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Google Says Its Official SEO Guidance Can Sometimes Be Outdated

17 January 2022
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Google Says Its Official SEO Guidance Can Sometimes Be Outdated

Google has urged website owners to seek out recommended best practices for SEO from different sources after admitting that its own help documents are not always updated regularly.

In a new video discussion on YouTube, Google’s Martin Splitt revealed that the fast-changing nature of its algorithm and search engines in general sometimes makes it incredibly difficult for its official documents to keep pace.

This was highlighted back in 2019 when Google said it had stopped supporting link attributes rel=”next” and rel=”prev” for several years before it decided to communicate the changes.

During that period, experts were still advising developers to include the code to improve their white hat SEO, even though it was not having any impact on search engine rankings.

Google did not make an announcement either, preferring instead to remove the documentation for the link attributes.

It was only brought to the attention of the search community later on when Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, was asked a specific question about it.

Splitt says Google always tries to be transparent and to update guidance accordingly, but that in certain cases, it can take a while for changes to filter through as its documents are not always “in phase”.

For the link attribute oversight, Google opted to come clean and tell SEOs what had happened, even though it didn’t hurt anyone in terms of search performance.

Splitt added: “So we went with the full-frontal way of going like — ‘Okay, here’s the thing. This has been removed a while ago and we’re sorry about that, but now our docs are updated.”

The candid admission by Splitt shows that reading the latest SEO news from other reputable sources is crucial for implementing relevant, up-to-date strategies.

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