Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 1st of June 2018.

Blocking Scripts For Googlebot Can Impact its Ability to Render Pages

Blocking scripts just for Google could impact its ability to render and understand the layout of pages. If Google can’t see the full layout then it won’t know if the page is mobile-friendly and would the forego mobile-friendly boost in mobile search results.

Google Will Determine Page Speed Based On User Experience

Google’s mobile speed update will use a number of different factors to determine speed, including some metrics from Chrome that provide information about actual user experience. This means that you should optimise your site to be faster for users and not just Googlebot.

Load Scripts After Rendering to Improve Page Speed

Consider embedding scripts so that they load after the page has rendered to improve load time, especially if it is only required for functionality.

Noindex & 410 Pages Are Removed Faster Than 404

Noindex and 410 remove pages from Google’s index at about the same speed, and both are slightly quicker than using a 404.

Google Exploring Options to Combine WWW & Non-WWW Versions in GSC

Google recommend adding both the www and non-www versions of a site to Search Console so you can see all of the data. Google are looking into ways to make this process easier by adding in the root domain and then automatically including both versions in the same listing.

Some Features in Organic Search Require AMP For Security Reasons

A number of search features require AMP to work well e.g. news carousel. For these search features it isn’t enough to have a mobile-friendly website as Google can’t serve your content from Google.com’s cache for security reasons.

Google Considered Adding Quality Meter to GSC

Google have looked into adding a quality meter in Search Console showing how relevant your site is in search. However, this is essentially no different to how your site is already being ranked in search because Google is trying to reflect how relevant a site is for any given query.

Click Depth Determines Page Importance More Than URL Structure

Google cares more about click depth rather than what the URL structure looks like itself with regards to page importance. For example, it doesn’t matter too much if a page is several layers deep in the URL structure if it is linked from the homepage.

If your homepage is particularly important, it makes a big difference for Google if new content is linked from there or high up within your site architecture. Some sites have a ‘New Articles’ or ‘New Products’ section to push those pages in search a bit.

GSC Messages For HTTP Version After HTTPS Migration Could Mean Signals Pointing to HTTP

John recommends having the HTTP and HTTPS versions of your site verified in Search Console. If you still receive messages after a HTTPS migration it could mean that some signals are still pointing to the HTTP version.

Resubmission Requests Can be Sent Via HTTP or HTTPS Version in GSC

When submitting a reconsideration request it doesn’t matter if you do this through the HTTP or HTTPS version in Search Console. However, messages from Google may be sent to either or both versions in Search Console.

Splitting out or merging sites can be tricky for Google to understand. It can take time for Google to process these changes and it isn’t possible to predict what the final state might be in terms of rankings and traffic. A site migration may stabilise in search after a week or two and splitting or merging a site could take months to settle down.

Keyword Stuffing on Homepage Can Cause Lower Level Pages to Rank Instead

There are instances where Google may rank a lower level page in place of the homepage. This might happen if Google detects a lot of keyword stuffing on the homepage and doesn’t know if the page is relevant, in which case another lower level page may rank instead.

Domain Migrations Take Longer if the New Domain Has Problematic History

Google can take longer to understand pages following a domain migration when the new domain has a problematic history e.g. spammy content and/or links.

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