Thursday, June 25, 2020

Google Webmaster Guidelines Change on June 25, 2020 at 05:29 AM

Today Google made four changes to their Webmaster Guidelines.

Helping Google Understand Your Site's Content

For one, under "Help Google understand your pages", Google mentioned a different tool you can use to see how Google understands your site's content: the URL Inspection Tool. You can find this by logging into your Google Search Console account and entering a URL in the top of the page. This will tell you a lot of information about how Google understands that URL. 

In addition, the guidelines continues to mention the robots.txt tester. This tools is also in Google Search Console, but hidden (because it's still part of the old GSC/Webmaster Tools). This tool will help you see if a particular page is "blocked" from Google. Of course, the URL Inspection Tools will do this, as well. 

Google is highlighting these tools over a couple it stopped talking about- which it had already removed from GSC: the "blocked resources" report in and "Fetch as Google". Both of these have been replaced by the URL Inspection Tool (and have been for a while so this is simply updating their guidelines to conform with their current tools).

Qualifying Links

Google also updated their guidelines about qualifying links. This is clarification on the requirement for webmasters to disclose the nature of websites to which they link. Not only should we continue to add the nofollow attribute to advertising links but, if they're sponsored, we should designate these links with the "sponsored" attribute as well.

Nice to See You Again, Matt

Those of you who are new to SEO might not know who Matt Cutts is. He's the former head of web spam for Google. During a time of extreme turmoil in the SEO community- where Google was rolling-out significant updates like Panda and Penguin that ended up hurting a lot of SEO spammers- he was the mouthpiece for Google. 

Google added a link to Matt Cutts video about manual actions and web spam: 

Stop Abusing Markup

Google also changed a reference from rich snippets to schema, in regards to abuse. Google is moving away from rich snippet markup, to encode pages, and encouraging the adoption of schema to help communicate what a page is about. Of course, as with all things SEO, some try to take advantage of loopholes. Clearly, as they did with rich snippets, they're abusing schema. Google wants to be clear that abusing schema markup is equally unacceptable: 

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