Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines For Websites

If you’re interested in SEO for your dental website, follow Google’s advice!

In this blog you may have seen a number of references to search engine optimisation, including Google’s web ranking algorithms and how to improve the position of your website in Google’s results.

Much of the information in our regular blogs is built on many years of experience and best practice; however, we always make it clear that no-one other than Google knows exactly how their systems work. Consequently there will always be an element of uncertainty about exactly how they determine the ranking order of websites.

Whilst Google will release some general information about their search engine updates and the types of effects which may be seen, the information is rarely detailed enough to allow marketers to completely formulate their strategies upon it. So given the impenetrable veil of secrecy surrounding Google, how do we go about determining the best ways to improve the search positions of our client’s websites?

Learning from experience

Whilst Google is constantly updating, after 15 years of experience of optimising websites for dentists and following the topic in detail, unsurprisingly you build up knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Back around 2010, Google started to combat web spam with vigour, penalising websites which attempted to gain ranking advantages through manipulative means. Whilst this was a fraught time for may SEO companies, it really did give a good opportunity to try to understand how Google was working and its thrust towards building a search index based on quality rather than spammy techniques.

Search index updates continue with the same vigour to this day and we don’t expect them to let up. Consequently, as marketers, we have to remain agile and be prepared to changes tactics and techniques in tune.


Having a huge range of websites within our control does allow us to test different techniques to see what works best. Of course we need to take care and ensure we follow Google’s publishing guidelines, but within this there are nuances and different avenues to explore. This huge range of data then helps us to determine the best strategies to deploy.

Quality and the avoidance of spam

The days of trying to trick search engines are well and truly over and if there is one guiding principle to follow, it is that of “quality”. It is Google’s publicly stated aim to build a search index which provides the best answers to user queries and consequently they try to promote the website which achieve this above those that fall short. If you follow any commentary from Google, you will see a recurring theme around publishing high-quality content which engages users and answers their questions. In itself, this gives us a clear direction as to how we should be creating, updating and maintaining websites. So if you achieve this, expect to do well in the search results!

Quality raters guidelines

Unsurprisingly, Google uses machine-based algorithms to do the vast majority of its website ranking work and these algorithms get updated very regularly in Google’s ongoing quest to improve the ranking index. But Google doesn’t just make ad-hoc changes and introduce them into the wild. To validate the output of their automatic systems, they have a panel of “Quality Raters” who manually assess websites against a huge number of criteria. The results of the manual assessments are then compared to the automated algorithmic systems for validation purposes. No doubt iterations are then made until a degree of certainty is established and the new algorithm updates can be introduced to the live index.

So how does this help us to formulate SEO strategies? Fortunately, the Google Quality Raters Guidelines are in the public domain and accessible, so allowing us to see the criteria Google is using to validate against. Hence it follows that if we have a good knowledge of these criteria, we should be able to validate the quality of our client’s website and our own search marketing strategies against them. Indeed, Google has actively encouraged webmasters to read the rating guidelines to help inform their website planning. We’d encourage you to read them too (all 164 pages!) so here is a link for you to download your copy. Happy reading!

Download The Google Quality Raters Guidelines – Click Here


When it comes to improving Google positions for your dental practice website and the best techniques to use for SEO, then a good place to start is with Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines. If your website and marketing plan meets the guidelines therein, logically you should be in great shape when Google’ search bots visit your website and the data they collect is processed by their automated algorithms. It also follows that your search engines positions should improve accordingly!

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read Google’s guidelines, don’t worry because here at Dental Media we have! Please call us on 01332 672548 to see how we can help you with search engine optimisation and ethical marketing for your business.