Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 14th of November 2017.
Mobile Pages Must be Canonicalised to their Desktop Equivalents
If the desktop and mobile versions of a page both appear it means that Google doesn’t understand the connection between them. Make sure the mobile page has a canonical tag to the desktop page.
The Disavow File is Only Needed for Manual Action Penalties
The disavow file should mainly be used when there is a manual action to help with the reconsideration request. For sites that don’t have a manual action, Google will try to ignore any manipulative links automatically.
Google Can’t Process Hard to Render Pages
Crawl Stats Include Fetches for All Content
Automatically Translated Content Should Not Be Indexable
Automatically translated pages are seen as automatically generated content and shouldn’t be submitted to be indexed or be made available to users.
A Homepage Can Outrank a Category Page with Similar Content
The homepage can rank higher than a designated service or category page if similar content is found on both pages. In this case, make the category or service page easily accessible from the homepage for UX.
Header Tags are Optional
Header tags make it easier to understand content and group sections for ranking, but aren’t important for Google and don’t need to be used in a uniform way. CSS styles can also be used to highlight important content.
Answer Box Results Vary by Location
Answer box results vary depending on location and will pull through local search results where applicable.
You Can Have an AMP Only Site
It’s possible to have a purely AMP site without an HTML version.
Old AMP Pages Can be Redirected to New AMP Pages
Old AMP pages should be redirected to new AMP pages. The AMP cache will try to update AMP and if these pages are found to 404 then they are likely to be dropped from the AMP cache rather than Google working out that they have moved to a new URL.
Old Images Should Be Redirected to Keep Them in Image Search
Old images should be redirected (during a site migration for example) otherwise they could be lost from image search.
URLs in Sitemaps Are Not Guaranteed to be Indexed
Google may choose not to index URLs in sitemaps that are very similar to ones already being indexed and if they differ to the ones linked within the site (e.g. trailing slash/non-trailing slash).
RSS Feeds Don’t Have SEO Benefits Beyond Content Discovery
RSS feeds don’t have any SEO benefit other than helping Google to discover content, much like a sitemap. Having an RSS feed doesn’t improve rankings, for example.