- How much does EEAT really matter for Google and quality raters?
- Does Google give an unfair advantage to larger sites?
- What’s coming next from Google
A special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Digital PR Agency Search Intelligence.
When a talented SEO like Cyrus Shepard becomes a Google Quality Rater, you know we’ll get someone who has excellent insights on how Google evaluates your site and where you fail to impress them.
So in this week’s episode, Gael asks Cyrus all the questions that matter about the current state of Google’s search results, to figure out how much EEAT really matters for Google and quality raters, whether Google gives an unfair advantage to larger sites, and what’s coming next from Google based on their recent updates to the Quality Rater Guidelines.
Google employs over 17,000 quality raters worldwide, requiring near-college-level education due to the lengthy and intricate guidelines they must follow.
Quality raters evaluate search results and rate websites, employing a “needs met” scale for relevancy and analysing website quality based on a large set of guidelines. These ratings are then used almost directly to inform Google’s machine learning models.
Quality raters are also rated themselves, which probably influences the weight of their assessments in the algorithm. The process, while subjective within a structured guideline, emphasises Google’s stance that what others say about your site is more important that what you say about your site.
Does EEAT really matter?
Providing as much information about yourself as possible is definitely going to increase your rating from a Google Quality Rater. For the users, you want their intrinsic BS detectors to tell them you’re a reliable source. For the Quality Raters, you want to instantly demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
Cyrus suggests using UX signals to try to demonstrate expertise. If your navigation links say something generic like ‘About’, ‘Home’ or ‘Blog’, consider updating these to something more in-depth or descriptive.
Your header, footer, qualifications and related links are all also taken into account by Google Quality Raters.
Does Google favour larger sites?
Big brands and high authority sites do indeed often get a pass on reputation and relevance, especially when it comes to YMYL, though Cyrus did anticipate that there would be upcoming algorithm adjustments to reduce this advantage.
Cyrus says that it’s becoming less about chasing SEO and algorithms, and more about chasing what’s best for the user – that’s what Google is chasing itself right now.
Cyrus predicts that the flood of AI-generated content will continue because “it works”, but this might push Google to recalibrate it’s algorithm once again.
With Google possibly looking to directly answer queries through its own AI, Cyrus emphasised the need to shift towards more creativity, authority, and brand presence to remain competitive.
What’s coming next from Google?
Anticipate corrections to recent updates like the HCU, which will look to decrease the advantage of big brands.
The surge in AI responses within SERPs will also mean that content strategies may need to be adjusted within the next few years.
The potential diversification in search engine usage, prompted by regulatory changes, could introduce new optimization challenges but also some “bonus” traffic sources.