[Method] How To Check If Search Engine Evaluators Have Visited Your Site


Senior Member
Aug 31, 2012

Here's a quick tip that will allow you to check if Google's search engine evaluators have visited your site.

In summary:

Create a new custom Google analytics segment that looks like this:


Then set the date range to the last 10 years and check if you have ever had a visit.

if you have had a visit, it will look like this-


If that is the case:

Drill down to the page level (Behaviour > Site content > All pages)

Then set the secondary dimension to “full referrer”-


This will allow you to see exactly which page they reviewed and when.

At this point you should also check how this visit relates to your organic traffic.

If there is a traffic spike you’ve likely passed:


If there is a decrease you may have failed:


But please don't take this as conclusive evidence.

So far I have reviewed 30x sites that confirm there is a pattern worth investigating (more on that in a minute)

And other people are finding similar patterns-


Unfortunately Twitter has become a bit of a sling fest and the conversation devolved into mansplaining and other irrelevant issues.

So I am hoping the BHW community can step up and act maturely.

This is what I have learned so far-
  • All 30 sites showed sharp increases or decreases in organic traffic after a review took place
  • All 30 sites were affected purely on a page level
  • All of these examples span 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • There is no correlation of traffic increases/decreases with known algorithm updates
  • The search engine evaluator team do a great job and in my opinion are 100% right in their decisions of promoting/demoting sites (assuming that is what is actually happening)
This is what I haven’t found yet-
  • A site that received a review and had no significant change in organic traffic
  • An example from 2019
Of course I will be sharing that data in the future.

But for now, I want to be clear-
  • In this moment - many people are seeing similar patterns. This doesn't confirm anything but it does give us an avenue to investigate further
  • This has nothing to do wit Google’s in house web spam team. This purely focuses on the external “quality raters” that Google contracts out to other companies.
What I would like to find more than anything else is a site that received a review but had no significant change in organic traffic.

So please go and setup the custom Google Analytics segment and report back with what you find!

Let's not devolve into the idiocracy of Twitter and let the data do the talking.

Because honestly when I think about it:

I cannot think of 1 ranking signal that SHOULD be stronger than a unanimous decision by a group of humans.

It's how we judge the Olympics, it's how we judge the UFC, it's how we judge criminals...

So why not search results as well?

Please report back with your findings BHW!
Last edited by a moderator:
Very interesting!

I'm sure you'll get some decent feedback here :)

How would they decide which individual pages to review I wonder? Maybe high traffic pages or high CPC term results?
Wow...that is a awesome guide man..let me check

Checking this one on my sites. Thanks

Thanks for this Matthew! Your blog really inspires!

No worrys :)

noob here so this is why some site traffic decrease? from organic ?

We don't know yet

Interesting data, thanks for the share.

I can't believe they don't take care of that ref leak situation, that's really sloppy work.

Well maybe that's why I can't find any examples from 2019 - the latest example I've seen is October 2018

Ayy first post in a few years.. welcome back.

Hopefully to intelligent conversation and not the swosh on Twitter
So literally is a google bot to review your site is it worth to rank whatever ? i might be wrong
Do you think this idea be used to develop a cloaker ?
So literally is a google bot to review your site is it worth to rank whatever ? i might be wrong

You should read the full piece at https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/penalties/search-engine-evaluators/ which explains what search engine evaluators are exactly.

You can have clear picture with log file analysis also

Yes but that is a complex solution that is not neccessary although ironically is how I found the referrals

Awesome method, checking my sites now^^

Amazing share mate <3 much love and respect :)

PLEASE let me know if you find anything!

Do you think this idea be used to develop a cloaker ?

It would have to be referrer based and honestly I think it's better to get a review and pass it then not get a review at all.

What are you guys finding so far?
The Appen side of Appen Butler-Hill does search engine evaluations too. I think it's from the appen.com domain, but I'm not quite sure.
Came back with zero results on 3 of my sites that get 100,000+ monthly Google traffic. Appreciate the share though.

Yes I looked at hundreds of sites to find handfuls of examples

Matthew provides decent stuff


The Appen side of Appen Butler-Hill does search engine evaluations too. I think it's from the appen.com domain, but I'm not quite sure.

Yes I have that side covered in the filter :)

So what are you guys finding?

All the "white hats" are having a melt down!
Zero results on 7 different corporate websites with really high amount of traffic.
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