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Diversity and Impartiality Are Emphasized in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines Update

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News

Google Instructs Raters to Avoid Personal Bias and Consider User Diversity

For the third time this year, Google has released a new set of updates to its search quality evaluator guidelines, this time to emphasize diversity and impartiality. The changes were less significant than previous ones, but indicate a changing way of thinking, and reinforce the importance of maintaining a non-bias and understanding diversity when it comes to rating search results.

So, What Are Rater Guidelines and What Do These New Changes Mean?

The Google Search Quality Rater Guideline is a handbook of criteria used by Google’s search quality team to evaluate the quality of the sites that come up in search results. Essentially, these guidelines instruct Google’s raters on how to make their assessments when it comes to site quality. According to Google, the new updates to these guidelines reflect the complex nature of certain queries and inadvertent bias when it comes to rating sites. “Different types of searches need very different types of search results,” stated Google in the updates guidelines. Snippet from Google rater guidelines Source: Search Engine Land

So, What Exactly Has Changed?

Here are the new guidelines that have been added:

  1. Removing Rater Bias

In the new guidelines, evaluators were told that their ratings “should not be based on personal opinions, preferences, religious beliefs, or political views,” unless their rating task indicates otherwise. Raters were also advised to ‘Always use your best judgement and represent the cultural standards and norms of your rating locale.”

  1. New Definitions

The terms “search engine” and “user” were also added to the ‘Definitions’ section. Within these guidelines, the term user has been defined by Google as a person trying to find information or accomplish a task on the internet. “Keep in mind that users are people from all over the world: people of all ages, genders, races, religions, political affiliations, etc.,” said Google. Another interesting takeaway is that the term “people” has been replaced by “user” in certain contexts. Section of new Google rater guidelines Source: Search Engine Land

  1. Diversity and Political Affiliations

The importance of understanding the diverse cultural and political backgrounds of users was further emphasized later in the guidelines, particularly when it comes to reporting offensive content. “Remember that people of all ages, genders, races, religions, and political affiliations use search engines for a variety of needs. One especially important user need is exploring subjects that may be difficult to discuss in person. For example, some people may hesitate to ask what racial slurs mean. People may also want to understand why certain racially offensive statements are made. Giving users access to resources that help them understand racism, hatred, and other sensitive topics is beneficial to society,” said Google. So, there you have it. While these changes may not have been as extensive as previous updates, these updates could be an indication of more things to come, and possibly even an upcoming algorithm change.

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Google Updates Its Guidelines for Search Quality Raters

10/20/2021

Google has finally updated its Search Quality Raters guidelines this week after a year without any updates.

For those who are unfamiliar, Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines offer insight into how Google assesses the quality of online content.

The last update took place on October 14, 2020, and was 175 pages. The latest update saw three of those pages removed, reducing the document to 172 pages. However, according to Search Engine Round Table, 3,635 changes were made – 807 replacements, 812 insertions, and 356 deletions.

Here is a quick summary of what was changed:

  • The definition of the YMYL subcategory ‘Groups of people’ has been expanded

  • Direction on how to research reputation information for websites and content creators has been revised

  • The ‘Lowest Page Quality’ section has been restructured, updated, reorganized, and refreshed

  • The definition of ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ has been simplified and redundancy in the Lowest Page Quality section has been removed

  • Other minor changes have been made throughout the document, such as updated screenshots and URLs, wording, and examples for consistency removed outdated examples and fixed typos.

Here’s what the ‘Groups of people’ section looks like now: 

“Information about or claims related to groups of people, including but not limited to those grouped on the basis of age, caste, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, nationality, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, victims of a major violent event and their kin, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”

Along with reporting from Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Round Table, SEO consultant Glenn Gabe also took to Twitter to share some of his insights on the new document.

Check it out below:

 

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Google Caps off Volatile Week With Another Algorithm Update

10/08/2021

What in the world is going on with the internet this week? It was only Monday that we reported that Google had rolled out a massive unconfirmed update, and the following day, Facebook experienced a colossal outage affecting billions of people around the world. Now, Search Engine Round Table is reporting yet ANOTHER unconfirmed update appears to be happening. And yes, this all happened in the span of a week. What a wild ride it’s been. 

While this latest update doesn’t appear to be as big as the one that took place last weekend, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Round Table is reporting that tracking tools seem to show that an update began rolling out on October 6th, peaked on October 7th, and is now starting to slow down.

This time around, there is way more industry chatter going on in the SEO forums. Here are some interesting snippets posted in WebmasterWorld around October 6th:

“Seeing a return of the drop in USA traffic in the middle part of the day again. Starts in the morning and traffic remains very low for hours. Back to the old June patterns…”

“For me traffic has fallen off the cliff edge today with hardly any multiple page view visitors.

Over the last few weeks I have also seen many, many visits by Singapore, Huawei Clouds.” 

“Yesterday was my worst traffic day in years. Gulp!” 

“All competitors I am tracking are down today with only one exception, me lol I am in the same position as I was yesterday but the biggest volume keywords were targeted and pushed down the serps. Some low volume keywords improved. The algorithms constantly target high volume keywords.”

Tracking tools aren’t showing a ton of volatility, mostly just a shift in the Google search results. Overall, things look pretty calm compared to the update last weekend. Still, we’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Check out the screenshots posted by Search Engine Round Table:

Semrush:

SEM Rush tracking 

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitive SEO report

SERPmetrics:

SERP Metrics report

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