After looking over this “leaked” 160 page document Google created, I realized what was recently impossible was now possible.
Google could now see everything. Not just code, but images, design, and video.
Just in case you don’t know already, Google has created a rated system for their team to actually go through search results and rate what they see. So now, you no longer have robots just reading code, you have real human eyes looking at design as well.
Search Engine Land has a page of past leaked documents along with the newest here from Google concerning this new system.
The rating scale that the raters use will look like this:
It’s a basic scale of 9 selections for the raters to select after viewing your site. Which in fact could effect for the better or the worst concerning your site.
But how do they determine such selections?
How the ratings work:
For once, design (mentioned 100 times in the document) could have an impact on your SEO. That’s the biggest takeaway. No longer is bounce rate the only conclusion that your site looks awful. Actual humans will judge if your site is currently being updated in every way. The 90’s looks won’t always hurt you, but it’s a consideration when being rated.
See here on page 36:
Sometimes, amateur websites have less professional looking page design. A page that looks like it was created in the 1990s is OK if the page is functional for its purpose. -Google
Not taking pride in your design could be a major knock to your site, including the mobile ability of your site. Google is still letting non-mobile sites (locally at least) slip by in some situations, but if these raters stick with the new guidelines, those sites will be knocked back according to Google.
Ratings is still a big deal I see for local businesses. If you’re getting bad reviews often and you rank high, you won’t for long. If your ratings are really good, and you’re not ranking yet (which I’ve many times), the glory days maybe ahead.
If you’re writing just for the sake of it, and your content is thin, this could pull rankings down also. If you’re answering questions and the content you have there isn’t “satisfying” this could result in knocking down your position.
One thing we don’t know
Something that this document didn’t answer was the power of the rating system. Like for instance, if a rater gives you a bad rating, does this automatically hurt your position or does it take many raters (which I image it would) to make an impact? Does the power of their rating override the current Google algorithms? Or does the rating system just become another factor among the other 500 factors Google has in the algorithm system? This I haven’t really found the answer to, and I don’t think we ever will. Google likes to keep some things on the low and some things will never be leaked. 🙂
Here are the factors I found to be most important for your site:
-Maintained Site (With recent edits)
-Lots Of Information Per Page
-No Broken Links
-More Content Than Ads (Your focus should be content not ads)
-Not Keyword stuffed
-A Contact Page Is A Must
-Correct Grammar (See page 1, 38 for examples)
-Backlinks is still very important. No mention of this was in the document. That’s because design and user experience is the focus of the rater team.
How to prepare for new guidelines
To be honest, this doesn’t affect those who optimized their site the correct way in the beginning. Only new thing now is to remember that Google has “real eyes” to see with.
They’re watching to see if you copy content and just tweaked it a little bit. They’re actually looking at the design of your site and if it’s easy on the eyes. These raters are looking to see if you are original and creative. That’s the basics of all this.
Video was mentioned over 80 times in this PDF. So now Google can tell if that video is actually helpful to the keywords you put in.
Most understood the power of Youtube and used it for SEO. The Youtube search engine didn’t have “eyes” years ago and based rankings on things such as competition, backlinks, likes, bounce rate and interaction.
Now creativity within your video can actually be considered a factor now. If the majority votes agree that you’re original, you have this factor on your side.
The Basics Of All This
Be the best in your niche. Be legit, and serve people the best way you know how. Do your research and go out your way to really “wow” people. SEO is still great to learn and is not out of sight for a long time. Ultimately though, Search Engine Gurus must face their fear, and that’s to be more than tweakers. Instead they must create, and really make every action count.