What are Webmaster Guidelines?
Webmaster Guidelines are the set of rules provided by search engines and designed for webmasters (website maintainers) to help them rank their websites in SERPs while following the best practices.
The violation of these guidelines will result in a penalty by search engines. Some of these penalties are small and will get resolved after the issue is fixed.
However, some penalties are severe and may completely remove your website from search results.
Google and Bing are the two most important search engines. It is, therefore, necessary to adhere to the guidelines of these two search engines to rank better and avoid being penalised.
What are Google Webmaster Guidelines?
Google has changed the name of “Webmaster Guidelines” to “Google Search Essentials” and updated the guidelines by adding new sections.
Here is a brief overview of the changes that Google has made:
Technical requirements: Google has told webmasters about the technical requirements needed for a website to get accessed and indexed.
Spam policies: Google has also covered some additional spam policies in its new webmaster guidelines that can result in penalties or the complete removal of a website from search results.
Best practices: Moreover, Google has helped webmasters by telling key best practices to implement while creating websites and publishing content. This will help the websites perform well in SERPs.
Here is the complete official documentation of Google that will let you know about Google Webmaster Guidelines in detail.
What are Bing Webmaster Guidelines?
Bing is the second most popular search engine after Google. It has also specified guidelines for webmasters.
Bing webmaster guidelines are intended to help webmasters create and optimise their websites that can be easily found, indexed, and ranked.
Bing wants webmasters to strictly follow the guidelines and give special attention to their “Abuse section” and “Things to avoid”. Otherwise, violation of guidelines can result in the delisting of your website from search results.
Just because you have followed all the guidelines or optimised the content of your website the way Bing has told you doesn’t guarantee that your website will appear in Bing search results.
Here is the complete official documentation of Bing that will let you know about Bing Webmaster Guidelines in detail.
Purpose of Webmaster Guidelines
Specifying webmaster guidelines helps search engines and webmasters to work in a smooth environment where everything complies with rules.
Those who strictly adhere to the rules can expect to attain good rankings gradually, while others who violate the rules will get their websites penalised.
Another purpose of introducing the webmaster guidelines is to satisfy the searchers. Search engines are intended to help users find the answer to their queries.
Searchers trust search engines when they find relevant and to-the-point information. That is why specifying guidelines for webmasters help make better, user-friendly, and reliable websites that satisfy the users.
Following webmaster guidelines is essential to get suitable SEO results. Neglecting these guidelines will result in the devaluation of a website or a penalty that may completely delist your website from search results.
Violating Webmaster Guidelines
Violation of webmaster guidelines results in getting a penalty. It can be temporary, and a few changes will bring your website back on track.
But if you are intentionally violating the rules of Google and Bing, you will get your website blocked from search results.
If your website is having a hard time after getting a manual action or penalty, you can send a reconsideration request after fixing the errors.
If you have actually fixed the errors with good intentions and the search engine finds it was a mistake, your website will be revoked.
Otherwise, repeated violations and deliberate spammy attempts will permanently block a website from search results.
How Do the Webmaster Guidelines Affect Your SEO?
There is a close association between a website’s SEO strategy and webmaster guidelines.
Webmaster guidelines help webmasters optimise their websites according to the search engines and users.
These guidelines tell what is allowed and what is not on a website. Therefore, it is recommended to look at these guidelines to avoid any inconvenience in future.
If you are experiencing a sudden decline in website traffic, you must check your website to see if it violates any guidelines. Alternatively, you can use various site audit tools like screaming frog and netpeak spider to look for any issues on your website.
Similarly, by using Ahrefs & Semrush together you can easily find spammy links that are pointing towards your website and then you can use Google Disavow Tool to remove them.
Google is quite efficient in identifying the various issues your website is facing. Manual Action Report in Google Search Console notifies you about the penalties.
You can fix the issue and submit a reconsideration request.
If Google finds you have actually done something worthy, the penalty will be removed; otherwise, repeated violations will result in severe damage to your website leading to a blocked website.
Simply put, adhering to webmaster guidelines will help optimise a website better, while violation will negatively impact a website and its SEO strategy.