Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 12th of January 2018.

Content and links in press releases are largely ignored by Google because this is something the webmaster of the target site has helped to publish. Press release links aren’t seen as spammy but aren’t give the same weight as more natural links.

Check Robots.txt Implementation if Disallowed URLs Accessed by Googlebot

Googlebot doesn’t explicitly ignore URLs in robots.txt files. If Googlebot is crawling these pages then check the robots.txt file has been set up incorrectly server side using Google’s robots.txt tester. Also, check that there’s nothing on the server which is logging URLs as being accessed in one way but being requested in a different way; this can occur with URL rewriting.

Google Uses the Most Specific Matching Rule in Robots.txt

When different levels of detail exist in robots.txt Google will follow the most specific matching rule.

Search Console Reports 404s Based on Current Index

Search Console reports 404 pages based on the last time they were crawled by Googlebot.

404 Errors Don't Impact Ranking of Other Pages

404 errors don’t affect the ranking of other pages on your site, this is the normal response to return for pages that don’t exist.

Google Uses Img Tag for Image Search and Doesn't Use CSS Images

Google uses the img tag with the source attribute pointing at the image for image search. Google doesn’t use CSS images at all for image search.

Google Considers Duplicate Text Snippets as Natural

Repeating text snippets across a site is perfectly natural. When someone searches for text included in that snippet, Google will try to return the most relevant page. In these cases, it is important to consider what page you want ranking in search. You may want to consider A/B testing with different category pages.

Google Uses Time Taken to Load and Render to Assess Page Speed

Google doesn’t use the time taken to crawl a page as a measure of speed. Google tries to understand what a user would see, rather than what Googlebot sees, by looking at the time pages take to load and render.

Google Removes Hacked Sections of Site From Index

When Google recognises that part of a site has been hacked, it is removed from the index and won’t appear in a site: query.

Use X-default Hreflang Attribute for Default Versions of a Page

The x-default hreflang attribute should be used when you have a strong opinion about which version of a page is the default version, but it is not mandatory. X-default is also used on auto-redirecting homepages and language picker pages.

Full Roll out of the New Search Console Expected Within Weeks

John expects the new version of Search Console to roll out to everyone by end of January or mid February. The speed of the roll out depends on how smoothly it goes and how many hitches are encountered.

Hold up! Google Aren't the Only Ones With New Updates

Google aren’t the only ones with new additions. Here at DeepCrawl we’ve launched a superb new integration with Majestic that gives you access to their link data for free!

Read more about our Majestic Integration here