Latest documentation updates
This page details the latest major updates made to the Google Search Central documentation.
- September 20: Added the Google Site Verifier user agent.
- Major update to Product structured data documentation to document requirements for eligibility to Merchant Listings experiences based on structured data. See the blog New Search Console Merchant Listings report: expanding eligibility with Product structured data for details.
- Re-added the
itemReviewed.datePublishedproperty. This was removed accidentally as part of the previous update to the Fact Check structured data documentation.
September 9: Removed the
datePublishedproperty from the Fact Check structured data documentation. Currently, the
ClaimReviewpublish date isn't used in the Fact Check rich result.
- September 2: Migrated the documentation about the file types Google can index from the Search Console Help Center (the content hasn't changed).
- September 1: Added more examples to show how meta descriptions could be improved.
- August 29:
- Added the full list of supported academic values for
educationalLevelin the Learning video structured data documentation.
- Clarified how to specify multiple types in Local Business structured data.
If you have multiple types, specify them in an array (
- Added the full list of supported academic values for
- Added content guidelines to the Education Q&A structured data documentation.
- Removed references to the deprecated International Targeting report in Search Console. The recommendations described in our documentation about managing multiregional sites and localized versions of your pages remain relevant.
August 22: Updated the Article structured data documentation
to reflect that
Articlemarkup is open to all types of pages (as announced in 2020 with the page experience update).
- August 11: Removed our documentation about rich-media files, such as Silverlight and Flash. Turns out it's not 2005 anymore.
- Added the
gtin12property to the Product structured data documentation. This has been supported; it's a documentation change only. Clarified that you can use the generic
gtinproperty for all GTINs, but we recommend that you use the most specific one if possible.
- Updated the dynamic rendering documentation to explain that this isn't a recommended solution, and is a workaround if you have no other choice. Instead we recommend server-side rendering, static rendering, or client-side rendering with hydration.
- Added the
- August 9: Added best practices for feeds to the Follow feature documentation. We recommend that you:
- Use a descriptive title for your RSS feed, just like you would for a web page.
- For multiple feeds, we recommend that you use a single feed. Both methods are still supported, but we clarified that a single feed is easier for you to maintain and for users to subscribe to your feed.
- August 8: Clarified that we don't support the URL form for GTINs in Product structured data. Make sure to use the numerical GTIN form.
- August 5: Added documentation about the pros and cons enhancement for editorial product review pages.
- July 19: Standardized how we refer to headings and title text on the page. Previously we used the word headline, but that can be confusing in other languages.
- July 13: Updated the User Agent string for AdsBot Mobile Web. If you hardcoded the old value in your code, update the string to avoid potential bugs.
- July 7: Added a new page for Google Search ranking updates. This is not new information; it's a compiled list of things we've previously confirmed on our blog or on Twitter.
- July 6: Reorganized the navigational structure to be based on topic instead of level. Removed duplicate guides that were aimed at basic or beginner level, as these documents were duplicating guidance already explained in the SEO Starter Guide.
- July 4:
Clarified that you must add three courses to be eligible for the
Courserich result. This is not a new requirement; it was previously only documented in the Carousel documentation.
- June 23: Added information about how many bytes of textual content, such as HTML, Googlebot will crawl. For FAQs on the matter, check out our blog post.
June 22: Updated the
documentation to specify that when you use the
jobLocationproperty, you must also include the
- June 17: Clarified that product rich results support pages that focus on a single product, and that includes product variants where each product variant has a distinct URL.
- June 10:
Vary: Cookiesupport for signed exchanges.
- June 3:
Added a best practice for script or language mismatches in titles.
<title>elements, use the same script and language as the page's primary content.
- June 1:
- May 31: Removed the Job training structured data documentation. We initially tested this markup with a group of site owners, and ultimately found that it wasn't useful for the ecosystem at scale. This change doesn't affect any other features that may use Job training markup. You can leave the markup on your site so that search engines can better understand your web page.
- May 22: Added transparency guidelines for video thumbnails. Ensure that at least 80% of your thumbnail pixels have little or no transparency to enable video indexing.
