Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 3rd of May 2019.
Use Query Parameters For Onsite Search
John recommends using a separate query parameter for on-site search as it’s a lot easier for Google to recognize as something that might vary. If there are additional parameters also added to the URL e.g. for pagination or filtering, utilizing a query parameter makes it easier for Google to learn what the individual path parts are for, as well as helping to optimize the crawling of these pages.
Google May Temporarily Test Displaying Sites to Users in Different Countries
Google will test displaying sites to users in different counties to see if the content is useful for them, so data in GSC may be affected by these temporary changes. You can usually identify temporary behaviour by checking the number of impressions seen for certain pages in different countries to see if it lower than what is typically seen.
Ensure Embedded Images Are Clearly Marked As Images
If images that are embedded on a page are not clearly marked as images, Google may not be able to see or index them.For example, using CSS to embed images. This is particularly common when the code is different for desktop and mobile versions of a website.
Focus on Internal Linking Rather Than URL Structure For Passing Signals
John recommends focusing more on how pages are connected within a website through site architecture and internal linking rather than worrying about the URL structure.
Putting Resources on a Separate Subdomain May Not Optimize Crawl Budget
Google can still recognize if subdomains are part of the same server and will therefore distribute crawl budget for the server as a whole as it is still having to process all of the requests. However, putting static resources on a CDN will balance crawling across the two sources independently.
Speed Metrics Important for UX Are Different to Metrics Important for Crawling & Indexing
While there is some overlap, speed metrics that are important for UX are different to those used for crawling and indexing. For the latter, Google needs to request HTML pages as quickly as possible and the server response time is also important.
Google Takes The Disavow File into Account Immediately
When re-crawling the URLs specified in the disavow file, Google will immediately drop these. However, they will still appear in the Links Report seen in Google Search Console.
Using Chrome 41 Won't Simulate an Exact Googlebot View
You will see results similar to what Googlebot sees by using Chrome 41, but not exactly the same. John wouldn’t recommend using old versions of Chrome to browse due to the security issues. The Mobile Friendly Test or URL Preview in GSC are more accurate in displaying how Google views a page.
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