Just last week, someone leaked version five of Google’s revamped resource, the Quality Rating Guideline. This doc, which provides insights into how Google approaches their search engine algorithm and what it takes to be a top ranked site, has been uncovered in years past (2008, 2011, 2012); however sources say that this version is not just another updated edit, but a brand new document slated from scratch.
The guidelines are still posted in full on scribd.com at the time of writing, so you can breeze through all 160 pages if you pay for a daily, monthly or annual membership. Otherwise, Jennifer Slegg posted a very thorough recap of the text on her blog.
The one takeaway from version five is that the “E-A-T Test” Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness has become Google’s official new mantra. If your site is lacking in any these attributes, apparently that’s reason enough for Google’s third-party raters to give your page a low quality score. That said, this document was officially published internally three months ago, meaning most of the “highlights” of the QRG are really just confirmations of what most SEO experts have been touting since the first Panda update: cut the cord on spammy or questionable practices, and instead work towards publishing quality content that users are actively searching for and engaging with.