A new and updated version of Google's "Spam Recognition Guide for Quality Raters" that surfaced recently. At first I was a little skeptical as to the document's authenticity. After a little "forensic" analysis, I feel reasonably certain the the document is at least partially legitimate. I'm still going through the document but, a few sections seemed worth mentioning. Big hat tip to vizualbod.com.
Interesting confirmation that being "relevant" isn't always the most important issue.
"Some individuals have more than one blog and/or more than one homepage on a social networking site (e.g. myspace, facebook, friendster, mixi). When these pages are maintained by the individual (or an authorized representative of the individual), they are all considered to be Vital."
Hmmm... think social networks are a total waste of time do you?
"A rating of Relevant is assigned to pages that have fewer valuable attributes than were listed for Useful pages. Relevant pages might be less comprehensive, come from a less authoritative source, or cover only one important aspect of the query."
I've always suspected this notion of a total number of "valuable attributes" as being important. As in, more information is better. This factor also comes into play when sites use formats or technology which prevent Google from extracting information used as signals.
"Recognizing true merchants:
Features that will help you determine if a website is a true merchant include:
- a "view your shopping cart" link that stays on the same site and updates when you add items to it,
- a return policy with a physical address,
- a shipping charge calculator,
- a "wish list" link, or a link to postpone purchase of an item until later,
- a way to track FedEx orders,
- a user forum, the ability to register or login,
- a gift registry, or
- an invitation to become an affiliate of that site"
Confirmation that even "quality sites" could be mistaken as other or in some way depreciated if all bases aren't covered.