- May 10:
- May 6: Removed the deprecated tags and attributes from the Image and Video sitemaps documentation. For more information, refer to our announcement about the deprecation.
- April 14: Consolidated our How Search Works documentation for site owners by merging the basic, beginner, and advanced versions into one central document. While we cleaned up the language slightly, we haven't added anything new to the How Search Works documentation.
- March 23: Added two more best practices when writing high quality product reviews for reviews comparing multiple products.
- March 17: Added a section to the SafeSearch documentation about allowing Google to fetch your video content files.
- February 25: Removed a reference to the Crawl Stats report in the signed exchange documentation. This is no longer relevant as of the update from November 4.
- February 11: Added link to SXG Validator Chrome extension in the signed exchange documentation.
- January 28: Merged our SafeSearch documentation into one new document.
We expanded on how SafeSearch works and added a troubleshooting section. The guidance
remains the same: add the
ratingmeta tag to explicit pages and group explicit content in a separate location on your site.
Added a new robots meta tag,
indexifembedded, to the robots meta tag documentation. Learn more about the new tag in our blog post.
- January 20: Added a note describing how to specify
Carmarkup and still have Product review snippet feature eligibility.
- January 18: Removed guidance about specifying a range for the
totalTimeproperties in the Recipe documentation. Currently, the only supported method is an exact time; time ranges aren't supported. If you're currently specifying a time range and you'd like Google to better understand your time values, we recommend updating that value in your structured data to a single value (for example,
- December 16: Converted our old blog post about intrusive interstitials into guidelines. There are no substantial changes compared to what we have in the blog post.
- December 1: Added Write high quality product reviews to bring together advice from several blog posts.
- November 18: Explained how to opt out of Google Read Aloud and clarified the crawling behavior of the user agent.
- November 17:
- Added an interactive checklist that suggests readings based on the profile users select.
- Added documentation about translated results and how to enable your ad network to work with translation-related Google Search features.
- November 16: Added a guideline about logos and white backgrounds.
- November 10:
- November 4: Removed the recommendation to verify that SXGs are well-formed from the
signed exchange documentation. Added a
note that Google will automatically retry without an SXG
Acceptheader in these cases.
- November 4: Updated the page experience documentation to include the upcoming desktop rollout.
- November 2: Added a recommendation about creating a dedicated page for each video to the Video best practices.
- October 28: Removed the following structured data fields from documentation, since they are unused by Google Search and Rich Result Test doesn't flag warnings for them:
- October 15: Added a requirement that the
author.namefield in Review snippets must be less than 100 characters to be eligible for use in Search features.
- October 13: Clarified that
VideoGameis not a valid node type for Software Apps. To make sure that your Software App is still eligible for a rich result appearance, co-type the
VideoGametype with another supported type.
- October 8: Updated our documentation about titles and snippets in
Google Search results. There are now two separate documents that explain each of these
search result features:
- Control your title
links in search results: Created a new page to describe how to control title
links in search results. Introduced a new term, title link, for the title of
a search result on Google Search and other properties to help clarify when we mean the
title link in search results versus a
<title>element on a web page. Added examples of how Google may adjust title links. There aren't any changes to the best practices for writing descriptive
- Control your snippets in search results: Created a new page to describe how to control snippets in search results. The updates were minimal structural updates; there aren't any changes to the guidelines themselves.
- Control your title links in search results: Created a new page to describe how to control title links in search results. Introduced a new term, title link, for the title of a search result on Google Search and other properties to help clarify when we mean the title link in search results versus a
- September 27: Added new documentation on Best practices for ecommerce sites in Google Search.
- September 1: Added documentation about the beta Follow feature and your website.
- August 11: Added a new case study about how large images in Discover improve CTR and increase visits to publisher sites.
- August 9: The Schema Markup Validator has stabilized, and Google now redirects the Structured Data Testing Tool to a landing page to help you select the right tool.
- August 6: Added a new recommended
author.urlproperty to the
Articlestructured data documentation. The
urlproperty helps Google disambiguate the correct author of the article.
