Google Quality Raters Handbook

An internal document from Google’s search engine spam team has been leaked and now the web has a copy of the Google Quality Raters Handbook. This link was previously here but has since been removed courtesy of the legal team from Mountain View. Thankfully this link still works and you can download the google spam guidelines as a PDF here.

Some of the search engine optimization guide contents:

Quality Rating Scale

  • Vital
  • Useful
  • Relevant
  • Not Relevant
  • Off-topic

Categories For Results That Can’t Be Rated

  • Didn’t Load
  • Foreign Language
  • Unratable

Spam Labels

  • Spam
  • Not Spam
  • Maybe Spam


  • Pornographic content
  • Malicious code on pages

Joining social networks and participating in web 2.0 online communities is vital so human reviewers from search engines can verify your identity:

It is not uncommon today for individuals to maintain various types of personal pages on the Web. Homepages, social networking pages, and blogs have become increasingly popular. Some individuals have more than one blog and/or more than one homepage on a social networking site (e.g. myspace, facebook, friendster, mixi). When these pages are maintained by the individual (or an authorized representative of the individual), they are all considered to be Vital.

This is a long winded description of why content is king

Relevant – A rating of Relevant is assigned to pages that have fewer valuable attributes than were listed for Useful pages. Relevant pages might be less comprehensive, come from a less authoritative source, or cover only one important aspect of the query.

Examples of Relevant pages include a page with a brief article on the topic of the query or a less important subpage on the correct site. If a query asks for a list, then a single item is Relevant. For example, if the query is[ fudge recipes ], a single fudge recipe is Relevant.

A rating of Relevant is also used for a homepage that would have been Vital if there had not been a more dominant interpretation for the query.

Differentiating full e-commerce owners from affiliate marketers

Recognizing true merchants: Features that will help you determine if a website is a true merchant include:

* a “view your shopping cart” link that stays on the same site and updates when you add items to it,
* a return policy with a physical address,
* a shipping charge calculator,
* a “wish list” link, or a link to postpone purchase of an item until later,
* a way to track FedEx orders,
* a user forum, the ability to register or login,
* a gift registry, or
* an invitation to become an affiliate of that site

Please note the following:
Not all of the above need to be present for a merchant to be considered a true merchant. Yahoo! Stores are true merchants – they are not thin affiliates. Some true merchants will take you to another site to complete the transaction due to the fact that they utilize third party cart systems. Such merchants are not thin affiliates.

This Google webspam guide book was released in April 2007, but is still very relevant to search engine optimizers.


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