This weekend Google officially updated it’s Webmaster Guidelines for the first time in some time. The exact date of the last update is not publicly available but anyone who works within the SEO industry will tell you that this is not a regular occurrence.
It is no surprise that these new guidelines were published over the weekend when many SEO professionals and agencies would not typically be working as Google seemingly publishes changes to their documentation and algorithms on unexpected dates with no clear pattern or prior mentions. It appears the intention with these new guidelines being published over the weekend is to catch out SEO professional or marketers who may slightly bend Google’s rules or ignore them completely. This is all speculation of course although there are some logical conclusions to be drawn!
I’ve taken the time to read through the updated guidelines and found the updates to be welcome additions to Google’s official documentation. In essence the guidelines update and reinforce some of Google’s previously mentioned principles and themes regarding quality content, user experience and overall treating the search engine results and search engine users with deserved respect and care. Having worked in the SEO industry for some time and having a background in content writing and studying marketing I personally can fully understand Google’s reasons and motivations for updating their guidelines and see the updates as fair attempts to level the somewhat crowded realm of digital marketing.
Some of the changes were to be expected as technology and the way we browse and search changes over time. Specifically, a considerable change, is the mention of websites that are compatible for mobile browsing on devices such as smartphones and tablets. At JamRock Design we have been creating sites that are easy to access and browse on desktops and all devices for some time and we have been rigorously testing them to ensure they not only work on different devices but also for different operating systems such as iOS and Android. Over the past year or so Google had been drawing attention to this significant development in a number of statements and also by recommending its Mobile Friendly Testing Tool to designers and developers so it comes as little surprise that mobile compatibility and responsive design is now considered a ranking factor in the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
You can read the full, official update to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines here. If you are interested in learning more about how SEO can benefit your business get in touch with a member of Our Team today.