Refreshed guidelines for site owners

Thursday, October 13, 2022

In 2002 we launched a page with a set of guidelines for site owners that gave an overview of best practices when it came to building a site. We called this page "Webmaster Guidelines" and it's been with us ever since. Since then we added a lot of information to these guidelines to help site owners build the site that's right for their users who visit through Google Search.

A lot has changed since 2002, so today we're launching a refreshed, simplified version of the Webmaster Guidelines, and we're changing its name as well.

Googlebot writing the Search Essentials on a laptop while Crawley reads a book

Introducing the Google Search Essentials

We moved away from using the term "webmaster" in the name of this site (stop looking: it's Search Central) and the only remainder was the "Webmaster Guidelines". As we mentioned previously, "webmaster" is an outdated term and very few people identify with it. For the new name we wanted something generic, something that's not focusing on just one slice of our visitors, but rather all creators on the internet who wish to see their content in Google Search. We also wanted the new name to highlight the importance of the points covered on these pages. That's how we landed on the new name: Google Search Essentials.

What's changed

The refresh comes with a few changes. Since the whole Search Central site is, by definition, a set of guidelines and best practices, we simplified the site by moving many of the former guidelines to specific sections where they belong. Then, we introduced a categorization of the points covered in the former Webmaster Guidelines:

A new focused section on the technical requirements

The technical requirements are few and simple: publish content in a format that Google can index, and allow Google to access that content. This is the bare minimum for getting into Google's search results; we do realize however that there's more to getting your site indexed and served, and we encourage creators to also think about the key best practices. <