November 1, 2012

Do Human "Quality Raters" Influence Which Sites are Impacted by Panda?




Okay. So this is an important question that many people have now started asking: Do Human "Quality Raters" Influence which sites are impacted by Panda? You might have heard of a manual penalty for a site, and in our post about removing backlinks to avoid penalty, we talked about when a website gets hit by an algorithm, and when a site gets manually penalized. This concept gives rise to a common question: if these 'quality raters' influence whether a website gets impacted by an algorithmic update, such as Panda or Penguin, then how is the consumers' reaction gauged? Meaning who is to say which site gets penalized and which doesn't?


It's an important question, and has caused confusion and frustration among bloggers and webmasters who have been hit by Panda or penguin. Most think they have been unfairly hit, since there are humans manually rating their site, and humans are bound to make mistakes. So they should be given the benefit of doubt, right? Well, there are a few misconceptions involved here.

How are websites manually rated?

It is important to note that the team of human quality raters at Google doesn't just take things for granted. Besides working on personal judgement, they are also provided with guidelines on when things are navigational, when they are vital, what content is off-topic, and which things are spam etc. There are clear-cut guidelines that those people follow. Any website that fails to qualify of course comes under the inspection.

But as far as the question of influencing is concerned, well those people don't have a direct impact on any site's ranking on search results. According to Google, when an engineer comes up with a new algorithm(s), that algorithm is put to the test and the search results returned by that algorithm are compared by others and the existing one. This comparison is then sent to the quality raters to analyze.

Now it is the job of those quality raters to cross reference with the guidelines provided to them, and then tell whether search results returned by that engineer's algorithm are better, or worse than others. The quality raters just provide the feedback. They do not directly say "I do not like this website, it should rank below others".

As far as the quality guidelines are concerned that are given to the quality raters, Google says they will soon be made available to the public, so that people can read through them and benefit from the instructions. It'll be easier on both Google and the webmasters. In the meantime, watch the video by Google, and stay tuned for those guidelines. We'll keep you updated. Cheers :)




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