- July 30: Added technical, content, and quality guidelines to the Math solver guidelines and removed solution page markup instructions to make it easier for site owners to get their math solver site on Search. It is fine to remove any existing solution page markup.
- July 29: Added a new case study about how MX Player boosted organic traffic 3x by maximizing video discoverability on Google.
- July 28:
- July 26: Added a requirement that
priceRangefields in Local business must be less than 100 characters to be eligible for use in Search features.
- July 22:
- Added example use cases for the FAQ guideline about hidden content on the page. The user must be able to access the answer on the page, and clicking an expandable section to view the answer is a valid use case.
- Removed the
@idproperty from the Local business documentation. The
urlproperty alone is a sufficient identifier to understand the local business.
- July 21: Added a set of new documentation about Google search operators.
- July 13: Added a new editorial
guideline to the
JobPostingdocumentation. Added a new optional property for
- June 29: Significantly expanded our redirects guide with the different kinds of redirects and their effects on Google Search.
- June 25: Added a page that details how different HTTP status codes, and network and DNS errors affect crawling and indexing.
- June 18: Based on feedback we've received from Search Central Product
Experts and through the feedback tool, we've made several updates to our documentation:
- Simplified the introduction page to make it clearer what is robots.txt and what is its intended use.
- Expanded the instructions about creating and updating robots.txt files.
- Removed redundant sections from our documentation about how Google handles robots.txt.
- Simplified sentences across all robots.txt documentation in English. This helps with localization.
- Removed redundant documentation about how to build, test, and release structured data. Each feature has guidance about this, embedded directly into each guide (for example, the Video structured data guide).
- Improved the troubleshooting sections across all structured data feature guides (for example, the Product structured data guide).
- Added more beginner-friendly information about how to get started with structured data.
- June 15: Updated the timeline in the page experience documentation. The page experience update is now slowly rolling out to all users. It will be complete by the end of August 2021.
- June 11:
- June 10: Deprecated the critic review documentation. We initially tested critic review markup with a group of site owners, and ultimately found that it wasn't useful for the ecosystem at scale. This deprecation doesn't affect any other features on Google Search that use review markup. You can leave the markup on your site so that search engines can better understand your web page.
- June 8: Added
BackOrderas an allowed value for the
availabilityproperty in Product structured data.
- June 4: Added
gtinas an allowed identifier and clarified how to correctly use
isbnfor Product structured data.
- June 3: Added support for the
inLanguageproperty to the Math solvers documentation.
- June 1:
- May 18:
- May 6: Modified the publisher
logo requirements of AMP
Articlestructured data to more accurately reflect that we understand both raw URLs as well as
- April 19: Added new documentation for how to Get started with signed exchanges on Google Search. Learn more about the signed exchange (SXG) announcement in our blog post.
- April 8: Added a new quality guideline to the Discover documentation. Discover focuses on interest-based feeds (for example, articles and videos), and filters out content that might confuse readers (for example, Discover might not recommend job applications, petitions, forms, code repositories, or satirical content that's removed from its original context).
- April 7: Updated the
Videostructured data documentation to state that the
thumbnailUrlproperty must use one of the supported Google Images file formats. Previously, the documentation didn't include WebP and SVG.
- April 1: Clarified the key
moments feature. Google Search tries to automatically detect the segments in your
video and show key moments to users, without any effort on your part. Alternatively, there
are two ways that you can manually tell Google which timestamp and label to use:
Clipstructured data and updating the description of a YouTube video.
- March 29: Removed the interest form for the Key moments feature. The feature remains in development with a select group of providers, but the program is no longer accepting submissions.
- March 25: Added new structured data documentation for practice problems and math solvers.
- March 24:
- March 17: Updated the video best practices to more clearly emphasize the important guidelines. Removed duplicate content and updated the screenshots.
- March 16: Based on user feedback, we added more examples for the
max-snippetmeta robots directive, and also specified for each tag what Google's default behavior is when the tags are omitted.
- March 11: Added new beta properties to the
JobPostingstructured data documentation. You may not see any appearance or effect in Google Search right away, as we are still developing how we are using this information.
