Google’s 2012 Quality Rating Guidelines have been leaked to online forums in what’s becoming something of an annual tradition. The 161-page document is used by human raters to help shore up the company’s vaunted algorithms.

The documents, and a large number of screen shots of the rating dashboard, began showing up on forums over the past couple of weeks. How valuable they are to the average webmaster is debatable, though they do contain a few useful nuggets. (If you don’t want to read all 161 pages, check Matt McGee’s useful summary over at SearchEngineLand.com.)

The Panda Effect

Of special interest to SEOs is a new section titled, Page Quality Rating Guidelines. This category rates the quality of a page as a standalone element as opposed to how helpful it would be in a search.

It’s clearly a by-product of the Panda update as is indicated by its description:

You have probably noticed that webpages vary in quality. There are high quality pages: pages that are well written, trustworthy, organized, entertaining, enjoyable, beautiful, compelling, etc. You have probably also found pages that seem poorly written, unreliable, poorly organized, unhelpful, shallow, or even deceptive or malicious. We would like to capture these observations in Page Quality rating.

Bad Reputation Watch

SEO will also be interested to know that Google’s human army of raters is new section asking raters to rate a site’s reputation. In it, raters are asked to do searches that include the site’s name and terms like reviews and complaints.

So far Google has not provided any comment on the leaked documents.

Will you be reading the leaked Google documents or is it just too wonky? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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