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Google Webmaster Hangout Notes: August 9th 2019

SEO and digital marketing industry news

Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 9th of August 2019.


Use Video File Structured Markup to Tell Google Which Countries a Video is Available In

For videos that are only accessible in certain countries, make sure that the pages they are on are accessible in the HTML for all users, and that the video only plays for users in the right countries. Use video file markup to tell Google which countries the video is available in.


Blocked Resources Report Dropped From Old GSC as Less Sites Have This Issue

The Google Search Console team have dropped the Blocked Resources report from the old UI because this used to be a big issue to flag to people for mobile-first indexing, but this is no longer as much of a problem as most sites are more mobile-friendly now.


Validate Fix Feature in GSC Checks a Sample of 5-10 Pages Before Reprocessing Rest of Errors

When you select ‘Validate Fix’ for a group of errors in Google Search Console, a small sample of around 5 to 10 pages will be checked first to see if the error has been fixed on those. If they have, the rest of the pages will then be reprocessed.


Having Different CMS’ & Different Configurations Across a Large Site can Delay Mobile-first Indexing

If you have a large site that uses a combination of different CMS’ and front-end and back-end configurations, this can cause Google’s classifiers to determine that your site shouldn’t be switched over to mobile-first indexing. For large sites, it can be normal for a small percentage of URLs to be moved across in batches.


Canonicalization is Determined on Per-page Basis not Sitewide

Google ignoring the canonical tags across an entire site because of incorrect implementation would be very rare and something that a Google engineer would need to do manually. Canonicalization is determined on a page-by-page basis and uses a number of other factors than just the canonical tag, including URL information and on-page content.


Excluded Pages in GSC Are Included in Overall Crawl Budget

The pages that have been excluded in the GSC Index Coverage report count towards overall crawl budget. However, your important pages that are valid for indexing will be prioritised if your site has crawl budget limitations.


Mobile-friendly Test Doesn’t Respond to Robots.txt Rules

The Mobile-friendly test uses the same version of Chromium that is used for rendering so shows an accurate version of what Google will be able to index. However, the Mobile-friendly Test doesn’t follow robots.txt rules so won’t be able to show if certain JavaScript files are being blocked. Test for this in the URL Inspection Tool.


Embedding Images From Other Sources Can Impact Image Search Traffic

Embedding images from other sources via iframes makes it more difficult to index an image alongside a particular page as opposed to an image embedded normally in the HTML. On top of that, sources like Instagram add noimageindex within the embed code which will prevent images from being indexed.


Redirects Can Impact Crawl Budget Due to Added Time for URLs to be Fetched

If there are a lot of redirects on a site, this can impact crawl budget as Google will detect that URLs are taking longer to fetch and will limit the number of simultaneous requests to the website to avoid causing any issues to the server.


There is No Direct Ranking Advantage to Including a Website’s Name Within the Title Tag

Google will automatically add a website’s branding to title tags when displaying pages in search results as it helps users to better understand the context of the page and displays the relevancy. However, there is no direct ranking advantage for websites who already include this.


Site Quality Doesn’t Impact Whether Sitelinks Shown in SERPs

Google will display sitelinks in search results when it makes sense for the query a user is searching for. It isn’t determined by the quality of a website.


Both ccTLDs and GSC Geo-targeting are Equivalent Methods of Country Targeting

When determining a country to target, John recommends two main methods. The first is using a ccTLD, the other is using a generic TLD and specifying the geo-targeting in GSC. Both of these methods are equivalent and used by Google to determine language targeting for websites.


Missing Sitemap Data in GSC API is a Known Error

When switching over to the new GSC UI for sitemap reporting, which took place early April 2019, an issue occured within the API where data stopped updating. The team are looking into this and John expects they will document the error soon, with advice for those affected.


Use Alt Tags as Anchor Text when Linking with Images

When using links within images, make sure the alt attribute is being used in order to provide the anchor text that you want associated with the link.


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Avatar image for Rachel Costello
Rachel Costello

SEO & Content Manager

Rachel Costello is a former Technical SEO & Content Manager at Lumar. You'll most often find her writing and speaking about all things SEO.


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