Google is constantly changing its algorithms, but creating content that survives them requires an understanding of their quality control team’s priorities. Learning who the Google quality raters are and what they look for increases the probability of a higher ranking in the right SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) and more website traffic for you.

The 16,000 quality raters at Google work to ensure their engine prioritizes quality results that best fulfill a user’s search intent. They have two purposes–first to analyze and rate a webpage’s content, then to determine if its search results are appropriate or useful for a given SERP.

How Google Rates SERPs and Ranking Quality

When rating a page for quality, Google’s team uses the E-EAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) standard. The raters will check the site to ensure a site’s creators are easily verified, truthful, and reliable for their purpose. They are particularly careful when dealing with information that can significantly alter a user’s wellbeing–what they call Your Money or Your Life topics. In addition, they rate landing pages and site content based on the value it brings to a searcher. Does the site have a clean, usable user interface for both mobile and desktop versions? Is the content (written or otherwise) original, factual, and presented well? Are any ads shown non-intrusive? Ensuring that your page meets these standards may result in a higher ranking.

The raters will also determine how relevant a website’s result block is for a particular query based on a user’s search intent. This means prioritizing results that make the most sense based on a user’s location and the likely intent behind a particular search. Raters are more likely to decide a Wikipedia page is appropriate for the informational query “Sedan” than for the commercial query “2018 Ford Fusion.” Your website may contain valuable, quality content with high E-EAT, but it may be ranked low on a SERP. Google’s ranking algorithm, which follow the same guidelines as their quality raters, may determine it is not useful or relevant to a query. Knowing what your audience wants and where they are (both literally and metaphorically) will help you know how to optimize for the right Google queries.

Improving your website to match these standards doesn’t just mean getting more clicks, it also means creating a better experience for your audience. Your site will draw more conversions and visitors will not only come to see your landing page, but to continue exploring your website. Proper targeting and quality control are the best future-proofing for Google’s updates. For more information, read the full quality raters’ guidelines here.