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Google Webmaster Guidelines Updated, 2016

10:19 am on Feb 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Last week Google changed its Google Webmaster Guidelines, and you can find the guidelines here. [support.google.com...]

There are a few changes to the guidelines that are worth mentioning.

HTTPS now has a great deal of emphasis
If possible, secure your site's connections with HTTPS. Encrypting interactions between the user and your website is a good practice for communication on the web. Google Webmaster Guidelines 2016 [support.google.com]

Mobile, mobile, mobile.
Design your site for all device types and sizes, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Use the mobile friendly testing tool to test how well your pages work on mobile devices, and get feedback on what needs to be fixed.

Ensure that your pages are useful for readers with visual impairments, for example, by testing usability with a screen-reader.

Content visibility
Make your site's important content visible by default. Google is able to crawl HTML content hidden inside navigational elements such as tabs or expanding sections, however we consider this content less accessible to users, and believe that you should make your most important information visible in the default page view.

If you want to know in detail what's changed in the Google Guidelines you can find an extensive assessment here.
9:00 am on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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engine, thanks for posting this. I'd say that the guidelines are worth rereading for much of the fine print.

One of the sections that struck me as being particularly important was the section on hierarchy. In it, Google changed an old guideline that has over the past few years been the subject of some discussion on WebmasterWorld. The issue has been whether or not urls ought to have a hierarchical structure.

I've been following the approach that's most clearly been formulated by g1smd, that for pages in a site that might have different navigational paths, hierarchical urls in fact could create dupe content problems, and that the real issue was nav structure, not url structure.

The new guideline (my emphasis added) reads...
Design your site to have a clear conceptual page hierarchy.

I think it lays the question to rest. Nav structure is what Google's going to look at, not the directory names in your urls.

As Barry in the Search Engine Roundtable article points out...
This guideline was formerly half of the old Google guideline that stated...

"Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links.

Barry notes that word "conceptual", and I thank him for alerting me to the change. The word "hierarchy" created enough ambiguity that it became a topic of confusion, particularly with regard to breadcrumbs. The most recent and most comprehensive discussion we've had on the issue was in this thread, which cites multiple other discussions we've had...

Rewards and Risks of Changing to Hierarchical URL Structure
August, 2015
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4760622.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Another important discussion on the topic was also last year...

Google Breadcrumbs Structured Data Documentation Updated
June 16, 2015
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4752718.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Much else in the guideline changes worth discussing, but I wanted to emphasize this change in particular.
7:03 pm on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Make your site's important content visible by default.

Thank you, google. As a user it has always riled me when a page comes up in a SERP but when I go there, the expected content is nowhere to be seen.
12:21 pm on Feb 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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joined:Mar 14, 2014
posts: 53
votes: 1

Thank you for the report but i see nothing new ?

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