google webmaster quality guidelines october 2012

Google Updates Webmaster Quality Guidelines

Google took to its blog this evening to announce updates to the holy bible its Webmaster Quality Guidelines. The G team were keen to emphasise that the core point remains as it always has – to focus on the user. But it elaborated on some enhancements and modifications to the documentation:

Google Updates Webmaster Quality Guidelines October 2012

Short and sweet – Google’s announcement about its updated Webmaster Quality Guidelines.

Updates on Link Schemes

At the risk of sounding like a cynic, the updated link schemes content is basically ‘same sh*t, different wording.’ Allow me to sum up:

  • Don’t buy links
  • Don’t sell links

Essentially, as has always been the case, Google doesn’t want advertising to influence search rankings, as the search giant goes as far as stipulating in its updated basic guidelines.

Examples of activities specifically ‘outlawed,’ include:

  • Low quality directories and social bookmarking sites
  • Links in articles with ‘little coherence.’ There’s a lovely little example given as well.
  • ‘Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites.’ (Big G is looking at you web developers and SEOs with your exact match non-brand keyword anchor text in the footer of all your clients’ sites ;-))

Again, they’re not rewriting the rule book here. It’s just a refresh.

Rich Snippets Guidelines

Now this, I do like. I think this is a really valuable addition. The Rich Snippets Guidelines are a logical addition to the quality guidelines. When used correctly (and not used to spam SERPs with fake reviews and crap like that) rich snippets are awesome. I really hope Google does action rich snippet spam sooner rather than later, though.

Pierre Far did address the issue at SMX London back in May, confirming that they are aware of people using rich snippets manipulatively, but that rather than take action against individual websites, they’d rather work out how to keep rich snippet abusers in check algorithmically. Makes sense.

Go Have a Gander

As always, it’s worth reading any documentation Google is prepared to give the community in around quality and search rankings. But don’t expect anything revolutionary. The main message is the same: we want to give our users the best quality and most relevant results for their search. So while the guidelines have been refreshed, there have been no wholesale changes.

Go check ’em out!