Google Page Quality Rating Guidelines

Google Page Quality Rating GuidelinesGoogle Page Quality Rating Guidelines

Google uses search quality raters following their rating system guidelines to assign a Page Quality (PQ) rating and a Needs Met (NM) rating to individual web pages.

The ratings are used to evaluate and improve search engine algorithm quality to give results that are the most relevant and helpful for search engine users in their language and location.

Different websites and web pages have different purposes. The Page Quality rating evaluates how well the page achieves its beneficial purpose.  The type of page does not determine the PQ rating.

Google has written a 167-page training manual, with about 60 pages of page quality rating guidelines including screenshot examples in their search quality rating guidelines. This article is a short summary version quality control guide for use by webmasters, editors, writers, bloggers, content creators, forum members, and moderators.

These contributors can follow page quality rating guidelines to create, edit, moderate and maintain high-quality or highest-quality content and web pages to improve ranking on a search engine results page (SERP) and to create a positive user experience (UX).

They can also avoid publishing, allowing or approving content rated medium-quality, low-quality or lowest-quality that creates a neutral, negative or harmful user experience.

Web Page Purpose

There are many types of web content publishers including individuals, hobbyists, self-employed/sole proprietors, small/medium/large businesses, educational/religious/political/non-profit institutions, local/state/federal governments and agencies, military, and local/state/national/international organizations.

The primary purpose of a web page should be to help users. Include a navigation menu, weblink or logo for the user to easily return to the home page.

A helpful or beneficial purpose could be to share research, information or news on a topic, share personal, family or social information, share or view photos, videos, or other media, express an opinion, entertainment, buy or sell products, information or services, allow users to post reviews, questions, answers, and comments, allow users to share or download files or software, or provide useful tools.

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Pages

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages have very high page quality rating standards because they can potentially impact a user’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.  YMYL sites include news, current events, civics, government, law, finance, shopping, medical, health, fitness, nutrition, safety, groups of people, housing, choosing a college, and choosing a career.

Types of Page Content

blog graphicMain Content (MC) helps the page achieve its main purpose. It can be text, images, videos, or features controlled by the webmaster, author or user-generated content (UGC).  UGC includes articles, reviews, questions, answers, blog comments, photos, or videos added by users.  A helpful title summarizes the page content to aid the user.

Supplementary Content (SC) contributes to a good User Experience (UX) but does not help the page with its main purpose. SC is controlled by the webmaster and includes a navigation menu and links to related content.

Ads/Monetization (Ads) content or links serve the purpose of monetizing or making money, including ads, affiliate links, sponsored links, and ad networks.

Website and Business Reputation

Show expert opinions, recommendations, endorsements, references, news articles, and other credible citations from independent sources about your business or website’s positive reputation.

award ribbonRefer to your many positive customer reviews on Google, Yelp, BBB, or Amazon.  A few negative customer reviews are normal for a business or website. Convincing reports of fraud or financial wrongdoing are evidence of an extremely negative reputation. Show that your business has a high rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

List any business awards, recognition or recommendations received from professional associations. Include biographical information about the content creators.

Include website, content owner and author information, About Us, Contact Us, customer service information, price list, fee schedule, payment terms, and refund policy for transparency and to earn trust.

Page Quality Rating Scale

Page Quality may be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 for the lowest quality and 5 for the highest quality. In-between rating scores may also be used to add an additional half-point, including 1.5 Lowest +, 2.5 Low+, 3.5 Medium+, and 4.5 High+.

5 ***** Highest
4 **** High
3 *** Medium
2 ** Low
1 * Lowest

Most Important Page Quality Rating Factors

1. Page Purpose
2. Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT)
3. Main Content (MC) amount and quality
4. Website information, MC creator information
5. Website reputation, MC creator reputation

Rating 5, Highest-Quality Factors

A highest-quality page benefits the user very well, has a very high level of expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness (EAT), a large amount of high or highest quality MC, a descriptive and helpful title, clear website ownership and content creator information, customer service information for shopping and transactions, and a very positive reputation for the website and MC creator.

Highest-quality content requires one or more of these factors: a high degree of time, effort, and in particular expertise, talent or skill, very accurate information, highly supported by expert medical/scientific/historical consensus where available, functioning web page features, clearly written, comprehensive, and easy to use page content.  Often, it is unique and original content, not otherwise known.

It requires a very positive reputation, prestigious awards, or recommendations from subject matter experts or industry associations knowledgeable in the page topic.

Highest EAT content should be written in a professional style, from or citing a trustworthy source with subject matter expertise, fact-checked, factually correct, edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.

