Adam Blake of Thrivehive

Marie Haynes

Owner at Marie Haynes Consulting

Dr. Marie Haynes is known as a leader in the field of understanding Google algorithm changes. She speaks and writes often on the subject of Google penalties, algorithm changes such as Panda and Penguin, and also Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines.

Expert session

Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Marie’s success

Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG)

Result if you follow the steps in Marie’s session

Improve the overall quality of your website, and get better rankings and traffic in 60 days

Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more

Expert session snapshot


The quality raters guidelines are something that, they’ve been around for a long time. But just recently, I would say in the last couple of years, I really feel like Google has started to implement a lot of things from these guidelines in their algorithms.

And so, one of the things that we’ve been doing lots of is we do a lot of site assessments where if your site had lost a lot of traffic, you know, we help to figure out why did that happen? What changed in Google’s algorithms?

And what we’re finding is a lot of the times the things that seem to change in the algorithms they’re directly outlined. In these guidelines, so the quality raters guidelines, they’re a set of about 160 pages that Google uses to train a massive army of apparently, there’s over 10,000 people that are employed as quality raters.

And they take these guidelines. And then basically Google says this is how we determine what a high quality website is. The quality raters look at websites, and they say, yes, this is high quality, or no, we feel like this was frustrating to us or, and they manually review websites.

And then Google takes the results from the quality raters, and feeds them into algorithms, so that they can create algorithms that mimic what a human being would determine in terms of quality. So, it’s very important. I mean, if you’ve ever wished that Google could give us a checklist of what we need to do in terms of being considered high quality, this is what it is.

And so, there are tons of nuggets, we could probably talk the entire day, about things that are in these guidelines. But in the time that we have, will talk about the most important.

Well, this is great, because, wow, a set of guidelines. Imagine you could have one of these. This kind of is probably the closest, yeah, you get why, like, personally, I haven’t heard of it before. Is it something that is that well known for you know, just the average small business?

Well, guidelines have been around for many years. And years ago, there used to be kind of a secret. And every now and then somebody would leak a copy of the guidelines. I would and the SEO community would go crazy over it.

And then I want to say it was maybe four or five years ago, Google decided that they would let the whole public see these guidelines, and we didn’t have to get leaked copies of them in order to see what’s in there.

So, I don’t know you know, how widely known they are. I know there are some people who have been in SEO for a long time that pay very little attention to the quality raters guidelines. But and part of the thing is they’re kind of difficult to read through I mean, there’s tons of examples that take some time to process through. And it’s not really the greatest in terms of being well written.

So, yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I know, without a doubt that there is good stuff in here that Google uses, and we’ve helped websites. And when we’ve said, look, the quality raters guidelines say this, and you could improve your site by doing this, and then traffic improve.

So, yeah, I mean, I think they’re becoming more well known. I’d even predict that in a year or two, you’ll see all sorts of people who are quality raters guidelines experts. But there’s only a small handful of people right now that I know that are talking adamantly about these guidelines.

Alright, so we’ve kind of covered like, what are the guidelines, why they’re so important? Is there anything additional there that we want to mention before we jump onto the next step?

I think that sort of outlines what we need to know. I mean, we know that the guidelines are written by Google. They tell us what to look for in terms of quality, and there are many things in there.

I have a checklist that my team and I go through that we’ve made from these guidelines that just basically says, you know, Google says this is a sign of quality, and we can’t see this on your website. So maybe we should add this. So yeah, I think that sort of sums it up.

Hand-picked experts share their #1 tactic

One marketing tactic delivered to your inbox each morning, 5 days a week