Google is using human ‘quality raters’ to help teach its algorithms how to recognise potentially offensive or upsetting content. The end game of this activity is to prevent such content crowding out more accurate, factual and trustworthy information going forward.
The 10,000 strong team of worldwide quality raters isn’t a new initiative though. This large group of contractors has been helping Google improve the quality of its search results for some time. And the way they do it isn’t exactly rocket science.
These raters are given a list of Google searches to manually perform. They then rate the quality of the websites that appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) using a set of 200-page guidelines.
However, the quality raters do not have the ability to directly alter Google’s search results. Instead, their ratings are used to teach and further refine the search engine’s algorithms. Over time, a website flagged by a quality rater as “low quality” may find its search rank impacted as a result.
Focus now on upsetting/offensive content
The set of guidelines used by the quality raters has now been updated with an entirely new section on upsetting-offensive content. Up until now, quality raters were not able to rate pages against such criteria.
Here’s an example provided by Google to show how two different websites focusing on similar topics should be rated oppositely:
All the major search engines are under increasing pressure to improve their user experiences and ensure that the best/most relevant content is always served up when a search is performed. Unfortunately, they are fighting a long, drawn out battle.
But that’s always going to be the case. Take fake news sites, for example. They are so ubiquitous now that Google faces a constant struggle to demote them down the search rankings.
One thing is for sure though: Google is still paying a huge amount of attention to content – both good and bad. That’s why your website, blog, etc. all need to be shining in Google’s eyes.