Google Search Quality Assessor Guidelines Update: What's Changed

Google Search Quality Assessor Guidelines Update: What’s Changed

Google has made a variety of important updates to the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

The most important fixes were in Google’s definitions of YMYL (Your Money, Your Life), and how important EAT is in terms of page quality.

Google has introduced new, clear definitions of what it means to be YMYL content, mostly framed around the extent to which content can cause harm to individuals or society. Google has also introduced a new table that puts out clear examples of what content means to be YMYL or not.

In the latest guideline update, Google also clarified that for high YMYL content – EAT is critical above all other factors. Google has also made it clear that it is possible to have low-quality content on reliable and trustworthy sites.

Your Money in Your Life (YMYL) Topics – Section 2.3

Google has completely reworked its definition of YMYL (Your Money, Your Life). In the previous version of the Quality Assessor Guidelines, YMYL topics were divided into the following categories:

  • News and current events
  • Civics, government and law
  • finance
  • the shopping
  • Health and safety
  • groups of people
  • else

The Google completely removed these categories.

The new version of the Quality Assessor Guidelines now defines YMYL by its ability to cause harm.

Subjects with a “high risk of harm” can significantly affect “the health, financial stability, safety of persons, or the well-being or welfare of the community.”

Then selects Google World Health Organization May be harmed by YMYL Content, including the person viewing the Content, other persons affected by the viewer, groups of people or the community as a whole. This could be a reference to violent, extremist or terrorist content.

Google then identifies YMYL topics as either inherently dangerous (violent extremism), or harmful due to submission misinformation Related topic can be harmful. For example, giving bad advice regarding heart attacks, investments or earthquakes may harm the user.

Instead of listing individual categories that could be considered YMYL, as in previous versions of the Guidelines, Google now requires quality assessors to think of YMYL in terms of four types of harm that YMYL content can cause to individuals or society:

  • health or safety
  • financial security
  • Community
  • “else”

In another new addition, Google claims that a “harmful default page” on a harmless topic, such as “the science behind the rainbow,” is technically Not YMYL is considered. According to their updated definition, content must have the potential to cause harm or affect people’s well-being.

In another big update, Google claims that many or most of the themes are not YMYL because they do not have the ability to cause harm.

Google also stated for the first time that YMYL is widely evaluated.

To illustrate this new data, Google has introduced a new table on page 12 of the Guidelines, which specifically identifies the types of topics that Google considers YMYL or not, with clear examples.

Low Quality Pages – Section 6.0

Google has redefined its definition of what it means to be a low quality page.

In an earlier version, Google claimed that the page might be of low quality, in part, because the lead content creator might lack sufficient experience for the page’s purpose. This statement has been deleted.

Google now expands the EAT’s role in determining if a page is low quality into three new paragraphs:

Google states that the level of EAT required for a page depends entirely on the topic itself and the purpose of the page.

Topics that only require daily experience do not require content creators to provide information about themselves.

Google also suggests that you may have a low-quality page on a trusted website, such as an academic or government site. The Title The page itself is where YMYL comes into play – if the content is likely to harm the user, quality raters should evaluate this aspect when determining the quality of the page.

Lack of Experience, Credibility, or Trustworthiness (EAT) – Section 6.1

Google added a point in its definition of what appears to be lacking in EAT when determining if a page is of low quality:

  • “Informational [main content] in YMYL subjects is inaccurate or somewhat misleading”

In another new addition, Google once again reiterated that the level of eating a page requires depends on the purpose and theme of the page. If the page is discussing YMYL topics (and potentially causing harm to the user or others), EAT is critical.

Even if the website has a positive reputation, if there is a high risk of harm to the page Should It is rated as low quality.

Low Quality Pages – Section 7.0

Google has included a new section in the “lower quality pages” section indicating that even trusted or expert sources can provide malicious content. This can include hacked content or user uploaded videos.

Just because the content is on a site that otherwise displays good quality, if the content itself is deceptive, malicious, untrustworthy or spam, this still requires a “lower quality” rating.

New Google Document on Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

In addition to updating the search quality evaluator guidelines, Google has also published new resource Describes how the Research Quality Evaluator Guidelines work. This resource includes sections on how research works, research improvement, and the quality rating process.

This document provides a comprehensive overview to date of the role Google’s quality assessors play in evaluating the compliance of proposed changes by Google with Google’s Quality Guidelines.

Google also provides information about who the residents are, where they are located and how the grading process works.

Why are these changes important

For those interested in understanding how Google defines the concepts of YMYL and EAT, Google’s updated Quality Assessor Guidelines provide some new guidance on what they aim to achieve with their algorithm.

Unlike thinking of YMYL in terms of business or content categories, Google asks residents to think about the extent to which the content can harm users.

Google also explained that day-to-day experience is sufficient for many types of content, but that EAT is of paramount importance when content is categorized as YMYL (it has the potential to cause harm to individuals or society, or can affect financial well-being, health or safety.).


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of the search engine. Staff writers are listed here.


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About the author

Lily Ray is Senior Director of SEO and Head of Organic Research at Amsive digital, providing strategic leadership for the agency’s SEO client programs. Born into a family of software engineers, web developers, and technical writers, Lilly brings a strong technical background, performance-driven habits, and forward-looking creativity to all the programs she oversees. Lily began her SEO career in 2010 in a fast-paced start-up environment and quickly moved into the agency world, where she helped grow and establish an award-winning SEO division that delivered high-impact work to a rapidly growing list of high profile clients, including Fortune 500 companies. Lily has worked across a variety of sectors with a focus on retail, e-commerce, B2B, and CPG websites. She loves to dive into algorithm updates, EAT analysis, assessing quality issues and solving technical SEO puzzles. Lily leads the award-winning SEO team at Amsive Digital and enjoys sharing her findings and research with the broader SEO industry.

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