Google search quality rater guidelines update: What has changed

Google search guidelines for quality raters What’s changed?

Google has redefined their definitions of YMYL. changed its definition of pages with low quality and much more. Here are the specifics.

Google has introduced a range of important changes in the Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

The most important changes included Google’s definitions for the terms YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) and the degree of E-A’T’s importance in relation to the quality of the page.

Google offered new, concise definitions of what it takes that content is YMYL. generally based on the degree to which content could harm society or individuals. Google also released a brand new table that provides precise examples of what is to be classified as YMYL, or even not.

In the latest revision to the guidelines, Google further explained that for extremely YMYL content, E-A-T is the most important of all aspects. Google further explained that it is possible to get poor-quality content on other trustworthy and reputable websites.

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

Google completely changed the term the term YMYL (Your Money, Your Life). In the prior Version of the Guidelines for Quality Rater Guidelines, YMYL topics were divided in the categories below:

  • Current news and developments
  • Law, politics, and civics
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Safety and health
  • People in groups
  • Other

Google completely eliminated the categories.

The updated Version of the Quality Rater Guidelines now defines the term YMYL based on its potential for harm.

The subjects that carry the risk of “high risk of harm,” can have an impact on your “health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society.”

Google further defines the people who might be affected by YMYL’s content, which includes those who are viewing the content, any other persons affected by the viewer and groups, or society in general. It could be in the context of violent, extremist or terrorist-related content.

Google further defines YMYL subjects as extremely risky (violent extremism) or dangerous due to the presentation of false information regarding the subject could be detrimental. For instance, giving incorrect advice regarding heart attacks or earthquakes can result in harm to the user.

Instead of listing specific categories that could be classified as YMYL similar to previous version of these guidelines Google is now asking quality-rated raters look at YMYL as a set of the following four types damage YMYL content may cause people or the society at large:

  • Health and safety
  • Financial security
  • Society
  • “Other”

Another new addition is that Google declares that the term “hypothetical harmful page” about something that is not harmful like”the “science behind rainbows,” is technically not considered to be YMYL. In accordance with their revised definition, the page must be able to cause harm or affect the well-being of people.

In a different major release, Google declares that many, or the majority of updates are not YMYL as they don’t possess the potential to cause harm.

Google has also announced that it is the first time that YMYL assessments are performed using an x-axis.

To clarify these statements, Google provided a new table on page 12 of the guidelines that specifically defines the types of topics Google decides to be YMYL and not and provides specific examples.


Low Quality Pages – Section 6.0

Google has updated their definition of the term “low-quality” to clarify what is to be a page of low-quality.

In the previous edition, Google claimed a page might be poor quality partly because the person who created the content might not have enough skills to fulfill the objective of the site. The statement was later removed.

Google is now expanding the role played by EA-T when the determination of whether a webpage is not of high-quality with three paragraphs that are new:


Google says that the amount of E-A-T needed for the page is determined by the content and nature that the webpage is intended to serve.

Subjects that require only the use of a computer don’t require the creators of the content share details about themselves.

Google also indicates that a page of low quality could be found on a reputable site, such as an academic or government website. The content that the site is based on is the place where YMYL enters play. If the information could cause harm for the person using it, the quality rating experts must consider that factor when determining the validity of the site.

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

Google included an additional bullet point to the definition it gives of what appears to be like to have no E-A.T. when determining if an internet page is not of high-quality.

  • “Informational [main content] on YMYL topics is mildly inaccurate or misleading”

In a different addition, Google once again repeated the importance of E-A-T. The level required for a webpage is determined by the intent and topic on the webpage. If the site is discussing YMYL subjects (and could cause risk to the user or other users) E-A-T is crucial.

Even if the site has a good reputation but if it poses the risk of harm to anyone the site should be classified as low-quality.


Lowest Quality Pages – Section 7.0

Google added a new category within”the “lowest quality pages” section which suggests that even trusted or expert sources may provide dangerous content. This includes the hacking of content or videos uploaded by users.

The fact that content is on a site that shows good quality, even in the event that the content is harmful, deceitful or spammy and has an “lowest quality” rating.


Google’s latest document on Search Quality Rater Guidelines

In addition to changing and revising the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, Google has also released a brand new resource that describes exactly how Search Quality Rater Guidelines work. The resource contains sections on how search functions, improvements to the search experience, and also the process of rating quality.

This document gives the most complete summary to date on the role Google’s quality raters play in assessing whether Google’s new changes are conformity with Google’s quality standards.

Google also offers information about who the rating experts are, where they’re in the world, and how the process of rating is conducted.

Why these changes are important

For those who are interested in learning the ways in which Google defines the terms YMYL and E-A-T, Google’s new Quality Rater Guidelines offer new guidelines on what they want to accomplish with their algorithm.

Instead of thinking about YMYL as a different categories for content or business, Google asks raters to consider the degree to which content could harm users.

Google has also stated that daily experience is sufficient for a variety of types of content. However, E-A-T is of utmost importance when the content is classified as YMYL (it is able to harm individuals or society, and could impact one’s financial well-being as well as health and security).

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