Yesterday in the Google Webmaster Virtual Unconference I asked a Google representative to guess on what percentage of the Google support documents were updated in a proactive way versus a reactive way. The Googler said 60-80% of the time, the docs are updated in a reactive way. The rest are proactive around product or feature launches.
Obviously, this was not a very finite stat from Google. This was a guess from someone at Google who works on documentation at Google. I am not sure if it was Google Search specific versus other things like Gmail, Google Apps, etc. But this was a Google Search specific conference.
So most of the Google Search help documents and developer documents are updated by Google receiving feedback. That feedback can come through Google’s Search Developer Relations team, the folks like John Mueller, Gary Illyes, Martin Splitt and friends. Or that feedback can come internally through other means or through someone clicking on submit feedback on those help documents.
How often Google reviews the “submit feedback” collection form varies and a lot of it is just noise. A lot of the feedback is short messages with nothing actionable. So the Googlers recommendation is that when you submit feedback, be very detailed and tell Google what you want to see.
I brought up the example of regular expressions support being in the support docs for Google Search Console recently and then being pulled but that Google was not specifically aware of that case. He did generally, sometimes Google will push out docs for things that have not yet launched and if that happens, those docs will be pulled down.
Sounds typical, at least for companies that I’ve seen handle support documentation.
I do have to say, the support docs at Google have vastly improved over the years in terms of quality, transparency around updates and communication.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Oh, the GIF above is just a way of illustration a game that is all about reacting quickly.