SEO: What Exactly is Google’s Needs Met Rating?

SEO: What is Google's Needs Met Rating?
Have you had your needs met? We’re not talking about your basic needs of food, shelter, and safety. Nor are we talking about if you’ve received a great level of service in a hotel or space. We’re talking SEO.

Google’s Needs Met Rating

Google employs a ton of people all around the world to do specific searches and to report back to them on how well Google met their needs. Hmmm, it sounds like a dream job, I’ll be looking into how to get hired by them. These search engine quality evaluators, still sounds like a dream job, are given guidelines. These are publicly available and you can read them if you feel like going through 200 pages of specific recommendations. There are several options when it comes to the needs met rating. 

Fully Meets (FullyM)

The criteria for this special rating category are that the query and user need must be specific and clear. Being unambiguous is also a factor. And, the result that shows up must be fully satisfying for mobile users. To elaborate, the user shouldn’t have to use more than the most minimal of efforts to get or use what they’re looking for. Also, most users should be satisfied with the result. In a manner of speaking, a Fully Meets rating should be for a perfect result and the user shouldn’t have to look for other results. 

Highly Meets (HM)

This ranking is given to the results that meet the needs of the majority of users, but aren’t as all encompassing as they could be. They’re not bad at all and are a good fit for the search query. Also, they have the characteristics of being of high quality, authoritative, and/or recent. Most importantly, they must be accurate and highly credible. I feel like we used the word, or form of it, highly quite a lot in this section. 

Moderately Meets (MM)

The ‘moderately meets’ rating is given to results that help and satisfy some, or at least many, users. They fit the search requirements to a certain degree, but tend to lack some valuable attributes that qualify them for a ‘highly meets’ rating. They’ll fit the query, but they might not be as up to date, comprehensive, or as authoritative. As the name implies, they’re average or even good. 

Slightly Meets (SM)

This needs met rating of ‘slightly meets’ is usually given to results that help and satisfy just some or a few users. It’s funny that the terms help and satisfy still apply. They are usually low quality, outdated, might be inaccurate, either too broad or specific, or lacking in some other area. For example, let’s say you searched for “SEO strategies”, which is a vague query to be fair, but still if the results are old then they should qualify as ‘SM’. SEO strategies are constantly evolving as the technology used by Google continues to develop. The older results may be what some people are looking for and maybe they aren’t. 

Fails to Meet (FailsM)

Pretty straightforward if you ask me. This rating is given to results that do “NOT” help or satisfy any, or very few, users. The results turn up unrelated to the search query, they’re factually incorrect, and most users would search again and want to see additional results. Or, they could be results that are completely outdated and are nearly impossible to use on a mobile device. They could also contain malware, malicious download pages, phishing, or are otherwise untrustworthy. 

Are Your Needs Being Met?

The concept of “needs met” is a way to basically grade the quality of search results for the search terms that are used. The key message is that human behavior needs to be studied in order to make this criteria useful. If you focus your efforts and attention on better understanding consumer search behavior, you’ll be better able to develop a winning SEO strategy.