The highest EAT rating requires a very high level of expertise, high authority, or high trustworthiness in the subject matter. The level of expertise depends on the topic. Formal expertise is required for medical, financial, and legal information and advice.

Highest-quality news and scientific information should represent scientific consensus where it exists.  Government, university, and major company websites have very high authority.  High domain authority (DA) websites have a large number of high-quality incoming links because they have high EAT.

Rating 4, High-Quality Factors

A high-quality page benefits the user well, has a high level of EAT, an adequate amount of high-quality MC, a descriptive and helpful title, clear website ownership and content creator information, customer service information for shopping and transactions, and a positive reputation for the website and MC creator.

High-quality content requires one or more of these factors: above average time, effort, expertise, talent or skill, accurate information, supported by expert consensus where available, functioning web page features, clearly written, comprehensive, and easy to use page content.

It requires a positive reputation, with no convincing negative reputation based on comments or complaints, not ratings.

High EAT requires enough expertise to be an authority and trustworthy in the subject matter. The level of expertise depends on the topic. High-quality news and scientific information should represent scientific consensus where it exists.

Rating 3, Medium-Quality Factors

A medium-quality page achieves a beneficial purpose to help the user but does not merit a high-quality or low-quality rating. There is nothing wrong, but nothing special or above average.

Content is everyday knowledge, not expert knowledge, or has strong high-quality factors mixed with mild low-quality factors, a research or reference article with no sources cited, no author listed, no SC for additional information or resources, a relative lack of MC offset by expertise of the author or knowledgeable forum contributors, valuable MC mixed with distracting content, a cluttered layout, or good content but hard to read.

Rating 2, Low-Quality Factors

A low-quality page includes one or more of these factors: does not benefit the user well, a low level of EAT, low-quality or inadequate amount of MC, exaggerated or shocking title, distracting Ads or SC, inadequate website ownership information, mildly negative reputation for the website and MC creator.

If there are multiple low-quality factors, a rating below low-quality may be appropriate.

A low EAT rating occurs due to a lack of expertise in the subject matter, not being an authority on a subject unrelated to the website’s MC, not being trustworthy, a shopping site not using a secure https connection, or low-quality user-generated content lacking moderator supervision and pruning.

Low-quality content takes little time, effort, expertise, talent or skill, includes spelling or grammar errors, plagiarism, incorrect, unhelpful or misleading information, an inadequate amount of MC, a question without an answer, a title that does not correctly describe the content, an exaggerated or shocking title, or Ads or SC that distract or interrupt the user from use of the MC.

A mixed or mildly negative reputation of the website or content creator is a low-quality factor.

Low-quality factors for YMYL sites include inadequate contact or customer service information, or inadequate website owner or content creator information.

Rating 1, Lowest-Quality Factors

A lowest-quality page takes very little or no time, effort, expertise, talent or skill, makes no attempt to help users, or causes, encourages or incites mental, physical or emotional harm to self or others, promotes hate or violence, misinforms or deceives users, impersonates another person, business or website, tricks search engines, has a large amount of keyword stuffing, or makes money or gains attention without helping users.

Lowest-quality pages include scams, phishing, or malware, have an extremely negative or malicious reputation, a BBB F rating, demonstrably incorrect information, very little or no MC, YMYL content that contradicts well-established expert consensus, contains debunked or unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, Ads disguised as MC, gibberish, content copied exactly or with minimal changes, auto-generated MC, neglected, abandoned, hacked, defaced, or spam content, broken functionality, a lack of purpose, highly nonexpert, nonauthoritative, or untrustworthy author or website.

The lowest-quality rating is given to pages that harm, deceive or make money without helping users.

Improving Page Quality

quality control approvedTo improve page quality, include the required factors that are rewarded with a high-quality or highest-quality page rating.  Avoid, fix or remove the factors that are penalized with a low-quality or lowest-quality page rating.

You can use our Page Quality Rating Worksheet tool to rate a webpage and identify factors needing attention.

Before improving existing content, check and save the page analytics using the Google Search Console.  After improving the content, once it is re-indexed by Google, check the analytics again to look for an improvement in search engine results over time. For a business, make your content longer and higher quality than your competition.

With high-quality content, you are also likely to receive more and longer-duration visitor traffic, and more organic backlinks from other websites, further boosting SEO.

✔ Tip: Check the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) of your web pages and the quantity, quality and spam score of backlinks to your web pages with Moz Link Explorer.

Also, make sure that your content is compatible and usable with smaller screen mobile devices, smartphones, and tablet PCs.

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