Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 7th of February 2020.
Inform Google of Efforts Made to Clean Up & Remove Pages Under Manual Review
If you have a lot of pages that are under manual review and you delete a lot of those as an effort to clean them up, then John would recommend mentioning this in your reconsideration request. This shows that you have taken significant steps to clean up any pages which are under review.
Once Google Processes The Content on a Page URLs Become Less Significant
The words contained in URLs are used as a small factor by Google when understanding a page, but once they are able to process and understand the content on the page the URL doesn’t play as significant a role. This is regardless of the page type, whether it is an AMP page or a traditional web page.
Use the Last Modified Date to Provide a Hierarchy of Changes Made to A Site
John recommends using the last modified date in sitemaps in a reasonable way to provide a clear hierarchy of the changes that have been made on a site. This helps Google to understand which pages are important and ensures they focus on crawling these first.
It’s Important to Have a Clear Hierarchy of Internal Links on a Site
Internal linking is the best way for Google to understand the context of individual pages on a site, and the number of clicks to a page from the homepage helps them to understand how it fits in. However, having a clear hierarchy of pages further helps Google to understand which parts of the site belong together, and once this is in place the absolute number of clicks is less critical.
Google Discover Visibility Can be Affected by Algorithm Updates
John confirmed that core algorithm updates can affect Google Discover visibility.
Anything Contained on Non-canonical Pages Will Not Be Used for Indexing Purposes
When Google pick a canonical for a page, they will understand there is a set of pages, but only focus on the content and links of the canonical page. Anything that is only contained on the non-canonical versions will not be used for indexing purposes. If you have content on those pages that you would like to be indexed, John recommends ensuring they are different.
Different Rendering Processes are Used When Rendering a Page For Indexing & for Users
Googlebot doesn’t have a specific time when it takes the rendered DOM snapshot used for indexing. The main reason is due to the way Google renders pages, as there are different processes when rendering for indexing compared to when users access a page. This can result in elements on the site being processed differently and it may take longer to render the page for indexing purposes.
If You Have A Manual Action in Place GSC Will Still Show the Page as Indexed
If you have a manual action or URL removal in place, the inspect URL tool in Search Console will still show a page as indexed but it won’t display in search results. This is because the manual action and URL removal are filters which happen on top of the search results, so the page can still be indexed but not shown.
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