Google's SEO Starter Guide Updates: Focus on Beginner SEO Practitioners

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For beginner SEO practitioners, one of the SEO guidelines that must be read is the Google SEO starter guide. As the name suggests, this guide is suitable for SEO practitioners who have just started practicing SEO.

The Google SEO starter guide first appeared in 2008, then underwent an update in 2017. This means that the update to the Google SEO starter guide in February 2024 will be the second update to the SEO guide from Google.

If you read the comparison between the Google SEO starter guide 2017 and 2024 (the latest). There are major updates in this update. What has changed and will there be more changes in the future?

What Changes in the 2024 SEO Starter Guide?

What Changes in the 2024 SEO Starter Guide?

1. What's Missing from the Google SEO Starter Guide

a. Glossary Section

In this section, Google makes up for it by explaining each term in the context of the page.

b. Structured Data section

Google removed this section because this topic is considered an advanced topic that beginners don't need to think about.

Additionally, Google says “if someone is using a content management system (CMS) like Wix or Squarespace, they will probably try using plugins and not have to worry about learning how to add code to their website“.

c. Mobile Friendliness section

The reason Google removed this section is that the majority of websites on the internet are now mobile friendly, so this section is no longer needed.

d. Site Performance Analysis Section

As with the Structured Data section, Google omitted this section because discussions around site performance analysis are considered an advanced topic for beginners.

2. Sections “Compressed” by Google

a. The Are You On Google?

This section has been simplified into one section that just focuses on how to quickly check if a managed site is on Google.

In addition, it also explains the first steps that site owners should take if they don't see their site in Google Search results.

b. The “Do I need SEO?”

In this section, Google summarizes it in just two sentences, and includes a link to the complete guide for easy access to this documentation.

c. Title Link and Snippet section

This section is also shortened like the previous section to support a separate, more comprehensive document around Titles and Snippets.

d. Images section

For beginner SEO practitioners, alt text is a more important guide, for those of you who want to learn about images with more advanced guidance, you can learn best image practices.

e. Google Search Opt Out Section

While this is an important topic to cover, according to Google, it's (probably not) the reason readers learn about this guide.

So this part is also compressed.

f. Links section

Google compresses this section without changing the important message/value about Links to readers, so it still highlights the important aspects and benefits, as well as the reasons why links can be useful for users and search engines.

g. Promoting a Site section

Google shortened this section, but also included a more comprehensive document or guide about promoting a site, so readers can learn more there.

h. Site Structured section

In this section, most of the contents have not changed, but some have been removed, such as:

  • Navigation: Focus on connecting important pages.
  • 404: Google doesn't care about 404 pages, but website owners should do whatever makes sense for their audience.
  • Explicit setup for breadcrumbs: This section was also considered advanced material, so Google removed it.

What's New?

Google admits that they don't want to add too many sections. However, there are some areas where they don't answer questions like “why should I do this” and “why isn't this listed here”.

Here are some new things in Google's SEO starter guide:

1. Duplicate Content

When you are often involved in managing a business website, you may have heard the term "duplicate content". In short, it is a type of content that resides in multiple locations or URLs. 

New features in this update is Provides clarification on what duplicate content is, methods for fixing it, and complements it with a short video.

2. General Theory and Perceptions on SEO

Adding this section is to remind SEO practitioners not to be too attached to SEO theories that are widely circulated on the internet.

3. How long will SEO take to show an impact

Google also added the latest information explaining that changes to websites do not always immediately produce or show a significant impact.

Will there be any more updates to the SEO Starter Guide?

Google clarifies that the SEO starter guide is rarely updated. You can also see it from the frequency of updates, namely only in 2008 and 2017, then February 2024.

What is clear is that Google will not change the SEO starter guide in the next few months.

However, they said that users can provide feedback to them if there are topics or ideas that should be prioritized for the SEO starter guide.


Both experienced SEO practitioners and beginners can get a lot of benefits from reading and implementing what is in the SEO starter guide.

The reason is, these guidelines can be considered as the basic foundation in SEO. No matter how advanced it is, it all comes back to the fundamentals.

Read more about the SEO starter guide by Google.

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