Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 19th of October 2018.
If a Site Hasn't Been Moved to Mobile-first Indexing Yet it Doesn't Mean it's Not Ready
Mobile-first indexing has been rolled out across many domains, but it doesn’t mean that a site isn’t ready if it hasn’t yet been moved over.
Homepages That Don't Rank Well Might be Over-optimised
Instances where a homepage doesn’t rank well can sometimes be due to over-optimisation, with Google detecting keyword stuffing in the content.
Use Author Profile Pages & Article Markup to Inform Google About Content Authors
While authorship and Google Plus have been deprecated, you can let Google know about the authors of your content with author profile pages and by implementing article markup on your site.
Geotargeting AMP is Possible But Difficult to Implement
Theoretically, you can geotarget AMP pages to countries with poor connection speeds. However, this wouldn’t be easy to implement, as Google tries to keep a global view by associating an AMP version with the normal version of the page.
Including a Physical Address on a Site is Not a Ranking Signal
Google doesn’t use the inclusion of a physical address as the sign of a good website, however this can be important for users.
Check URLs Match Exactly When GSC Reports a URL is Not in a Sitemap
If the URL Inspection tool says a page is indexed but not submitted in the XML sitemap, John recommends checking that the exact URL seen in Search Console is present in the sitemap. For example, you should check that there are no differences with trailing slashes or the case used.
Invalid HTML Can Impact Google's Ability to Understand Structured Data
Invalid HTML can make it difficult for Googlebot to understand which parts of a page belong together for structured data.
Google Only Crawls Hashed URLs When Unique Content Detected
Google doesn’t usually crawl hash URLs unless it has detected over time that there is something unique it needs to pick up from the hashed version.
Compressing Sitemaps Saves Bandwidth But Doesn't Reduce Processing Time
Compressing sitemap files using Gzip can save bandwidth but doesn’t impact the speed that Googlebot processes these files.
Use X-Robots-Tag HTTP Header to Noindex Indexed Sitemap Files
If sitemap files are indexed for normal search queries, then you can use the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header to noindex all pages ending in .xml or .gz.