Tonight it was brought to my attention that a 125 page pdf, intended for Google’s search quality team, was freely available online. It seems that Google is doing its upmost to get the document removed, with links to the document quickly vanishing. Does this document open the door to the secrets of this year’s updates? Well no, far from it! To be honest, the document is still available to be viewed so Google can’t be that worried about it.

I have read the full document and indeed downloaded it.  It seems to contain some real gems in regards to what quality metrics are been implemented for the new PANDA algorithm updates. I plan to write a detail summary of the document in the next couple for days, although for those who can’t wait here is a brief summary.

As many have already stated, quality does indeed play a major role in regards to ranking highly in Google SERPs. The Google’s Search Quality Team, were in effect asked to determine how relevant the content of pages were to the search key phrases. Each page was given a score, depending on the type of query, which in effect stated if the content was reverent to the key phrase.

This is a direct quote from the document.

For each URL rating task you acquire, you will see a query and a URL. You will:

  • Research the query
  • Click on the URL to visit the landing page
  • Assign a rating based on this guidelines

Perhaps surprisingly, social network profiles, it seems, are not as important as many had suggested although at this early stage of digesting the document, it seems they are an important factor for music acts and possible organised groups.

It seems “thin type” affiliate sites, especially those with pages that contained a large amount of ad space were to be classed as low quality.

Are we going to see a future Google PANDA update that targets exact match domains? Well the document states that “raters” should not assume exact match domains to be an authority in regards to the search phrase. Perhaps, and at this point I’m just guessing, then if many exact match type websites did score low with the “raters” then a future PANDA update could target them.

Although the document is now in the public domain, we don’t of course know how Google has implemented the data gathered. It is clear though that Google has taken an in-depth look at their search results and must have somehow matched CTR and other metrics to the manual research gathered.

It seems clear to me that links are now far less important and we need to understand how to make the Google algorithm score our pages as highly useful and indeed, as researches were asked to score “vital” for some specific search queries.

Expect an in-depth review in the next 48 hours.

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