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The year 2022 is quickly coming to a close and out of all the SEO updates this year, October seems to be the quietest. Even so, there is always something new happening in the world of SEO, so let’s dive into the latest updates in the SEO community for the past month.

 

Updates to Google Webmaster Guidelines

Let’s begin with the Google Webmaster Guidelines. For the last 20 years, these have been industry standard guidelines since 2002. This page was originally released by Google to provide an overview of the best practices for users when they are building a website. However, in the past 20 years, our society and business practices have changed drastically. As a result of this, Google has released new guidelines that are further broken down and easier to understand.

Google has even decided to change the name of these guidelines to Google Search Essentials. These are a part of the Google Search Central, which is an all encompassing group of guidelines. They have made the site easier to navigate by organizing the rules into “Technical Requirements”, “Spam Policies”, and “Key Best Practices”.

The “Technical Requirements” guidelines focus on the quality of content. It explains the types of content that can help a site rank higher on the SERPs (search engine results page). It also includes details about the technical background that assists Google in accessing the content.

The guidelines for “Spam Policies” really focuses on a huge issue that Google has been dealing with. This section of new Search Essential guidelines discusses different types of spam and the factors that can cause Google to mark your site as spam or to not rank at all. Many of these come from the Quality Guidelines and other information found in Search Central. We will discuss this new Spam update in greater detail below.

The “Key Best Practices” category was created from what Google describes as “a set of practices we believe people really should consider when creating sites”. Therefore, by paying attention and following these practices, your website will be more likely to rank well on Google.

 

October 2022 Spam Update

Google released its newest Spam Updates on October 19th. Typically, updates take a week or more to roll out, but this one rolled out in just 42 hours. Although results from the update weren’t widespread, reports in the SEO community say it made a huge impact on those affected. For the individuals who saw fluctuations or traffic drops on their site, Google recommends for website owners to review Google’s spam policies to ensure their website is compliant with these.

Google has not provided detailed information regarding the types of spam it is targeting and removing, instead they continue referring to the spam guidelines linked above. Google typically defines spam as low-quality sites. These low-quality sites trick people into supplying personal information and installing malware on their computers. This new Spam Update can be very effective for many reasons, but most websites will not be affected as long as they’re legit.

 

Site Names on Mobile Search

There is also recent news from Google about the way websites are appearing in search results. On October 14th, Google stated that website names will now show up in mobile search. This will make it easier for users to identify the exact website that is associated with the result they are seeking, instead of just the title of the page. This will apply to results showing up for English, French, German, and Japanese. This update will continue to roll out for different languages in the future.

If you don’t like how your website name is displayed in mobile search, Google recommends that you use structured data on your homepage to better inform Google on what you want your site name to be.

 

‘Link Juice’ Should be Avoided

Wrapping up this article, we want to discuss a conversation that Google’s John Mueller had on twitter with webmasters and SEO experts. The statement he made created waves in the SEO community. One individual asked about how “link juice” can be lost by giving outbound links and how this is contradictory to the fact that outbound links can also increase the trustworthiness of an article. Mueller responded with, “Anything that talks about ‘link juice’ should be ignored. Go and make awesome websites with content that’s userful and inspirational to real people.”  

This quote speaks volumes because it calls attention to the changes that Google has been taking with its search algorithm and the heightened focus on good quality content. It also alludes to other discussions and trends seen lately in the world of SEO. Google is continuing to distance themselves from the importance of links and instead is focusing on websites having good content in order to rank better. We don’t imagine that link building will go away completely, but for webmasters, it should be supplemental to good SEO work and practices.