Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Google Webmaster Guidelines Change on February 11, 2014 at 11:06PM

This evening Google added a line to it's sidebar navigation, inviting Webmasters "Reasons to verify ownership of your website"
This link brings you to https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1144253?hl=en&ref_topic=1724121 which lists 8 reasons you should verify your website:
  1. Webmaster Tools: Improve your site's performance in Google's organic search results. 
  2. Google Accounts: Unified sign-in for Google products. 
  3. AdPlanner: Get the data to make better-informed advertising decisions. 
  4. Profiles: Control how you appear in Google. 
  5. Blogger: Publish yourself. 
  6. AdSense: Monetize your site by displaying targeted Google ads. 
  7. Apps: Get reliable, secure collaboration tools. 
  8. Merchant Center: Upload product listings to Google.
What is "Profiles"? Google Plus. This is the first time I've seen Google call this product by that name. I don't know if this means anything but it's interesting, at least.

Honestly, I get the feeling like some of these are really thin reasons to verify your website. Sure, Webmaster Tools has a lot of great information and AdPlanner, Adsense and Merchant Center can help you make good money but what does your Blogger account have to do with website verification (full disclosure: this is a Blogger blog). What does your Google Account sign-in have to do with your website?

Let's face it- the whole reason Google wants webmasters to verify their websites is to they can keep track of you. The fact is, if you're willing to break the guidelines with one of your websites, you are probably doing the same with your others.

Really, this is the same reason Google is moving keyword data in to Webmaster Tools. The only people interested in keyword data, rankings, etc. are SEOs. If they know who is actively doing SEO for their website, they know who to watch-out for.

Now this is no problem if you are not attempting to spam the SERPS. But, then again, what might be acceptable now may later be considered spam (cough, guest blogging, cough).

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