- March 8: Added the
JP_E-CODEvalue as an accepted value for the
PropertyValueproperty in the
- March 1: Removed instructions for submitting sitemaps on Google Sites from the sitemap guide. Google Sites doesn't create a sitemap for sites anymore.
- February 8: Removed the page about joining the 3D and AR Early Adopters Program. The feature remains in development with a select group of providers, but the program is no longer accepting submissions.
- February 2: Removed the documentation for cross-language search results. This page was specific to an experimental approach with a small group of providers, and we're removing the page because it's obsolete.
- January 28: Updated the
Eventstructured data documentation to state that the
offers.priceCurrencyproperty requires an ISO 4217 currency code.
- January 22: Added documentation for the price drop enhancement for product rich results.
- January 20: Updated the Job Training documentation to clarify that the appearance isn't available on Google Search right now.
- January 5: Updated the list of recommended hreflang checker tools and removed those that don't work anymore.
- December 4: Migrated the following guides from the Search Console Help Center (the content hasn't changed):
- November 19: Migrated the Google Webmaster blogs to the new Google Search Central Blog.
- November 16: Added a new guide about how to join the Google Search Central office hours.
- November 12:
- November 11: Published a redesign of the entire site. Reorganized the
navigation to account for a migration of over 100 new pages from the
Search Console Help
Center. The notable additions include:
- Home page: Expanded the focus to include our entire audience, not just web developers.
- Events landing page: Get an overview of upcoming events, including events that we host and attend as speakers.
- What's new on Google Search Central: Check out the latest updates on Google Search, including changes to our blog, documentation, new Search events, YouTube videos, and podcast episodes.
- Blog landing page: Added a new home page for our blog, previously known as the Google Webmaster Central blog. We plan to move archived posts soon.
- Help landing page: Updated to include all of our help resources. Refreshed and simplified the Webmaster FAQ into 4 pages:
- Documentation landing page: Get an overview of the different learning paths in our documentation, including new Quickstart guides, beginner SEO guides, and advanced SEO guides.
- Quickstart guides: A new set of guides for those that don't have much time to manage their site.
- Beginner SEO guides: A new set of guides for beginners who want to learn about SEO. New pages include: Beginners guide to Search Console.
- Advanced SEO guides: A new set of guides for advanced SEO topics. Most of the pages previously existed in the Search Console Help Center. New pages include:
- November 10: Updated the timeline information for the upcoming page experience ranking change. The changes are planned to go live in May 2021.
- October 30:
- Updated the
additionalProperty.valueproperty in the
Bookdocumentation, replacing the
nationalvalue with the
- Updated the timeline for data-vocabulary.org support on intro to structured data and breadcrumb page. As of January 29, 2021, data-vocabulary.org markup will no longer be eligible for Google rich result features. To be eligible after January 29, 2021, you need to replace data-vocabulary.org markup with schema.org markup. Learn more about sunsetting support for data-vocabulary.
- Updated the
- October 29: Added image ratio specifications to the
hiringOrganization.logoproperty and the Logo is incorrect troubleshooting section.
- October 22: Changed the API requirement for package tracking documentation to state that we only accept POST requests.
- October 6: Added new examples of Web Stories, best practices for creating Web Stories, and Web Story content policy.
- September 22: Added support for
Productstructured data documentation.
- September 18: Updated the
check guidelines to include all relevant eligibility guidelines in one place (some guidelines were previously mentioned only in the Publisher Center article about fact-checked content). Added the following new guidelines:
- You must have a corrections policy or have a mechanism for users to report errors.
- Websites for political entities (such as campaigns, parties, or elected officials) aren't eligible for this feature.
- You must clearly attribute the specific claim that you're assessing to a distinct origin (separate from your website), whether it's another website, public statement, social media, or other traceable source.
- September 15:
- August 31: Updated the Image License documentation to state that the Licensable badge is now out of beta.
- August 27: Clarified merging of user-agent groups in the file robots.txt documentation.
- August 26: Added new documentation about the Home activities rich result.
