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Google Search Essentials Replaces The Google Webmaster Guidelines

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Google May Update The Webmaster Guidelines In 2022

Google has replaced the Google Webmaster Guidelines with the Google Search Essentials. The name change is Google’s ongoing efforts to remove the term “webmaster” so that these tools and documentation do not narrow the focus to just “webmasters,” but expands it to publishers, site owners, developers, creators, and so on.

Before I even started blogging (which was in 2003), Google launched the Google Webmaster Guidelines back in 2002 – yes, two decades ago. The name stuck for 20 years but now Google decided it was time to change the name and refresh the guidelines in a very big way.

What Changed

Google changed more than just the name, Google also changed the overall format, added clearer terms and examples and also tried to simplify them for easier consumption. Google explained they updated the:

  • Technical requirements: It is a new section to help people understand how to publish content in a format that Google can index and access.
  • Spam policies: Google updated its guidance for its policies against spam, to help site owners avoid creating content that isn’t helpful for people using Google Search. Google explained that most of the content in these spam policies has already existed on Google Search Central in the “Quality Guidelines”, Google did make a few additions to provide clearer guidance and concrete examples for issues like deceptive behavior, link spam, online harassment, and scam and fraud.
  • Key best practices: Google published new guidance with key best practices that people can consider when creating sites, to create content that serves people and will help a site be more easily found through Google Search.

The new spam section has content on:

  • 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 and thin content

Drilling in, here is the list of changes from Google:

SEO Community Diving In

Here are some of the observations made from the SEO community on the changes here, mostly from Marie Haynes and Glenn Gabe:

Forum discussion at Twitter.



Source: www.seroundtable.com

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Daily Search Forum Recap: May 29, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google Business Profiles is dropping the chat feature and call history on July 31st. Google is working on surfacing the site you search for in Google Search :). Google AI Overviews click data studies conflict. Google Business Profiles now shows why product uploads fail. Also, Google Discover feeds are not loading for some searchers.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Business Profile Call History & Chat Going Away


    Google will be removing the call history reports and the Chat feature within Google Business Profiles on July 31, 2024. Google said, “We acknowledge this may be difficult news,” but added, “We occasionally have to make difficult decisions.”

  • Google Search Working To Surface Site When Site Name Is Referenced In Query


    There have been a number of complaints that when you search for a query and the site name, Google doesn’t always show results from the site you mentioned in the query. But Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, said the Google Search team is working on adjusting that so the site mentioned in the query is surfaced higher in the search results.

  • Two Conflicting Google AI Overview CTR Studies


    In the past couple of weeks, we had two blog posts published on the topic of the click through rates from the new Google AI Overviews to publishers compared to those clicks to publishers prior to the AI Overviews going live. And guess what – the studies conflict with each other.

  • Google Discover Feed Not Loading For Some Searchers


    Over the past few days, some Google users are complaining that the Google Discover news feed is not loading. It seems many of these users are on Pixel devices but I am not sure if this is only impacting Pixel users.

  • Google Business Profiles Shows Product Rejection Details


    Google Business Profiles can now show you why your uploaded products were rejected by the system. I guess previously Google did not do this but now Google can show you the reason why your products were not processed properly by Google Business Profiles.

  • Google Education Cards


    Here are a bunch of Google colored cards or badges that are part of some sort of Google Education event held in Brazil. Each card has a different Google service or product and they are in blue, red, yellow and green.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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Google Search Ranking Volatility Over The Memorial Day Weekend

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Google Logo Explode

While I highly doubt Google pushed an algorithmic change over Memorial Day, there was a significant spike in chatter in the SEO community and the third-party Google Search tracking tools are showing volatility. Yes, traffic can be weird and lower on Memorial Day – I get that – but there seems to be more movement than normal.

So, was there a Google Search ranking update over Memorial Day weekend? Let me share what I am seeing but before I do.

Just a reminder that we saw Google ranking volatility around May 22nd, May 16th, May 9th, May 3rd and April 25th. Before that the March 2024 core update started on March 5th and ended on April 19th, 45 days later. It has been a busy month.

