Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 1st of May 2019.
Google Doesn’t Differentiate Between UGC & Other Content
Google doesn’t differentiate between UGC and the other content on a website, so it is important to control how low-quality UGC is dealt with.
Google Being as Transparent as Possible About Visible Indexing Bugs
Google is being as transparent as possible about their recent bugs, because they have had visible impacts on indexing. It is important for John and the team to keep everyone updated on these issues so that webmasters don’t take actions that could be unnecessary or detrimental to their websites.
Disrupted Index Coverage Report Data in April Due to Indexing Bug
Google’s indexing issues occurred from 9th-25th April and data in the Index Coverage report could not be shown during this time. John hopes to write a post clarifying how Google handles these types of situations internally.
Keywords in URLs are a Very Small Ranking Signal
The words featured in a URL are such a small ranking signal that John wouldn’t recommend reshaping a website to accommodate more descriptive URLs as it is unlikely this would significantly improve performance in search.
Fluctuations in Googlebot’s Download Time Caused by Changes In Server Speed, Page Size and Page Complexity.
If GSC is showing that Googlebot is spending more time downloading pages on a site, the pages may have become large, more complicated or it could mean that the server is slower.
Mobile-first Indexing Rolled Out to Over 50% of Websites
Google has switched over to mobile-first indexing for over 50% of websites and the team is on track with regards to rollling this out to the remainder of websites.
Value of Backlinks Changes Over Time as Sites Grow in Size & Adds More Links
Backlinks don’t lose their value directly because of their age, but PageRank is distributed more broadly over time as the linking site publishes pages and increases the volume of links.
Google Validates That Videos Are a Good Context Match For Pages They Appear on
Google takes longer to index video and images compared to text content. For videos, Google needs to confirm that it is a reasonable video for the page before displaying it in search.
Check Server Logs If More Pages Crawled Than Expected
Viewport is Expanded During Rendering & Likely to Trigger Infinite Scroll Once or Twice
When a page is rendered, Google expands the viewport and then contracts it to try to fit the primary content on the page. Expanding the viewport could trigger one or two infinite scrolls on pages with this functionality, but would not cause Googlebot to keep triggering this and infinitely crawling pages.
Be Cautious Implementing Infinite Scroll on Publishing Sites
John recommends being cautious implementing infinite scroll on publishing sites because having multiple pieces of content in the same HTML might be confusing for Google if they are individual pieces of content.
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