Last month, one of the latest versions of the Google quality raters handbook was leaked, the copy is still floating around out there.
I have read about 75% of it and so far, I don't see anything that is ground breaking or revealing in the document. In fact, the people given this document are not even Google employees, so by definition, I am sure the information in the document is not all that revealing.
That being said, the document itself is a great SEO guide for anyone to read so you can understand how Google thinks of types of sites, quality and so on. Again, for most SEOs who read this site, most of it is common sense.
In any event, a WebmasterWorld thread has SEOs breaking it down even more. First let me start with Tedster's chat with Google's Matt Cutts on the guide.
More Details From Matt Cutts via Tedster:
- Webmasters tend to put a slightly skewed angle on this. The quality raters are actually rating a SERP (that is, a particular algo configuration) as a quality control measure for the algo team. Their ratings do not directly change rankings- but they hep the algo team see if the algo worked as planned or not.
- Also, note that this document is not for the spam team. They also have a training document and use human quality raters - but that document has never been leaked.
Again, it is important to note that this guide is used by non-Googlers. These are independent contractors that Google does not first hand interview and thus cannot fully trust them.
Now here are some points from a member in the forum that I do not fully agree with myself but I wanted to share:
- Despite Yelp saying Google hates them, the manual talks about Yelp in a very good way.
- Google telling how raters should rate is a bias on what is good on the web, and bias isn't good.
- User intent goes under three types, (1) know (informational), (2) go (navigational) and (3) do (transactional) and sometimes a single search query can fall under two or more of these.
- Google is training raters to find "homogenous results that scream intent to the customer" and not to rate "unique/inspiring results."
Additionally, SEOs in the thread have a hard time believing that when a quality rater marks something as spam that it doesn't flag something for a Googler to review manually.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.