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Have you missed Google’s updates to these two important documents?

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Just because you aren’t a search professional doesn’t mean you can’t do a few things to give your site a fighting chance in Google.

What you need to know

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Google updated? Oh no!

We’re not discussing those types of updates. And yes, they seem to have done a tweak to their algorithm recently, but really, that’s not our topic today.

There are over 50 Google tips pages and critical updates to Google guidelines that you may have missed if you aren’t a big search engine optimization news junkie.

The two biggest ones are the Google SEO starter guide, updated in December 2017, and the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines [pdf link] updated in July 2017.

(Not to be confused with the Google webmaster guidelines – also important but with no major overhaul since 2016.)

Google’s SEO Starter Guide

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If you’ve been a subscriber for more than a year, then you have probably heard me talk about Google’s SEO Starter guide more than once.

If you wanted to figure out whether a site in production was ready to go live, this would help you build a pretty good list of boxes to cheek.

The older Google SEO Starter guide has a pdf still online [pdf link]. However the online version is the newest, and is available now  in Google’s Central section.

Do you need to read the updated Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide?

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If you’re a novice or amateur at search engine optimization, I’d say it’s an important guide to read cover to cover.

Some searches that businesses need to rank for are easier and don’t need as many leads. Should that be the case for your site, this is a good starting place.

Even an expert will tell you that they return to the basics every now and then. You’ve probably been speaking English since you could first talk- but you still use spell check all the time, or make typos.

For intermediate search enthusiasts, I’d recommend comparing the old PDF document to the new online library, and observe what’s consistently a big factor for ranking sites in Google.

It’s also great to know what’s a non-factor.

It would suck to lose rankings because you were pouring your resources, heart and soul into an area that’s no longer important, wouldn’t it?

Bottom line: it’s worth a glance to everyone. Novices should consume it, experts should at least skim through it.

What about this Google Search Quality thing?

The Google Search Quality Evaluator guidelines document is exactly what it sounds like, the training document for their search quality raters.

Why would Google let us see this internal document?

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Well if the Google SEO Starter guide is there to give us technical insight into how they’d prefer us to build the perfect site, the Search Quality Evaluator guidelines can show us how to build better individual documents.

Of course initially it was leaked, but now that they know that we know they exist, there’s no point in keeping what they’re looking for a secret – particularly if they want to squash the rumor that Google hates SEOs, site owners & webmasters, and is out to get us.

The good news is, there’s a lot of great information in this 160 page PDF. The bad news is  there’s a lot of great information in this 160 page PDF.

So do you set aside the time to read the entire thing 20 minutes at a time or nah?

If you’re a complete novice, the first six pages are mandatory. After that, I’d say keep reading the first 60 pages until you start feeling like the guide is over your head.

Intermediate technical SEO dabblers and the like will want to read to at least page 60, and if it’s not techie for you, the Mobile section too.

Advanced and expert SEOs probably already know about both of these documents. But there’s knowing about them and actually reading them.

Even in the starter SEO guide, there are things I didn’t get until a third read, years ago, and I still look it over once a year when I’m doing my conference-hopping or deep-networking.

Yes, there are some great summaries for the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. This is not a Cliff’s Notes topic- so it’s still worth at least one full read.

Especially if other people depend on your well-rounded expertise.

Brain full yet? I was poking around the web and found a list of  important Google pages. We’ll cover that in the next post.