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Updated Google Search Quality Rater Standards: What has Changed?

The concepts of YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) and the degree to which E-A-T matters as a question of page quality underwent the most important revisions. Google offered fresh, precise criteria of what it meant for content to be YMYL, most of which revolved around how much harm the content may potentially do to people or society. In addition, Google offered a brand-new table with specific examples of what it means for content to be YMYL or not.

In the most recent change to the rules, Google also said that E-A-T is essential above all other characteristics for highly YMYL content. Google said that it was conceivable for otherwise reliable and authoritative websites to contain subpar content.

Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) Topics – Section 2.3

Google drastically changed the way it defines YMYL (Your Money, Your Life). YMYL subjects were divided into the following categories in the previous edition of the Quality Rater Guidelines:

  • News and current events.
  • Civics, government, and law.
  • Finance.
  • Shopping.
  • Health and safety.
  • Groups of people.
  • Other.

Google wiped off these categories entirely. The potential for harm is now used to define YMYL in the updated Quality Rater Guidelines. High-risk subjects can have a big influence on people’s “health, financial stability, or safety, or the welfare or well-being of society.” The person watching the information, other persons impacted by the viewer, groups of people, or society as a whole are all examples of people who may be hurt by YMYL content, according to Google’s definition. This could apply to material that is aggressive, radical, or terrorist.

Google then categorizes YMYL themes as either being detrimental because spreading false information about the issue might be harmful or as being intrinsically hazardous (violent extremism). For instance, giving the customer erroneous advice about heart attacks, investments, or earthquakes might be harmful. Google now requires quality raters to examine YMYL in terms of four sorts of harm YMYL material can do for people or society, as opposed to naming specific categories that may be labeled YMYL, as in earlier editions of the guidelines.

  • Health or safety.
  • Financial security.
  • Society.
  • “Other”.

Another recent change is Google’s assertion that a “hypothetical harmful page” on a non-harmful subject, such as the “physics behind rainbows,” isn’t necessarily YMYL. The content must have the potential to hurt or otherwise have an influence on people’s well-being, according to their amended definition. Another significant change from Google states that many or most subjects are not YMYL since they are unlikely to be harmful.

For the first time, Google also acknowledged that YMYL assessments are conducted on a spectrum. On page 12 of the rules, Google added a new table that precisely outlines the categories of subjects it deems YMYL or not, along with illustrative examples, to explain these new remarks.

Low-Quality Pages – Section 6.0

Google revised its criteria for determining what constitutes a low-quality page. In a prior iteration, Google asserted that a page’s low quality may be caused, in part, by the main content’s author’s potential lack of relevant experience for the page’s intended audience. This sentence was removed.

According to Google, the amount of E-A-T necessary for the page relies entirely on the issue at hand and its intended use. Information about the content providers is not necessary for topics that just need common knowledge.

Google also asserts that a subpar webpage can be found on an otherwise reliable website, such as a government or academic website. YMYL applies to the topic of the page; if the material might hurt the user, quality raters must take that into account while judging the page’s quality.

Lacking Expertise, Authoritativeness, or Trustworthiness (E-A-T) – Section 6.1

In its explanation of what it means to lack E-A-T when deciding if a page is low-quality, Google added a bullet point:

“Informative [primary material] on YMYL themes is slightly false or deceptive.”

Another recent update from Google reiterates that the amount of E-A-T a page needs depends on its goal and subject. E-A-T is important if the page addresses YMYL themes and might potentially hurt the user or others. Even if the website has a good reputation, the page must be evaluated as low quality if there is a high danger of damage.

Lowest Quality Pages – Section 7.0

Google added a new section to the list of “lowest quality pages” to convey the idea that even reliable or knowledgeable sources can include damaging information. It could also feature videos that users have posted. Even if there is information on a website that generally exhibits high quality, if that content is misleading, damaging, unreliable, or spam, that content still warrants a “lowest quality” grade.

Google’s New Document about Search Quality Rater Guidelines

Google created a new resource on the operation of the Search Quality Rater Guidelines in addition to updating the Search Quality Rater Guidelines. This website has parts on how search works, how to make search better, and how to rate search quality.

This paper offers the most thorough exposition to date of the function that Google’s quality raters do in determining how closely Google’s suggested adjustments adhere to Google’s quality standards. Google also explains who the raters are, where they are from, and how the rating system operates.

Why these Changes Matter

Google’s revised Quality Rater Guidelines offer some additional insight into what they hope to accomplish with their algorithm for anyone curious about how they define the terms YMYL and E-A-T. Google urges raters to consider the extent to which material might hurt users rather than considering YMYL in terms of business or content categories.

Google further stated that for many types of information, common knowledge is adequate, but that E-A-T is crucial when the content falls under the category of YMYL (it has the potential to harm people or society, or it might have an impact on one’s financial well-being, health, or safety).