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Google Webmaster Hangout Notes: February 18th 2020

Lumar - SEO and Digital Marketing Industry News

Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 18th of February 2020.


Include Most Recently Changed Content in Separate Sitemap

Rather than submitting all of your sitemaps regularly to get Googlebot to find and crawl newly updated pages, John recommends adding recently changed pages into a separate sitemap which can be submitted more frequently, while leaving more stable, unchanged pages in existing sitemaps.


Having Hreflang in Sitemaps vs on Page Makes No Difference to Google

It makes no difference to Google if you choose to include your hreflang configuration in an XML sitemap or on the page itself in the head tag.


The Remove Cache Tool in GSC Doesn’t Affect Live Indexing

The remove cache tool in Google Search Console simply hides the cached page from the search results and removes the snippet, but it doesn’t impact the indexing of the page.


Some Machine-translated Content Can be High Enough Quality to be Indexed

Machine-translated content is getting more sophisticated and producing better results, so if these pages are translated to a high enough quality then they are fine to be indexed. However, the translation results should be checked by humans to ensure accuracy and quality, which can be difficult to scale across a large number of translated pages.


GSC Click Data is Attributed to Pages Shown in SERPs, Not Pages They Redirect To

If a website is set up to redirect depending on elements like the user’s IP address, Google Search Console will attribute click data to the source page that is shown in the SERPs that is clicked on, rather than a redirection target page.


Use Hreflang for More Generic Pages to Deduplicate SERPs

For a more generic query like a brand name, it can be hard for Google to understand which language version a user is looking for. Hreflang tags can help here to swap out incorrect language versions by using the user’s language settings.


Rel=”ugc” Attributes Should be Used on Links that Exist on UGC Pages, Not Links Pointing to UGC Pages

The rel=ugc attribute is meant to only be used on links that are contained within a page that has user-generated content on it. You don’t need to add this attribute to links from other pages that point to a page that contains user-generated content.


Specify Timezone Formats Consistently Across Site & Sitemaps

Google is able to understand different timezone formats, for example, UTC vs GMT. However, it’s important to use one timezone format consistently across a site and its sitemaps to avoid confusing Google.


Fresh GSC Data Isn’t Available in the API

When using a tool like Google Data Studio, you may see inconsistent performance data from GSC as the fresh data isn’t included in the API. This is because processing work is often required to clean up the fresh data first before including it in the API.


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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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