Latest documentation updates

This page details the latest major updates made to the Google Search Central documentation.

February 2024

February 20

Added support for product variants

What: Added new product variant structured data documentation. Also added a new isVariantOf property to the product structured data documentation and clarified that Google support product variants with distinct URLs.

Why: To better support product variant scenarios for ecommerce sites. Since product variants can be a complex and important concept for ecommerce websites (especially for categories like apparel and electronics), we're providing more examples and guidance on how to add product variant structured data.

Clarified return fees markup for products

What: Clarified when to use FreeReturn versus ReturnShippingFees as value for returnFees for product returns in the product structured data documentation.

Why: To better support more granular shipping and return fee scenarios.

February 15

Clarifying the extraction of rel="canonical" annotations

What: Clarified that rel="canonical" annotations with certain attributes are not used for canonicalization.

Why: The rel="canonical" annotations help Google determine which URL of a set of duplicates is the canonical. Adding certain attributes to the link element changes the meaning of the annotation to denote a different device or language version. This is a documentation change only; Google has always ignored these rel="canonical" annotations for canonicalization purposes.

February 9

Clarifying the use of spaces in product SKUs

What: Clarified what characters are allowed in product SKUs in the Product structured data documentation.

Why: To better explain why a sku value might be invalid in the Rich Results Test.

Image removals documentation refresh

What: Part of our ongoing efforts to keep our documentation accurate, we updated the documentation for image removals with more precise language, and addressed some documentation feedback.

Why: We review and, if necessary, refresh our documentation periodically. This update is part of that process.

February 8

Updated the availability of Web Stories

What: Updated the feature availability of Web Stories.

Why: To make sure our documentation aligns with how the feature appears in Google Search. Web Stories don't appear in Google Images anymore, and the grid view is now a carousel view in Search results.

Updated the description of the Google-Extended product token

What: With the name change of Bard to Gemini Apps, we clarified that Gemini Apps is affected by Google-Extended, and, based on publisher feedback, we specified that Google-Extended doesn't affect Google Search.

February 7

Updated Dynamic Search Ad targets crawl frequency

What: Updated the crawl frequency for Dynamic Search Ad targets in the managing crawl budget guide.

Why: To reduce stress on sites, Dynamic Search Ads crawls now occur less frequently, 21 days instead of 14 days.

February 6

Revisited JavaScript documentation

What: Reviewed our guidance on JavaScript SEO basics, fixing Search-related JavaScript problems, lazy-loading content to remove outdated or unnecessary information. We updated our documentation on dynamic rendering to clarify it's a deprecated workaround.

Why: Feedback from you showed us there are opportunities to improve and clarify a few aspects. A few things, like dynamic rendering, have evolved in the past few years and our documentation now reflects these developments.

February 5

A new case study

What: Added a new case study about how How Wix generated value for their users by integrating Google APIs.

Why: To explain how a CMS platform can integrate Google APIs directly into their UI, and what impact it had for their users.

February 2

Revamping the SEO Starter Guide

The SEO Starter Guide got a refresh: we removed outdated content, streamlined and simplified other parts, and added a few sections. Check out our blog post for more in-depth explanation on what we changed and why.

January 2024

January 25

Refreshing the Googlebot documentation

What: Part of our ongoing efforts to keep our documentation accurate, we updated the documentation for Googlebot with more precise language. There was no actionable change to the documentation otherwise.

Why: We review and, if necessary, refresh our documentation periodically. This update is part of that process.

January 10

More accessible anchor texts

What: Part of our ongoing efforts to make our documentation more accessible, we updated various anchor texts so they're more descriptive of the target page.

Why: Depending on the settings of a screen reader, the user may be jumping from link to link on a page, thus each anchor text on a page should be descriptive, even without the surrounding context.

January 9

Switching @id references to use hashtags

What: Switch all structured data code examples that use in-page @id references to use hashtags instead. For example, the clips example in our recipe documentation.

Why: It's a schema best practice to use hashtags as resolvable in-page node identifiers in RDF, and we want our examples follow best practices. However, you don't need to change your existing IDs if you're still using in-page identifiers.

