Google has quietly updated their Webmaster Guidelines document, which is one of the first places webmasters should go when learning about SEO best practices and dos and don’ts.
Google updated the general guidelines section of the document, expanding on examples about how to help Google find your web pages, how to give them better ideas on what those pages are about and how to make web pages that are good for your website visitors. The quality guidelines section of the page has not been updated.
Google also removed a line in the first section. The section read:
Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the “Quality Guidelines.”
Now Google has removed the “even if you chose not to implement any of these suggestions” wording:
Following the General Guidelines below will help Google find, index, and rank your site.
We strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the Quality Guidelines below…
Again, the quality guidelines did not change yet, but the general guidelines did get a pretty big overhaul. I went through them line by line, and nothing stands out as being mind-blowing. Google did go through the effort of adding a lot more content to this section, giving more examples, links to resources and reorganizing the list to coincide with what is most important to the end user.
I have taken before and after screen shots of the web page so you can compare them for yourself:
Before (also see it on the Google Cache while it lasts):
Google revamped their Webmaster portal section the other week. This may be a continuation of those efforts.
Google has made many changes to the webmaster guidelines section over time. Here are some of those:
- Google Webmaster Guidelines Update Calls “Low Quality Guest Blog Posts” Spam
- Google Updates & Details Webmaster Guidelines
- Google Updates Their Webmaster Guidelines To Include Details On Rich Snippet Abuse
- Google Updates Documentation & Guidelines On Moving A Site
- Google Updates Link Scheme Webmaster Guidelines
- Google Expands Webmaster Documentation Around Reconsideration Requests