Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 22nd of February 2019.

Check For Interstitials With Google's Mobile-friendly Test

Interstitials may seem like a quick win for sites, but they cause long-term UX issues. Check your site for interstitials with Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool.

Make Sure Mobile & Desktop Pages Provide Equivalent Content

Removing descriptive content from mobile pages can reduce Google’s ability to understand and rank them. Make sure equivalent, useful content is still included somewhere on the page, even if it’s behind expandable tabs.

Content Not Visible by Default Must be Easily Findable For Users

If a user lands on a page from search but can’t find the content they expected to see, this is bad for Google. Make sure content that’s expandable or not visible by default is clearly findable for users.

Schema Errors Are Determined at a Feature Level

Having invalid schema for one feature does not impact the schema for another feature on the same page, as this is looked at on a feature level and incorrect markup is ignored. For example, correct recipe schema will be accepted even if there is incorrect review schema.

Algorithms Are Updated Based on Query Types Rather Than Industry Types

Algorithms aren’t updated for particular industries, but are instead updated based on particular types of queries.

Use gl or hl Parameters in Google Search URLs to See Rankings for Different Countries

You can use gl= or hl= parameters or use the advanced settings in Google to see rankings for different countries and languages. This doesn’t work for local results as there isn’t a parameter for this.

Only Use Separate URLs For Similar Products if They Match Separate Specific Queries

It’s usually better to consolidate signals for different product variations by using one URL. You might want to split them out if they match specific user search intents though, as one main product page might be too generic for certain queries.

If you have a page that will only be live for a short amount of time, instead of trying to consolidate link equity through redirects, John recommends encouraging users to link to more permanent pages on your site like category pages.

AdSense Uses Different Systems Than Organic Search Algorithms

Google AdSense and organic search have different policies when classifying websites. If a site is flagged for some reason by AdSense, this doesn’t mean it will automatically be prevented from being shown organically in the SERPs.

Rollout Stack Migrations Gradually in Stages

John recommends rolling out a migration between different stacks in batches, allowing enough time in between to test and track any negative performance impact before rolling it out to more sections of the site.

Having a Section of a Site That's Hard to Crawl Can Reduce Crawling of Entire Site

Google determines crawl rate at a host level, so if two sections of a website (i.e. ecommerce shop and a blog) sit on the same host and one of them is slow or difficult to crawl, Google will reduce the crawl rate of both sections.

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