your content. Invite customers and colleagues to review your brand and work.
The more E-A-T pages have, the better they will fare in search results.
In its new quality raters’ guidelines, Google also emphasizes “beneficial purpose.” In other words, web pages must be essential and pertinent to users’ searches to get high search rankings.
What does this mean for content marketing?
Your content should be geared to providing solutions, solving problems, and sharing unique information with internet users rather than filled with tricks to rank higher.
High-ranking but irrelevant web sites turn people off, and now such tactics are in disfavor with Google as well.
Google is now more likely to rank lower pages that potentially deceive readers as well as those spreading harm, hate, and inaccuracies presented as truth.
Google gives sites dealing in misinformation some of the lowest rankings. It is working to shift the nature of the modern internet by doing away with deliberate shock tactics and the spreading of half-truths and lies.
Who Are Quality Raters?
Google offers contracts to around 10,000 people around the globe to work as quality raters. These people evaluate results from actual search assignments Google gives them.
When the top results appear, they rate the quality of those pages using Google’s guidelines.
One rater cannot cause a page to drop instantly in its ranking. Instead, Google uses the data from quality raters to adjust its algorithms and eventually improve search results for users.
Google’s mission is to provide users with only high-quality, relevant web pages related to their searches.
The Future Internet
Google’s changes in the quality raters’ guidelines will not bring about immediate transformation. However, gradually, the nature of the modern internet will change.
The emphasis is on YMYL pages having a high E-A-T level and search results returning lists of strictly relevant, quality sites.
Google is herding out cheap content designed to shock and misinform. Content marketers now need to focus more than ever on filling their web pages with great information that offers interest and real value to users.