Hmm… I signed a non-disclosure agreement when I got mine.
Happy Halloween! OK, you caught me. Today is Halloween for me, but you won’t be seeing this until tomorrow. I like to schedule my posts. I write what I can when I can, so it’s always good to have a few posts in the hopper before my week’s work blows up.
Anyway… Here’s what I’m talking about above when I said I had signed a NDA when I got the guidelines.
You see, I’ve been studying to pass their human Google Quality Rater (GQR) test. Well… I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t – twice! Yep. I mean, I consider myself a smart person. I have a college degree from the University of Pittsburgh, which is no slouch school. And I know lots of stuff about SEO and marketing and such, right? Why do I feel so lame? I swear I’m going to pass that thing. It has become a point of honor.
Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines are about clear as mud about some aspects of a page, and so convoluted that it takes hours of time to study for this test, and then, nothing in the test seems to be in the study material. OK, yes. There’s a very loose connection from one to the other, and they are trying to figure out if you have good judgment about such things. I guess what they consider spam and what I consider spam are worlds apart, but I’m interested and am learning. Remember, it’s a point of honor.
I took the test the first time and failed it. It wasn’t a big surprise. In college and all through school, I never studied much. I’m one of those people who kind of glides through academics. (I’m very lucky that way.) I don’t really need to study, so I never did. I know now (when it’s much too late) that I could have done way better with grades and such (which weren’t bad, but…). I didn’t try hard. You see, my mom was old-school, and she just didn’t think that education for women was all that important. Luckily, my dad did, and made sure that I went to college and got my degree. (In Sociology, which has been every so helpful thus far. Well, it helped me to write books, I suppose. Maybe.)
Anyway, I took the GQR test, which they said was open book, right? I figured, “Piece of cake! I’ve never missed with open book. Simple!” Ehhhh…. wrong. Epic fail. (Maybe not epic, but not passing, either.) The frustrating part is that they won’t tell you what you got right and what you got wrong.
So, I figured that was it.
Not so! A couple of days later, I get an email inviting me to take the test again. OK, so I studied this time. I studied like a real student for a few hours! And then, I took the test and STILL failed it! Now, I’m totally figuring I’m toast. Not so… Just got another invite on Sunday. I’m guessing NOBODY passes this test!
Why am I doing it at all?
Because I want to think like Google. It will be very helpful to me to know what makes them tick, right? I mean, I can help my clients do better just because I know better.
Don’t get me wrong, Google isn’t telling me what their algorithm is, and in the video I’m about to show you, human raters aren’t all that important to them. (Yeah, right. That’s why they pay people to do it.) But by being able to see what they think is spammy, off topic, or vital and such is good to know.
What quality raters do is to help Google figure out if their algorithm is working the way they want it to be. Here’s Matt Cutts to explain more, and at about 2:20 into the video, he says, “And we might be able to make those human quality raters’ guidelines that we make available to people at Google, available to the larger world.” And like he says, there aren’t really that many surprises. It’s pretty much what we know, but I’d say they have a more lenient stance on some things that I thought they might.
Keeping all the “do this when that happens”es or if “it’s this, then don’t do that, do this,” or “If b is a and c is d, what’s e?”* is making me nuts. I’m going to pass this test if it makes me crazy. (And it just might.) Keep you posted.
Editor’s note: Part I of the exam passed! And in only THREE tries. Argh. Now, I have to pass Part II. Wish me luck.