Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 15th of November 2019.
Google May Still Crawl Parts of a Site With Desktop Crawler
Even with the shift to mobile-first indexing, Google may still crawl parts of a site with the desktop crawler. John explained that this will not impact the site as long as things are working well on mobile.
FAQ & Rich Results May Not Appear Every Time Your Page is Displayed in Search Results
FAQ schema is not guaranteed to appear every time the page is displayed in search results. This is similar to rich results, where Google will look at different factors before showing them. Google also tries to limit the rich result types seen in search results, to prevent them from becoming overloaded.
Google Differentiates Between Legal & Advertising Interstitials
Google will generally try to recognise legal interstitials and banners in order to differentiate them from advertising banners. This is to done to prevent them from causing problems when Google crawls the site. The only time this may become an issue is when the interstitial replaces the content on the page and prevents it from being crawled.
BERT Will Not Cause Sites To Drop in Rankings or Lose Visibility
BERT is used by Google in order to better understand queries and text. This won't cause it to see the whole site as less relevant, but rather helps to identify if the website is relevant to the query being asked. This may affect traffic from long-tail queries, but will help to send more relevant users to the page.
GSC Speed Reports May Not Contain Data for Small Sites
Search Console speed reports are based on Chrome User Experience data, which is real-world data from users. Therefore, for smaller sites, Google may not have enough data to make a meaningful judgment on speed metrics.
BERT is Currently Just Used For English Content
Google currently just use BERT for English content, this is because most Natural Language Processing models are very language-dependent. It is therefore important to understand how things work in one language first, before generalising them for other languages.
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