- August 10: Clarified that there are different
Articlerequirements for AMP and non-AMP pages. Added an example of a non-AMP page with
- August 5: Clarified in all relevant documentation that images referenced in structured data must be in one of the image file formats that are supported by Google Images.
- August 3:
- July 24: Added new episodes to the Search Off the Record podcast page.
- July 23: Clarified that Google Search is still working on way to display multiple fact checks for a single page, and that you may not see a rich result that features multiple fact checks in Google Search right away.
- July 21: Added a new optional property to the Dataset documentation,
measurementTechnique, and clarified that the
nameproperty should be unique for distinct datasets.
- July 20: Added the
reviewCountproperty to the
EmployerAggregateRatingdocumentation, to match the existing requirements in the Rich Results Test. Either
- July 16:
- Updated the
Bookdocumentation to explain how select book providers can provide a feed of data to Google with the structured data schema.
- Clarified that product rich results only support pages that are about a single product, not category pages or lists.
- Based on Lighthouse recommendations, specified what small font size means on the Common mistakes page of the Mobile SEO guidelines.
- Updated the
- July 8: Clarified that Google Search understands when you specify multiple items on a page with structured data, whether you nest the items or specify each item individually.
- July 1: Clarified in the AMP logo guidelines in the
Articledocumentation that the logo can be in any format supported by Google Images.
- June 30: Added more examples to the Carousel documentation, and clarified the supported types and how to add them.
- June 23: Added a note to differentiate between guidelines applicable to
ArticleAMP logo guidelines and generic
- June 19: Added a
contentUrlrequirement to the Image License documentation to make it clear that the feature needs a specific image URL to apply the license to.
- June 16: Added native lazy-loading to the lazy-loading guide.
- June 15: Added monitoring rich results video
and more detailed information on using Search Console to monitor rich results to structured data reference pages
(for example Product,
- June 12: Added
.webp, too, to the list of supported image file formats for
- June 10: Added
.svgto the list of supported image file formats for
- June 8: Clarified that the recognized values for an
applicationCategoryon a Software App are of type
- June 4: Clarified in the
Sitelinks search box documentation that the
search query parameter key can be any string permitted by
RFC 3986; it
doesn't have to be
- May 28: Added new documentation that explains page experience in Google Search results.
- May 27: Updated the Job
training developer documentation to require the
occupationalCategoryproperty, recommend the
descriptionproperty, and remove the requirement of the
urlproperty. Also updated the
financialAidEligiblefields to have more precise value specifications.
- May 19: Added new guidance on how to enable Web Stories on Google.
- May 15: Added a note to the
Productstructured data documentation about how to be eligible for the Google Shopping tab. Learn more about the data and eligibility requirements.
- May 11:
- Added guidance on how to reduce the Googlebot crawl rate.
- Removed the following documentation that has been deprecated
since June 2019:
- Social Profile structured data: We now automatically discover social profiles to include in Google knowledge panels. If you're verified as an official representative, you can suggest a change directly. Learn more at Update your Google knowledge panel.
- Corporate Contact structured data: We now automatically discover corporate contact information to include in Google knowledge panels. If you're verified as an official representative of a Google knowledge panel, you can suggest a change directly. Learn more at Update your Google knowledge panel.
- Place Actions structured data: Instead, scheduling providers can use the Maps Booking API. Google Search continues to support existing partners that added Place Action structured data prior to June 17, 2019.
- May 7:
- The Rich Result Test now supports
Articlestructured data on AMP pages. Removed the following recommended fields from the documentation because we no longer need these signals:
- Added a video to the Submit URLs guide that explains what a sitemap is, whether you need one or not, and how to submit a sitemap and track its status using Search Console.
- Removed the page about joining the Mini-apps Early Adopters Program. The program is no longer accepting submissions.
- The Rich Result Test now supports
- May 6: Added information about how to test robots.txt markup.
- May 5:
- Updated the Job posting content policies to have a clear structure and language that describes what Google will enforce. Added the following new policies:
SpecialAnnouncementstructured data to include information on how to use Search Console to troubleshoot markup and analyze the rich result performance.
- Podcasts on Google information has migrated to the new Podcasts Manager help center. Visit the help center to learn how to get your podcast on Google.