Adding support for suggestedAge to Product

What: Added support for the suggestedAge property as an alternative to suggestedMaxAge and suggestedMinAge. Clarified the list of possible values for age ranges in our Product structured data documentation.

Why: We want to make it easier and more flexible for people to specify age ranges for a product. Also, the previous wording was confusing and didn't map well to the Merchant Center documentation about product age ranges.

January 5

Clarifying primary source of snippets

What: Clarified in our documentation about snippets that the primary source of the snippet is the page content itself.

Why: The previous wording incorrectly implied that structured data and the meta description HTML element are the primary sources for snippets.

2023

December 2023

November 2023

October 2023

September 2023

August 2023

July 2023

June 2023

May 2023

April 2023

March 2023

February 2023

January 2023

2022

December 2022

November 2022

October 2022

September 2022

August 2022

July 2022

  • July 19: Standardized how we refer to headings and title text on the page. Previously we used the word headline, but that can be confusing in other languages.
  • July 13: Updated the User Agent string for AdsBot Mobile Web. If you hardcoded the old value in your code, update the string to avoid potential bugs.
  • July 7: Added a new page for Google Search ranking updates. This is not new information; it's a compiled list of things we've previously confirmed on our blog or on Twitter.
  • July 6: Reorganized the navigational structure to be based on topic instead of level. Removed duplicate guides that were aimed at basic or beginner level, as these documents were duplicating guidance already explained in the SEO Starter Guide.
  • July 4: Clarified that you must add three courses to be eligible for the Course rich result. This is not a new requirement; it was previously only documented in the Carousel documentation.

June 2022

May 2022

  • May 31: Removed the Job training structured data documentation. We initially tested this markup with a group of site owners, and ultimately found that it wasn't useful for the ecosystem at scale. This change doesn't affect any other features that may use Job training markup. You can leave the markup on your site so that search engines can better understand your web page.
  • May 22: Added transparency guidelines for video thumbnails. Ensure that at least 80% of your thumbnail pixels have little or no transparency to enable video indexing.

April 2022

  • April 14: Consolidated our How Search Works documentation for site owners by merging the basic, beginner, and advanced versions into one central document. While we cleaned up the language slightly, we haven't added anything new to the How Search Works documentation.

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

December 2021

  • December 16: Converted our old blog post about intrusive interstitials into guidelines. There are no substantial changes compared to what we have in the blog post.
  • December 1: Added Write high quality product reviews to bring together advice from several blog posts.

November 2021

October 2021

  • October 28: Removed the following structured data fields from documentation, since they are unused by Google Search and Rich Result Test doesn't flag warnings for them:
    • HowTo: description.
    • QAPage: mainEntity.suggestedAnswer.author, mainEntity.dateCreated, mainEntity.suggestedAnswer.dateCreated, mainEntity.acceptedAnswer.author, mainEntity.acceptedAnswer.dateCreated, and mainEntity.author .
    • SpecialAnnouncement: provider, audience, serviceType, address, and category.
  • October 15: Added a requirement that the author.name field in Review snippets must be less than 100 characters to be eligible for use in Search features.
  • October 13: Clarified that VideoGame is not a valid node type for Software Apps. To make sure that your Software App is still eligible for a rich result appearance, co-type the VideoGame type with another supported type.
  • October 8: Updated our documentation about titles and snippets in Google Search results. There are now two separate documents that explain each of these search result features:

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

  • July 30: Added technical, content, and quality guidelines to the Math solver guidelines and removed solution page markup instructions to make it easier for site owners to get their math solver site on Search. It is fine to remove any existing solution page markup.
  • July 29: Added a new case study about how MX Player boosted organic traffic 3x by maximizing video discoverability on Google.
  • July 28:
    • Removed guidance about hosting multiple factchecks per page. To be eligible for the single fact check rich result, a page must only have one ClaimReview element.
    • Added details about signed exchange cache lifetime.
  • July 26: Added a requirement that priceRange fields in Local business must be less than 100 characters to be eligible for use in Search features.
  • July 22:
    • Added example use cases for the FAQ guideline about hidden content on the page. The user must be able to access the answer on the page, and clicking an expandable section to view the answer is a valid use case.
    • Removed the @id property from the Local business documentation. The url property alone is a sufficient identifier to understand the local business.
  • July 21: Added a set of new documentation about Google search operators.
  • July 13: Added a new editorial guideline to the JobPosting documentation. Added a new optional property for directApply.

