On Friday, Google published on their blog about fighting disinformation and posted a 30 page white paper. Truth is, there is nothing really new in this white paper that we have not covered over the years but it is getting some attention and I wanted to just highlight some points of interest in web search ranking for SEOs.
Most of this is on pages 10 through 14 of the white paper, unless you care about Google News, then there is more. It also covers YouTube content and more.
Glenn Gabe tweeted out two things that are probably the most important for SEOs, but again, we know this:
- Google’s algorithms identify signals about pages that correlate with trustworthiness and authoritativeness. The best known of these signals is PageRank, which uses links on the web to understand authoritativeness.
- We are constantly evolving these algorithms to improve results – not least because the web itself keeps changing. For instance, in 2017 alone, we ran over 200,000 experiments with trained external Search Evaluators and live user tests, resulting in more than 2,400 updates to Google Search algorithms.
- To perform these evaluations, we work with Search Quality Evaluators who help us measure the quality of Search results on an ongoing basis. Evaluators assess whether a website provides users who click on it with the content they were looking for, and they evaluate the quality of results based on the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the content.
- The resulting ratings do not affect the ranking of any individual website, but they do help us benchmark the quality of our results, which in turn allows us to build algorithms that globally recognize results that meet high-quality criteria. To ensure a consistent approach, our evaluators use the Search Quality Rater Guidelines (publicly available online)18 which provide guidance and examples for appropriate ratings. To ensure the consistency of the rating program, Search Quality evaluators must pass a comprehensive exam and are audited on a regular basis.
- These evaluators also perform evaluations of each improvement to Search we roll out: in side-by-side experiments, we show evaluators two different sets of Search results, one with the proposed change already implemented and one without. We ask them which results they prefer and why. This feedback is central to our launch decisions.
For these “YMYL” pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.
Here we have Google saying they can determine if a query is about YMYL topics using various algorithms and then change weights of the ranking system to adjust for that in the search rankings.
Our algorithms can detect the majority of spam and demote or remove it automatically. The remaining spam is tackled manually by our spam removal team, which reviews pages (often based on user feedback) and flags them if they violate the Webmaster Guidelines. In 2017, we took action on 90,000 user reports of search spam and algorithmically detected many more times that number.
I’d read the whole 30 page PDF just to brush up but anyone who reads this site daily would not be surprised by anything in this white paper.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
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