301 redirect: Google Webmasters Central to Google Search Central

After more than 14 years, Google Webmasters Central is becoming Google Search Central, the company announced Wednesday. With the name change, some of the Google Webmaster Central properties are going to be redirected to the new location, including the blog, help forums, guidelines, documentation, social channels and more.

What is not changing? “Our goal is still the same; we aim to help people improve the visibility of their website on Google Search,” Google said. The name change more broadly reflects who the solution is meant to support — not just webmasters, but also SEOs, online marketers, bloggers, web developers, site owners and others.

What is changing? In addition to URL redirects, the social channel names are changing and content is being migrated from one location to another. All of these changes will start happening now and continue over the upcoming weeks.

Most of the old content will be redirected, including RSS feeds and email lists. So you probably won’t have to update your subscriptions.

  • The Webmaster Help Community is becoming Google Search Central Help Community.
  • The new Google Search Central URL is https://developers.google.com/search/ and it includes:
    • Search-related documentation from the Search Console help center.
    • The various Webmaster Central blogs.
    • The Google Webmasters pages.
  • The YouTube channel will be changing to the new name.
  • The Twitter account is also changing to the new name.
  • The blogs are changing a bit as well, although you might not notice since RSS feeds and email subscriptions are being migrated over.
    • The new blog is now here https://developers.google.com/search/blog/.
    • The main blog and the 13 localized blogs are being centralized to one location which makes it easier to find the content and switch between languages.
    • It also makes it easier for Google to publish content in a more centralized location.

A bit of history. Google first launched this solution as Google Sitemaps. In August 2006, Google Sitemaps officially expanded its charter and became Webmaster Central.

Google Sitemaps became Webmaster Tools, the Google Sitemaps blog became the Google Webmaster Central blog (again, with expanded focus). Google launched the webmaster help center, and the Sitemaps group became a subcategory of a larger Google Group that included categories for lots of other site owner issues.

In May, 2015, Google changed the name of Webmaster Tools to Search Console, which was the first sign — yes, five years ago — of Google broadening the scope. About a year ago, Google changed the name of group from Google Webmaster Trends Analysts to Google Search Relations. Although, I do not believe this was officially documented.

Why we care. For SEOs, developers, site owners and marketers, the lifeline to Google is largely through the Google Search Central team, aka the Search Relations, formerly the Google Webmaster Trends Analysts team. We look to these individuals at Google for assistant, clarity and support when Google launches new features, has bugs or we just need help.

The name change reflects the team’s continued efforts to support the industry going forward.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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