How Google’s Rating Guidelines Can Help Your Dispensary SEO

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines (GQRG) are a set of rules and recommendations that guide the work of Google’s quality raters. The guidelines function as a sort of textbook that instructs quality raters on how to do their work.

Google’s quality raters provide feedback and recommendations to Google in the pursuit of improving the quality, credibility, and trustworthiness of search results. Luckily for marketers and business owners, Google’s rating guidelines are publicly available for you to browse and integrate into your SEO efforts.

By using the guidelines, you will no longer have to guess what Google is looking for in a ‘quality’ website, you can just look it up! Keep reading to find out how you can utilize Google’s rating guidelines to improve your dispensary’s website and boost organic traffic.

How Can You Make The Most Out of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines?

Google’s rating guidelines are not an exact representation of its search algorithm. However, Ben Gomes, Google’s Vice President of Search recently stated in a 2018 interview that the rater guidelines are a representation of where they “want the search algorithm to go”.

By closely following Google’s rating recommendations, you can spot mistakes and improve your website’s SEO performance. The guideline document should be reviewed and understood by your dispensary’s marketing team, and its recommendations should be implemented into the business’s SEO strategy. Doing so will not only help your site right now but will also boost SEO signals in the long-run.

The Importance of Expertise, Authority, And Trust

Google’s rating guidelines are built around the concepts of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (abbreviated to ‘E-A-T’). E-A-T is such an important part of Google’s search algorithm that it is mentioned exactly 186 times throughout the document.

For dispensaries, this means that generating authoritative, useful, educational, credible, and trustworthy content will improve site authority, pushing it up the rankings.

A website’s authority rating is mainly based on the number and quality of incoming links and mentions from more authoritative sites. Over the years, Google’s raters have become extremely good at differentiating between high-quality organic links and low-quality paid links.

Consequentially, paid links can not only drain your bank account but also negatively impact your SEO signals.

Genuine expertise, authority, and trust are hard to fake. As such, it is best to develop a solid, honest, and useful content plan for your dispensary’s website. Adding value to the lives of your visitors and customers will naturally result in a more respected, influential and authoritative website.

Keep An Eye on Reputation And Reviews

When reaching a decision on the authority and credibility of a website, Google’s raters will also consider the reputation of a site or business. As such, managing your online reputation is key to managing your SEO.

For instance, Google’s update that occurred on September 27, 2018, is widely believed to have been about incorporating customer reviews into the search algorithm. As a result, businesses with bad reviews and reputations saw immediate declines in traffic.

google rating guidelines reputation management
In order to determine the reputation of a site or business, quality raters are required to analyze as many customer reviews as possible. While Google has previously indicated that their raters try to avoid third-party review sites, that seems unlikely, if not impossible.

For example, Google’s rating guidelines specifically mention scanning a business’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page for patterns of positive or negative customer reviews. If you are a business with a BBB profile, it is pretty safe to assume that your rating and reviews will affect your Google ranking.

While it may be near impossible to figure out how Google analyzes reviews, or what the exact status of your reputation is, managing reviews is a great way to protect your site and business in the long-run.