Google acknowledges that the help documentation is not always up-to-date and states that it is worth doing your own research on recommended best practices.
This topic is covered in the latest episode of Google’s SEO & Devs Web series on YouTube. This concerns whether the official help documentation is reliable.
Martin Splitt, Google’s Developer Relations team, and Michael King, founder and managing director of iPullRank, will meet to discuss how Google documentation keeps developers from trusting SEO experts.
SEO provides recommendations to developers based on the information in Google’s official documentation.
Google aims to keep these documents accurate and reliable, but the information may lag behind what is actually working in SEO or irrelevant.
A concrete example of what they worked on was what happened in 2019 when Google revealed that it stopped supporting rel = ”next” and rel = ”prev” a few years before Google told the search community. ..
In short, SEO was instructing developers to use code that is no longer relevant to Google search.
Google hasn’t officially announced it, it just removed the documentation related to rel = ”next” and rel = ”prev”.
Only when Google search advocate John Mueller received a question about it on Twitter, everyone in the company told the search community about this change.
Some SEO experts and developers conclude themselves after noticing that Google has a good understanding of pagination without using rel = ”next” or rel = ”prev”. May have been reached.
This is one example that will help you learn how Google Search works by doing your own research rather than relying solely on official documentation.
Splitt shares background information about this situation and the difficult choices Google had to make when communicating changes to the search community.
Why is Google’s help documentation not always up to date?
Google search changes rapidly, so Splitt is careful not to consider company documents as the only source of truth.
Regarding the situation of rel = ”next” and rel = ”prev”, Splitt states:
“Documents are not always in phase. We work with our team to keep the documents up to date, but in this case a group of search quality engineers knows. Occasionally it happens —’wait a minute, we don’t need the rel-next and rel-prev links anymore to understand that pagination is actually happening. You can understand it for yourself from other things. “
When it turned out that the code wasn’t needed, Google engineers removed that support.
Splitt describes the decision-making process behind communicating this change to SEO and developers.
“… What is your profession? Do you want to update the document and quietly remove that part because it is no longer relevant?
Or, “Hey, by the way, I don’t need this anymore, and to be honest, I didn’t need it for the last six months.”
People are well aware that they are reading the documentation and making recommendations to others based on it, so these people invest work, time and money to make it happen. “
Splitt further states that he chose to remove the docs to make sure rel = ”next” and rel = ”prev” are obsolete, or to keep the docs informed that the code is no longer needed. ..
“And even if it’s wrong, it doesn’t hurt, there’s an alternative to letting it live there in the documentation.
So we went completely head-on as follows —’Well, this is the problem. This was removed some time ago and I’m sorry, the documentation has been updated. “
And I don’t think any of the choices are easy or perfectly good, but that’s exactly what happens. Therefore, I think we are trying to keep the documentation as up-to-date as possible. “
That is, the story behind rel = ”next” and rel = ”prev” and why Google treated the situation that way.
The key point from this story is to always test and do your own research.
Understanding what works for you may be more reliable than Google’s help documentation.
Even if Google recommends it, your instinct may be right if you believe you don’t need anything.
See the full video below.
Featured Image: Screenshot of YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral
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