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Google Webmaster Guidelines Updates; Added a Set of Quality and Technical Guidelines for Rich Snippets

Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines updates today now added “more guidance and examples of behavior that you should avoid in order to keep your site in good standing with Google’s search results,” Google informs.

The main message “Focus on the user” of the quality guidelines hasn’t changed.

“Both our basic quality guidelines and many of our more specific articles (like those on links schemes or hidden text) have been reorganized and expanded to provide more information about how to create quality websites for both users and Google,” Google blogged.

In addition, Google also added a “set of quality and technical guidelines for rich snippets,” as structured markup is becoming increasingly popular and that will help you implement high quality structured data markup for rich snippets.

“Once you’ve correctly added structured data markup to you site, rich snippets are generated algorithmically based on that markup. If the markup on a page offers an accurate description of the page’s content, is up-to-date, and is visible and easily discoverable on your page and by users, our algorithms are more likely to decide to show a rich snippet in Google’s search results.”

Adding, “Alternatively, if the rich snippets markup on a page is spammy, misleading, or otherwise abusive, our algorithms are much more likely to ignore the markup and render a text-only snippet. Keep in mind that, while rich snippets are generated algorithmically, we do reserve the right to take manual action (e.g., disable rich snippets for a specific site) in cases where we see actions that hurt the experience for our users,” Google wrote.

google webmaster adds quality and technical guidelines for rich snippets

Here’re a few examples:

  • “If your page is about a band, make sure you mark up concerts being performed by that band, not by related bands or bands in the same town.
  • If you sell products through your site, make sure reviews on each page are about that page’s product and not the store itself.
  • If your site provides song lyrics, make sure reviews are about the quality of the lyrics, not the quality of the song itself,” Google explains.

You can find the general rich snippets quality guidelines here, and find the usage guidelines for specific types of rich snippets in the Help Center.

User experience can make or break your site’s success. In a blog post, Google provided a couple of important design tips and techniques to help you identify goals for both your site and its users.

“No matter what page a user lands on, you only have a few seconds on that first screen with the space above the fold to get their attention and show them what you’re all about. Employing a simple hierarchy will give your page a clear structure that will guide users and highlight what you want them to see,” Google wrote.

“Another thing to keep in mind is the information architecture of your site. If your website’s structure is not logical or what they expect, users will be lost and not sure where to go next. This adds to overall frustration and can lead to users leaving your site,” Google adds.

User Experience (UX) improvements to their site

Use these simple design tips to create a structure for your page:

  • Contrast: Using color, saturation, or opacity to juxtapose elements on the page.
  • Size: Size is one of the easiest design levers to guide your users. Don’t be afraid to use BIG and BOLD elements to draw users’ attention to the most important information on the page.
  • Alignment: Elements that share a common axis appear related.
  • Whitespace: Drawing attention to specific elements by leaving empty space around them. It also makes your design more appealing to the eye.
  • Grid: Using a simple grid to layout elements on your page will create a sense of order and structure,” Google posted.

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