In 2002, Google launched a page of guidelines for site owners called "Webmaster Guidelines". This page contained an overview of best practices for building a site.
A lot has changed since 2002, so Google is today launching a refreshed, simplified version of the Webmaster Guidelines. The new name for this page is "Google Search Essentials".
The term "webmaster" is an outdated term and very few people identify with it. The new name highlights the importance of the points covered on these pages.
The Google Search Central team has refreshed their site with a few changes. The goal of the refresh was to simplify the site by moving many of the former guidelines to specific sections where they belong. The team also introduced a categorization of the points covered in the former Webmaster Guidelines. The new categories are as follows:
The technical requirements section covers the bare minimum for getting into Google's search results. However, the team recognizes that there is more to getting a site indexed and served than just meeting these requirements. Therefore, they encourage creators to also think about the key best practices when creating their content.
The spam policies cover common forms of spam and behavior that could lead to a site ranking lower or not appearing at all in Google web search results. Most topics were taken from the former "Quality Guidelines" and other closely related existing guidelines published on Search Central that were originally stand-alone, like malware and hacked content. The new additions and notable modifications are:
- New deceptive behavior related-topics such as misleading functionality
- New section on other behaviors that can lead to demotion and or removal, such as online harassment, and scam and fraud
- Consolidated topics related to link spam
The Google Search Quality team has rewritten the content on their website to address spam and to use more precise language. They have also added more concrete examples that are relevant in 2022. The key best practices for success are a set of practices that the team believes people should consider when creating sites. These best practices can help sites be more easily found through search engines.
Google has recently released a new set of "Search Essentials" documentation, which is designed to be more user-friendly and helpful for webmasters. The Search Essentials page includes information on topics such as improving your website's visibility in Google Search, understanding how search algorithms work, and troubleshooting common issues. If you have any questions about the new documentation, you can leave a comment on Twitter or in the Search Central Help forums. You can also send feedback on the documentation page itself by clicking the "Send Feedback" button.