Everyone’s panicking – Google may not only be making major updates to the Google Webmaster Guidelines, they’re also renaming the guidelines. Google’s Gary Illyes said that over time the Webmaster Guidelines had become confusing and a bit outdated and needed updating.
He said this in the last Look for Off The Record podcast about 15 minutes into the podcast:
Gary Illyes said Google’s webmaster guidelines are more confusing now, specifically when there was a push for something like HTTPS that ended up in the webmaster guidelines, Google “started putting more stuff into it. When it came to speed, then it ended up listed in the Webmaster Guidelines. If there was anything else, it ended up in the Webmaster Guidelines,” he said. “And that’s not necessarily a good thing, because the webmaster guidelines are — it should be more about what the basic requirements are for you to start searching. Speed isn’t one of them, HTTPS isn’t one of them, so what are they doing? there? And the other thing is that a lot of the quality guidelines were made, how many years is that? At least 15 years ago. And some of the things that we have in our webmaster guidelines don’t even exist anymore,” he added. Other examples he gave were guest books and an old SEO software package called WebPositionGold.
How can they be improved, an example he said was “door sides”. He said, “If you look at this page, it explains what doorway pages are, but it’s very general. then this is technically a doorway page. But is it against our policies? I dont know. It depends on other factors like how do you try to manipulate the search results or not?”
John asked whether or not Google should split the policy. He said: “I wonder if at some point we should split them up into more technical guidelines, like what you need to do and separate the type of spam, low-quality, manipulative stuff a little bit more, because then we’d have.” the developers technically still have enough to look at and say, “Oh, I meet all of those requirements.”
Gary suggested that if Google updated the guidelines, it could raise a lot of concern and “freak people out”. He said everyone “will start analyzing the changes, and then they might read something into it that’s not there. And ideally we want to prevent that.”
Then they go through more examples of issues with the current Google Webmaster Guidelines. Things misunderstanding the camouflage issue and how intent really matters. Also, Google may have renamed the Google Webmaster Guidelines to Guideliney McGuidelineFace.
So expect more changes to Google’s webmaster guidelines in 2022, but don’t freak out about it.
forum discussion below Twitter.