SEO Chatter

I began seeing chatter at WebmasterWorld on Sunday, May 26th and the chatter continued on through yesterday. Here is some of what was said in the forums:

Wow, I am seeing a 70% drop in traffic to my site’s homepage this weekend. Now a drop is normal on holiday weekends, but certainly not 70%….what’s up with that?

Very poor weekend for my global site at 60% yesterday and so far today after 20 hours at 40%. I expect tomorrow to be equally low.

UK hotel site ended up yesterday after a very slow start and has been extremely busy today as hoped for with food and live music.

What a strange weekend. Saturday traffic from Google collapsed, Sunday a strong increase, today so far 1 hour a lot of traffic, one hour as good as nothing, this has been going on since 6 am. I give up trying to understand that.

For me too, a little bit down again at the weekend. It goes down, down and down. Nobody knows why or why. I’m slowly but surely coming to terms with the fact that this topic no longer has a future. 🙁

Oh wow, there is life after Google. My traffic overnight is +140%. Bringing me back to, almost, where I was. I think a few new articles went viral but Google, was -20%. So none of this increased traffic was sent from them. Nice! After months and weeks of solid decline I now see an increase. Now to try and maintain it.

Traffic back to normal for me today which surprised me a little.

It is a holiday weekend in the UK therefore I went out for a few beers last night and it really did shock me. Several pubs were already closed and the normally really busy pubs were all absolutely dead … Were all the supposed 20 million car journeys happening last night?

I also saw some chatter on this site:

I thought Google would leave it alone on memorial day but seems there is now shuffling in my niche anyway. It was actually awfully quiet for a few days with pretty much no changes in the rankings. But it’s starting again. It’s just sick. I don’t get why the rankings shuffle so much day to day. I have read the theories here and they seem correct. Could be A/B testing. Who even knows.

Someone is feeling a difference during this weekend?

Glenn Gabe also spotted changes, he wrote, “Well, add 5/26 to the list. I’m seeing some confirmed surges in rankings across sites I have access to. And these are sites also impacted by the March core update.”

And more:

Google Tracking Tools

As you can see, most of these tools have been super heated and showing a lot of Google ranking volatility over the past week.

Semrush:

Semrush

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Mozcast:

Mozcast

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Mangools:

Mangools

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

Algoroo:

Algoroo

What did you all see this weekend?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.



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Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy Is Not Algorithmic Yet

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Google Robot Police

Google has once again said that its enforcement of the site reputation abuse policy is still only being done through manual actions and not algorithmically. Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liasion, said this on X yesterday, “We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse.”

Sullivan added that “when we do, we’ll be very clear about that.” Meaning, when Google starts to enforce the site reputation abuse policy through algorithmic means, Google will announce it somewhere. Likely on the its search status page.

As a reminder, Sullivan said this on May 6th on X, as we covered back then. He wrote then, “we’re only doing manual actions right now. The algorithmic component will indeed come, as we’ve said, but that’s not live yet.” So the algorithmic component 18 days later is still not live.

Sullivan added:

Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons. The actions currently only also impact the content being actions, not the entire site, as the action notices I believe make clear.

This was in response to some SEOs saying that the site reputation abuse policy is algorithmic now. Google is saying no, it is not.

Here is that post:

Google did say the site reputation abuse policy would be enforced both algorithmically and through manual actions but when it first went live, it was only enforced using manual actions.

As a reminder, site reputation abuse “is when third-party pages are published with little or no first-party oversight or involvement, where the purpose is to manipulate Search rankings by taking advantage of the first-party site’s ranking signals,” Chris Nelson from the Google Search Quality team wrote. This includes sponsored, advertising, partner, or other third-party pages that are typically independent of a host site’s main purpose or produced without close oversight or involvement of the host site, and provide little to no value to users, he explained.

Here is more commentary on this topic from yesterday:

I should add, there is a lot of confusion around a lof of the ranking volatility over the past few weeks. There was a lot of unconfirmed Google updates in the past few weeks that really shuffled things around in the Google search results.

Forum discussion at X.



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