Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 16th of June, 2017.
UX Improvements Have an Indirect Effect on Rankings
Google doesn’t have a user-experience ranking factor, but indirectly Google may pick up additional links and signals.
Structured Data Contributes to Rich Snippets, Carousels and Relevancy
Redirecting Robots.txt Is OK
Google will follow redirects for robots.txt files.
Change of Address Helps to Recognise a Domain Move
If you just use 301 redirects, Google only sees individual URLs moving to a new domain, whereas the Change of Address tool helps Google to package all the signals from the old to the new domain.
Organisation Schema Only Needs to Be on the Homepage
You should add the organisation schema to your homepage, and not on every page.
Use Sitemaps With Last Modified for Expired Content
Use a last modified date with a regularly updated Sitemap to help get expired pages picked up more quickly.
Balance Content and Functionality With Site Speed
It’s a mistake to remove content and functionality to improve page speed. They both need to be balanced to provide the overall best experience.
Migrate From Separate Mobile to Responsive Before Mobile First
If you are migrating your separate mobile pages, set up 301 redirects from your mobile URLs to your canonical pages. Rankings should not be affected before mobile-first indexing, however you might see more fluctuations after mobile-first indexing as your mobile URLs will be the canonical pages, and it will be seen as a site migration.
Temporary Performance Issues Generate Crawl Errors for Working Pages
Sometimes crawl errors are reported by Google for pages which appear to be working when tested later and may be difficult to reproduce. You can check the server logs to see if this was a temporary issue with server performance and can be avoided in the future.
Link Authority Is Lost When a Site Completely Changes
If the content on a site significantly changes to a new topic, any authority from backlinks will be lost.
Reactivated Pages With Changed Content May Not Recover Rankings
It’s possible that Google might pick up the old signals when a page is reactivated, but if the content has significantly changed then Google will treat it as a new page.
SERPS Carousels Have Their Own Rankings
Carousels have their own organic ranking algorithms so you may not appear even if you have relevant markup and are showing up in the search results.
Google May Combine Similar Language Pages
If you have separate pages with the same language targeting different countries, Google may choose to index one URL but show different titles.
URL Changes Will Cause Ranking Fluctuations
If you make big changes to your URLs within a site, you should expect temporary ranking fluctuations whilst Google reprocesses and indexes the new configuration.
Keyword Stuffed Content Will Be Ignored
If you have significant re-use of the same keywords on a page, Google will ignore that content.