For many SEOs, a glimpse at the Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines is akin to looking into Google’s ranking algorithm. While they don’t give the secret sauce to rank number one on Google, they do offer some incredible insight into what Google views as quality – and not-so-quality – and the types of pages they want to serve at the top of their search results.

Last week, Google made the unprecedented move of releasing the entire Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines, following an analysis of a leaked copy obtained by The SEM Post. While Google released a condensed version of the guidelines in 2013, until last week, Google had never released the full guidelines that the search quality raters receive in their entirety.

First, it’s worth noting that quality raters themselves have no bearing on the rankings of the sites they rate. So quality raters could assign a low score to a website, but that low rating would not be reflected at all in the actual live Google search results.

Instead, Google uses the quality raters for experiments, assessing the quality of the search results when they run these experiments. The guidelines themselves are what Google feels searchers are looking for and want to find when they do a Google search. The type of sites that rate highest are the sites and pages they want to rank well. So while it isn’t directly search algorithm-related, it shows what they want their algos to rank the best.

The document itself weighs in at 160 pages, with hundreds of examples of search results and pages with detailed explanations of why each specific example is either good, bad, or somewhere in between. Here’s what’s most important for SEOs and webmasters to know in these newly-released guidelines.

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