This New Resource Replaces Their Webmasters Guidelines
On October 13, Google announced the release of a replacement to their Webmasters Guidelines, newly named Google’s Search Essentials. While this new list contains a variety of items from the previous document, first published in 2002, it has also been refreshed to with a few more items that they deem important to site owners 20 years later.
Let’s take a look at what they added.
The new technical requirements include guidance on what Google needs from websites in order to show its pages in search results. While most sites will pass these technical requirements without even realizing it, Google lists three things website owners must check:
- Confirm Googlebot isn’t blocked from their site
- Check that the page works, meaning there are no error codes
- Ensure that the page is indexable
Their updated spam policies detail certain tactics or overall site behavior that can lead to your pages losing rank or being removed from search results completely. Notable new or updated topics mentioned in this area include:
- Hacked content
- Link spam
- Malware/Malicious behaviors
- Misleading functionality
- Online harassment
- Scams and fraud
- Thin affiliate pages
Key Best Practices
There are various things you can do as a marketer to enhance your SEO, and for years, Google has published various documentation on their recommended best practices to improve your rankings. Here is a shortened list of some of the new things Google mentioned in this new area of the Search Essentials:
- Publish helpful, reliable, people-first content that uses keywords that users would use to find products or services relevant to your business.
- Ensure your links are crawlable so Google can find additional pages on your site from the links you include on your pages.
- If you have content that you don’t want to be found in search results (ex: PDFs) use appropriate methods such as non-indexing.
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