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

  • April 19: Added new documentation for how to Get started with signed exchanges on Google Search. Learn more about the signed exchange (SXG) announcement in our blog post.
  • April 8: Added a new quality guideline to the Discover documentation. Discover focuses on interest-based feeds (for example, articles and videos), and filters out content that might confuse readers (for example, Discover might not recommend job applications, petitions, forms, code repositories, or satirical content that's removed from its original context).
  • April 7: Updated the Video structured data documentation to state that the thumbnailUrl property must use one of the supported Google Images file formats. Previously, the documentation didn't include WebP and SVG.
  • April 1: Clarified the key moments feature. Google Search tries to automatically detect the segments in your video and show key moments to users, without any effort on your part. Alternatively, there are two ways that you can manually tell Google which timestamp and label to use: Clip structured data and updating the description of a YouTube video.

March 2021

  • March 29: Removed the interest form for the Key moments feature. The feature remains in development with a select group of providers, but the program is no longer accepting submissions.
  • March 25: Added new structured data documentation for practice problems and math solvers.
  • March 24:
  • March 17: Updated the video best practices to more clearly emphasize the important guidelines. Removed duplicate content and updated the screenshots.
  • March 16: Based on user feedback, we added more examples for the max-snippet robots meta rule, and also specified for each tag what Google's default behavior is when the tags are omitted.
  • March 11: Added new beta properties to the JobPosting structured data documentation. You may not see any appearance or effect in Google Search right away, as we are still developing how we are using this information.
    • educationRequirements.credentialCategory
    • experienceRequirements
    • experienceRequirements.monthsOfExperience
    • experienceInPlaceOfEducation
  • March 8: Added the JP_E-CODE value as an accepted value for the PropertyValue property in the Book documentation.
  • March 1: Removed instructions for submitting sitemaps on Google Sites from the sitemap guide. Google Sites doesn't create a sitemap for sites anymore.

February 2021

  • February 8: Removed the page about joining the 3D and AR Early Adopters Program. The feature remains in development with a select group of providers, but the program is no longer accepting submissions.
  • February 2: Removed the documentation for cross-language search results. This page was specific to an experimental approach with a small group of providers, and we're removing the page because it's obsolete.

January 2021

2020

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

  • July 24: Added new episodes to the Search Off the Record podcast page.
  • July 23: Clarified that Google Search is still working on way to display multiple fact checks for a single page, and that you may not see a rich result that features multiple fact checks in Google Search right away.
  • July 21: Added a new optional property to the Dataset documentation, measurementTechnique, and clarified that the name property should be unique for distinct datasets.
  • July 20: Added the reviewCount property to the EmployerAggregateRating documentation, to match the existing requirements in the Rich Results Test. Either reviewCount or ratingCount is required.
  • July 16:
  • July 8: Clarified that Google Search understands when you specify multiple items on a page with structured data, whether you nest the items or specify each item individually.
  • July 1: Clarified in the AMP logo guidelines in the Article documentation that the logo can be in any format supported by Google Images.

June 2020

  • June 30: Added more examples to the Carousel documentation, and clarified the supported types and how to add them.
  • June 23: Added a note to differentiate between guidelines applicable to Article AMP logo guidelines and generic Logo guidelines.
  • June 19: Added a contentUrl requirement to the Image License documentation to make it clear that the feature needs a specific image URL to apply the license to.
  • June 16: Added native lazy-loading to the lazy-loading guide.
  • June 15: Added monitoring rich results video and more detailed information on using Search Console to monitor rich results to structured data reference pages (for example Product, Recipe, FAQ).
  • June 12: Added .webp, too, to the list of supported image file formats for Logo structured data.
  • June 10: Added .svg to the list of supported image file formats for Logo structured data.
  • June 8: Clarified that the recognized values for an applicationCategory on a Software App are of type Text.
  • June 4: Clarified in the Sitelinks search box documentation that the search query parameter key can be any string permitted by RFC 3986; it doesn't have to be q.

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020