I was just rereading Google’s newest Quality Rater Guidelines in ligh tof the local business websites I am usually working with. You can find the complete document here: http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf
Google making these publicly available is something new. In the past these have either been “leaked” or “discovered” by non-Googlers and spread around the internet. Perhaps Google’s actually figured out that giving us useful information is a good thing.
For the first time, Google mentions local business websites and uses some in explicit examples with explanations
This document also talks about the differing expectations it has of different types of sites, including big brand vs small, local business sites.
It discusses not just the website’s reputation, but the business’ reputation, too. It explains how businesses with good reputations should be given higher ratings and how those with poor reputations should never receive the highest ratings, even if they have great websites.
These guidelines reflect many of the algorithm changes that we’ve experienced in the past 3-4 years and I recommend that everyone reads them several times. Look at the rating examples and read the explanations for them. Have everyone on your staff study them and conduct in-house training. Google has given us valuable insight. Don’t ignore it.
Please add any comments or advice you may have regarding these latest Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines in this thread.