Jennifer Slegg got her hands on the latest version of the Search Quality Raters handbook and published an incredibly detailed summary of what is new in the guidelines. Of course, for legal reasons, she did not include a copy of the actual handbook - that can get her in trouble. But she did summarize what is new since the last copy she gained access to in mid-2014.
There was a big expansion to the guidelines around mobile. Specifically about making sure mobile users can accomplish their goals quickly and effectively. Much of it had to do with what we see in the mobile friendly guidelines from Google already around making sure your mobile friendly site is easy to use.
There is also a new section on local based queries, either people searching explicitly for local things, such as New City pizza or pizza near me, types of queries.
Jennifer also summarizes two new quality definitions, including:
- Know Simple queries tend to be the type of queries that often show a featured snippet or other type of knowledge boxes.
- Know Queries tend to be ones were the result couldn’t be answered in a short list or 1-2 sentences, because the result would either be too broad or would need to be much more detailed.
Plus a new one named "Needs Met Rating" which "is almost like looking at it from a Panda perspective. This is one of the new ratings for website owners to use to determine whether or not a site is "quality" or not," Jennifer explains. Adding, "Needs Met refers to raters focusing on the mobile searcher’s needs and thinking about "how helpful and satisfying the result is for the mobile user?"
Print out Jennifer's summary and read it. While it does not explicitly dictate the ranking algorithm, it does help us get better into what search results Google is looking for in their search results pages.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.