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Google Webmaster Change

Google renames and simplifies SEO guidelines

Google Webmaster Change

Google renames and simplifies SEO guidelines

Google has given its Webmaster Guidelines a refresh, including a brand new name.

The primary resource for best practices in search engine optimisation (SEO), the guidelines have been renamed Google Search Essentials as the search giant looks to simplify its recommendations and make them more accessible to non-experts.

Why the change of name?

Google seems to be looking to move away from the term “webmaster”, continuing a theme from seven years ago, when the tool we now know as Google Search Console was called Google Webmaster Tools. Writing for Search Engine Land, Barry Schwartz suggests the word has fallen out of usage over the years – a claim that would appear to be backed up by looking at worldwide Google search volumes for “webmaster” since 2015:

Google Trends Webmaster
Google Trends Webmaster

The name change appears to be in keeping with a more accessible guide to good SEO practices that can be used by people with or without a high level of knowledge on the subject. When visiting the refreshed guidelines, users can immediately see what the technical requirements are for a website Google is able to index. There are only three of these – avoiding blocking its crawlers, indexable content and a working page – although Google stresses these are the minimum requirements.

Visitors can also see updated and clarified guidance on spam policies. Reading through this is unlikely to reveal anything new to anyone who was already aware of good and bad practices, but Google says it has attempted to give clearer guidance, illustrated by examples of keyword stuffing, link spam and other SEO no-nos. This section also addresses artificial intelligence (AI), explaining that automated text of no value that has not been reviewed by humans is considered “spammy”.

Finally, a new section on key best practices can be found, balancing out the guidance on what website owners shouldn’t do with some suggestions for what they could do.

It’s useful for any business owner with a website to have a basic familiarity and understanding of Google Search Essentials, but putting it into practice takes time and research many business owners don’t have. For expert assistance on bringing more traffic, leads and sales to your website, get in touch with us at Engage Web.

John Murray

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