- May 1: Updated the Indexing API documentation
to include the
<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />tag as an option for removing a URL.
- April 30:
- Updated the Breadcrumb structured data documentation to have some explanatory text on how breadcrumbs relate to URL paths.
- April 27: Updated the Job training structured data documentation to require 2-letter country codes for provider addresses.
- April 23: Added missing meta description issue to the list of error messages in the mobile-first indexing best practices.
- April 22: Updated the Paywalled content structured data documentation to include a list of supported types.
- April 20: Added COVID-19 resources for sites from Google Search and Best practices for education sites
- April 16:
- Added a new example and optional properties to support COVID-19 announcements about government benefits:
- Updated the
JobPostingstructured data documentation to highlight markup for work from home jobs. Added a screenshot of the feature in Google Search, a code example, and a banner at the top of the documentation.
- April 14: Added optional properties to the
Eventstructured data documentation:
- April 10: Updated the COVID-19 announcements documentation. The Rich Results Test now supports
- April 8:
- Added a note to COVID-19
announcements documentation to clarify that businesses should use
LocalBusinessmarkup or Google My Business to update store hours and post updates.
- Added a new case study that showcases how Saramin increased organic Search traffic 2x by investing in SEO.
- Added a note to COVID-19 announcements documentation to clarify that businesses should use
- April 7: Updated the
Eventstructured data documentation to state that the timezone UTC/GMT offset is required for online events, since there is no location information that Google can use to understand when the event starts.
- April 3:
- Removed the caution note about the Structured Data Testing Tool from the
announcements documentation. The Structured Data Testing Tool now supports
announcementLocation. Added a new screenshot of an announcement in Search results. Added a new example that shows a page with multiple announcements, and added Microdata examples.
- Removed the caution note about the Structured Data Testing Tool from the COVID-19 announcements documentation. The Structured Data Testing Tool now supports
- April 2: Added new guidance on how to submit COVID-19 announcements in Search Console. Added information on how to sign up for the technical support group. At first, we'll be accepting only national government domains and US state level agencies. For more information about the group, read our announcement.
- March 31: Added new guidance for how to add structured data to COVID-19 announcements. This feature is still under development, and you may see changes in requirements, guidelines, and how the feature appears in Google Search.
- March 26: Added new guidance for how to pause your online business.
- March 24:
- In the Estimated Salary
documentation, replaced the
unitTextproperty with the
durationproperty. Starting March 24, 2020, we updated the documentation to require
unitText. While we continue to support
unitText, we require
durationmoving forward. We recommend that you switch over to using
duration, if possible.
- Updated the Google Podcasts brand assets to include localized Google Podcasts badges in 49 languages.
- In the Estimated Salary documentation, replaced the
- March 23: Added a new recommended field to the Package tracking developer documentation:
- March 20:
- Added the Latest updates page (this page), which includes the major updates made to the Google Search developer documentation in March 2020.
- Added a note to the
Eventstructured data documentation about the new optional properties that were added on March 16-17, 2020. The Rich Results Test now supports the new properties.
- March 17:
- Added optional properties to the
Eventstructured data documentation:
location.urlfor online events. For more information about this change, check out our blog post.
- Added general
troubleshooting info to the Sitelinks search box documentation. Clarified that
while Google Search may automatically display a search box scoped to your website,
it's still helpful to explicitly provide information by adding
WebSitestructured data, which can help Google better understand your site.
- In the Job training developer documentation,
hasCredentialproperty from the list of recommended properties for
EducationalOccupationalProgram. This is because
hasCredentialis only recommended for the
Organizationtype on schema.org, not
- Added optional properties to the
- March 16: Added optional properties to the
Eventstructured data documentation:
previousStartDate. For more information about this change, check out our blog post.
- March 5:
- In the
Productstructured data documentation, clarified that one of the following properties is required:
offers. Changed the expected type for
Thingis still accepted).
- Added new recommended fields to the Package
tracking developer documentation:
- In the
- March 3: Added hostload issues to the list of error messages in the mobile-first indexing best practices.