Google Search Essentials now Replaces Google Webmaster Guidelines
It’s hard to believe that the original Google Webmaster Guidelines are now 20 years old. Today, Google has thoroughly refreshed those guidelines, simplifying them into three sections and renaming them “Google Search Essentials.”
Moreover, Google’s recent refresh of the former “Webmaster Guidelines” is not only to make them easier to understand but also to move away from the term “webmaster” altogether.
If you’re feeling confused or unsure about what’s changed with these updates, this article will help you understand the changes in more detail.
Let’s jump in!
Why Google wants to change its Webmaster Guidelines
In a blog of The history behind Google Webmasters, Google stated:
“Merriam-Webster claims the first known use of the word “webmaster” was in 1993, years before Google even existed. However, the term is becoming archaic, and according to the data found in books, its use is in sharp decline. A user experience study we ran revealed that very few web professionals identify themselves as webmasters anymore. They’re more likely to call themselves Search Engine Optimizer (SEO), online marketer, blogger, web developer, or site owner, but very few “webmasters”.”
This is what GG mentioned earlier about the change.
As they said, The term “webmaster” is outdated, and not many people would identify with it.
That’s why Google wanted a new, more generic name that would encompass all creators on the internet who want their content to be found on Google Search.
Moreover, they wanted the name to highlight the importance of the points covered on these pages. And that’s how they landed on the new name: Google Search Essentials.
What Exactly Has Changed
Google has made several updates to the old Google Webmaster Guidelines but has now decided it is time for a major refresh. Here is an overview of the changes that have been made:
- Name Change
First off, Google has gradually been phasing out the term “webmaster” from its branding over the past few years.
As an example “Google Webmaster Central” has been renamed to “Google Search Central” to reflect that the term “webmaster” is outdated and doesn’t encompass all content creators who want their work to appear in search results.
Besides, Google Search Central is a more accurate name for the platform because it includes a wider range of content creators, not just webmasters.
- Technical requirements
If you’re looking to get your web page into Google Search, there are a few key technical elements you’ll need for it to appear.
Besides, Google has stated that most sites actually pass these technical requirements without much effort. Below is a list of what Google deems as being the technical requirements for a web page to be eligible for search:
- Googlebot isn’t blocked from accessing the site.
- The page must work properly (not an error page).
- The page should have indexable content (read more in File types indexable by Google).
In other words, publish your content in a format that Google can index, and make sure Google can actually access it. And this is the bare minimum for getting a webpage into Google’s index.
However, getting a webpage to rank well takes more work than just meeting the technical requirements. In the next section, we’ll cover some key best practices for ranking your webpage.
- Key Best Practices
Google has published new guidance with key best practices to consider when creating sites and creating content. The guidance is intended to help people create useful content that will help a site be more easily found through Google Search.
Google’s key best practices include the following:
- Creating helpful, reliable, and people-first content.
- Using keywords in titles, headings, and alt text so people can easily find what they’re looking for on your site.
- Make sure links are crawlable so Google can index your site properly.
- Telling people about your site through SEO and other marketing channels.
- Enhancing how your site appears in search results with rich snippets.
- Blocking any content you don’t want to be found in Google Search from Google’s crawlers.
- Spam policies
Google has updated its guidance for the Google Search policies against spam. The new guidance is designed “to help site owners avoid creating content that isn’t helpful for people using Search,” Google said.
Most of the content in these spam policies has already existed on Google Search Central, but Google did make a few additions to provide clearer guidance.
Google’s spam policies include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Hacked content
- Hidden text and links
- Keyword stuffing
- Link spam
- Machine-generated traffic
- Malware and malicious behaviors
- Misleading functionality
- Scraped content
- Sneaky redirects
- Spammy automatically-generated content
- Thin affiliate pages
- User-generated spam
- Copyright-removal requests
- Online harassment removals
- Scam and fraud
The topics discussed on this page are based on Google’s former Quality Guidelines as well as other existing guidelines.
Besides, the content has been rewritten by Google’s Search Quality team in order to provide more specific and relevant examples that are applicable in today’s age.
There you know how it is updated!
To learn more about this change, please refer to Google Search Essentials’ official changelog for further details on the update.
We understand why this change is so important for those in the SEO community. The Webmaster Guidelines have been the go-to resource for SEO best practices for the past two decades. But we also know that times change and that resources need to change with them.
That’s why we’re excited to see the appearance of the new Google Search Essentials. This updated resource will help SEOs, webmasters, site owners, publishers, and anyone who owns or manages a website to stay up-to-date on the latest best practices.
We encourage everyone to review the new Search Essentials and make sure they’re using it as a resource in their work.
EverRanks has compiled the necessary information about Google Search Essentials above. Hopefully, you will be able to use them to implement methods that are truly suitable for bringing good results to your website.
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