Google has revamped its official SEO Starter Guide for the first time in over 7 years.
With the release of a new, web-based starter guide Google is removing the old PDF starter guide, as well as depreciating the Webmaster Academy which had overlapping content.
Google’s new SEO Starter Guide builds off both of the previously available resources. The revamped guide also includes new sections emphasizing the need for search engine optimization, how to add structured data markup, and tips for mobile-friendly websites.
Google recommends its starter guide to anyone who owns, manages, monetizes, or promotes online content via Google Search. However, as a reader of Search Engine Journal, I think it’s fair to assume you’re already more familiar with SEO than the average site owner.
Google’s revamped guide does not pull back the curtain and reveal any previously unknown secrets of how its algorithms work. Although it does serve as a nice primer for beginners.
After spending some time comparing the old guide with the new guide, here is what I found to be some of the most notable additions.
What’s New in Google’s Revamped SEO Starter Guide
Hiring an SEO Expert
Google’s new SEO Starter Guide does not shy away from telling the reader that it may be worthwhile to hire an SEO professional. In fact, this recommendation is highlighted in the very first chapter of the guide.
Google briefly details the type of services an SEO can provide, and links to further resources such as Help Center articles explaining how to hire an SEO. When is the best time to hire an SEO? The earlier the better, Google says, as this will help ensure a site is search engine friendly from the ground up.
As you can imagine, since Google’s SEO Starter Guide hasn’t been updated in 7 years, a lot has changed when it comes to SEO for the mobile web.
Google’s previous guide focused on SEO best practices for websites with separate mobile pages, which was the more common practice at the time.
The new guide has been updated to reflect the current state of the mobile web, featuring best practices for creating mobile-friendly websites that can be accessed by all devices.
Linking Out to Other Sites
Google’s new SEO Starter Guide does a better job of advising site owners to be careful about who they link out to.
”Be careful who you link to. You can confer some of your site’s reputation to another site when your site links to it.”
The new guide goes over some of the most common ways people can take advantage of another site’s reputation— such as adding links in comments— and how they can be combatted with the “nofollow” attribute.
These are just a few examples of what’s been added to Google’s new SEO Starter Guide. The new guide is currently available in nine languages, with sixteen more to be added “very soon.”