Revamping the Webmaster Tools Help Center

Monday, June 18, 2007

A while ago, I posted in the Webmaster user group, looking for feedback on our Help Center and how we can improve the assistance we provide to our webmasters. And wow, did we get a lot of feedback - both in the group and in the blogosphere. I'm amazed at the webmaster community and your willingness to share your thoughts with us: thank you!

Here's a selection of what we're hearing:

You want Help to be more discoverable

  • It's not as easy as it should be to find the information you're looking for. You'd like Google to do a better job of surfacing the answers to the most common questions. The browse structure doesn't make it easy for users to find help, and sometimes search depends on users knowing exactly the right term to search for.
  • You like the idea of context-sensitive help - on-the-spot assistance (often shown in a tooltip that appears when you hover over an item) that doesn't require you to click to a different Help page.
  • Right now, it's not clear when new Help information - or new features - are added, and you'd like Google to look at calling these out.

You want Help to be more useful

  • You'd like Google to look at adding videos and graphics
  • You'd like us to providing the kind of information that's relevant to the average webmaster, who may not have a deep knowledge of SEO techniques. You're looking for good and understandable answers to common questions.
  • You'd like us to expand the actual content, and do a much better job in explaining potential reasons why sites may have dropped the rankings.

What's next?

Well, over the next several weeks, we'll be working on lots of changes to the Help Center, both in its content and its organization. We'll be looking at all the feedback we've gotten, and we're taking it very seriously: believe me, I have a long task list for this area. But it can always grow: if you have some great thoughts or ideas, jump into the discussion.