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Google May Update The Webmaster Guidelines In 2022

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Google May Update The Webmaster Guidelines In 2022

Everyone panic – Google might not just make larger updates to the Google Webmaster Guidelines but also rename the guidelines. Gary Illyes from Google said over time the Webmaster Guidelines have become confusing and somewhat outdated and it does need an update.

He said this in the last Search Off The Record podcast at about 15 minutes into the podcast:

Gary Illyes said the Google Webmaster Guidelines are now more confusing, specifically Google “started putting more stuff into it whenever there was a push for something like, for example, HTTPS that ended up in the Webmaster Guidelines. When it was speed, then it ended up in the Webmaster Guidelines. When there was something else, then it ended up in the Webmaster Guidelines,” he said. “And that’s not necessarily good, because the Webmaster Guidelines is– it should be more about what are the basic requirements for you to get into Search. Speed is not one of them, HTTPS is not one of them, so what are they doing there? And the other thing is that many of the quality guidelines were created, how many years is that? 15 years ago at least. And some of the things that we have in our Webmaster Guidelines don’t even exist anymore,” he added. Other examples he gave were guestbooks are mention and an old SEO software package named WebPositionGold.

How can they be improved, one example he said was “doorway pages.” He said “if you take a look at that page, it explains what doorway pages are, but it’s very general. And for example, if you have a site for every single state in the US, because you have shops in all those states, then technically, that’s a doorway page. But does it violate our guidelines? I don’t know. It depends on other factors, like are you trying to manipulate the search results or not?”

John asked if Google should split up the guidelines or not, he said “I wonder if we should at some point kind of split them off into more technical guidelines, like what you need to do, and separate out the kind of the spam, low quality, manipulative stuff a little bit more. Because then, from a technical point of view, the developers would still have enough to look at and be like, “Oh, I’m fulfilling all of these requirements.”

Gary suggested if Google would update the guidelines it might cause a lot of concern and “people freak out.” He said everyone “will start analyzing the changes, and then they might read something into it that’s not there. And that’s what we want to preempt, ideally.”

They then go through more examples of issues with the current Google webmaster guidelines; stuff around misunderstanding the cloaking issue and how intent really matters. Plus, Google might renamed the Google Webmaster Guidelines to Guideliney McGuidelineFace.

So expect more changes to the Google webmaster guidelines in 2022 but don’t freak out about it.

Forum discussion at Twitter.




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Google Hanukkah Decorations Are Live For 2023

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Google Hanukkah 2023

Hanukkah (aka Chanukah) starts this coming Thursday night, December 7th. Google has added its Hanukkah decorations to the Google Search results interface to celebrate. Google does this every year and I expect to see the same rollout in the coming weeks for Christmas and Kawanzaa but for now, since Chanukah is in the coming days, we have the Hanukkah decorations live at Google Search.

Here is a screenshot of the Chanukah decorations as they look like on the mobile search results.

Google Hanukkah Decorations 2023

You can see it yourself by searching on Google for [chanukah], [hanukkah], but not yet [חֲנוּכָּה‎] or other spelling variations yet but it should soon. It looks better on mobile than it does on desktop results.

To see the past, the 2023 decorations, 2021 decorations, 2020 Chanukah decorations, 2019 Google holiday decorations, the 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and so on.

Happy Chanukah, everyone!

Forum discussion at X.

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Google Pay Accepted Icons In Google Search Results

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Woman Checking Out Store Google Logo

Google seems to be testing a Google Pay Accepted label or icon in the Google search results. This label has the super G logo followed by the words “Pay accepted” words next to search result snippets that support Google Pay and notate such in their structured data.

This was first spotted by Khushal Bherwani who shared some screenshots of this on X – here is one:

G Pay Accepted Google Search

Here are some more screenshots:

Brodie Clark also posted some screenshots after on X:

Google Pay Accepted Google Search

I tried to replicate this but I came up short.

This is not the first time Google had similar icons like this in its search results.

Forum discussion at X.



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Google Discover Showing Older Content Since Follow Feature Arrived

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Dog Astronut Google Logo

Typically, Google Discover shows content that is less than a day old, but it can show content that is weeks, months, or even years old. However, typically, Google will show more recent content in the Discover feed. Well, that may have changed with the new Google follow feature.

Glenn Gabe, who is a very active Google Discover user, noticed that since the Follow feature rolled out, he has been seeing content that is weeks and months old way more often than before the follow feature rolled out. Glenn wrote on X that “this could also be playing a role. i.e. Google isn’t providing as much recent content, but instead, focusing on providing targeted content based on the topics you are following.”

It makes sense that if you follow a specific topic and if Google Discover only shows the most authoritative types of content, it might be hard for Google to find new content on that topic. So it does make sense that Google may show older content more often for that specific topic you follow.

Here are screenshots Glenn shared:

Google Discover Old Stories Follow

Google Discover Old Stories Follow2

Have you noticed this in your Discover feed?

Forum discussion at X.



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