Thursday, July 22, 2021

Google Webmaster Guidelines Change on July 22, 2021 at 07:53 AM

While Google's guidelines did not change, they did add some additional information to their Search Central documentation that might be helpful to you.

New guidelines around thin content

Thin content is not a new topic for SEOs- as confirmed by the old Matt Cutts video in the new thin content guidelines. Clearly Google felt it helpful to add some additional guidelines on thin content to their documentation. 

This is important because every time I tell a client, "you need more content on a page" they say, "we don't have time or resources to do it" and they frequently cut corners in producing content. Here's the proof (from Google) that they shouldn't do it. 

Of course, this is also a warning to SEOs who are still using the archaic strategy of building a page for every keyword they can think of. This is clearly a "doorway page" and called-out as thin content on their documentation.

Updated information about redirects

I think, for the last several years, Google has been sending mixed-messages about redirects. Someone at one time suggested that Google doesn't care whether or not you use a 301 or a 302 redirect. Those of us in the know, always knew that a 301 is better than a 302. It's nice to see Google confirm this inn their new redirect guidelines. They even added a note about a 308 redirect- which Google treats like a 301. 

Debugging your website with search operators

The third thing Google added to their documentation was guidance on how to debug site indexing items using search operators. This is nothing new to experienced SEOs- who have been using the site: and cache: operators for a while. A new operator (to me, at least) regards images. You can use this to detect hotlinking or images of a particular size. This could be very helpful to your link building ("Hey, you're using my image. Why not link to me as the source?") and your work with the Core Web Vitals (this image is too big).

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