Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 21st of February 2020.
Individual Hreflang Links to Non-working Pages Won’t Affect Other Links
Google will ignore hreflang links to redirecting, non-indexable and non-reciprocating pages, but this won’t affect other hreflang links.
Adding Keywords to a Category Page May be Seen as Keyword Stuffing
Adding arbitray text to a product listing page on an ecommerce site to include additional keywords won’t help and may trigger Google’s keywords stuffing algorithms.
Image Alt Text Should Only Describe What’s Shown in the Image
Image alt text should focus on what’s shown in the image and not include other associated keywords which are not relevant to the image.
Search Console Reports Google Discover Traffic More Accurately Than Web Analytics
Google search discover doesn’t pass a specific referral string which can be used by web analytics to identify the source, whereas Search Console reports it specifically.
Repeated Links to the Same Page Will be Ignored
Multiple repeated links to the same page won’t be seen as spammy, and it won’t change anything.
Search Console Index Status is More Accurate than Google Site Search
The Search Console index status is extremely accurate, whereas the site search command does not include everything which is indexed, and the search count shown is generated quickly instead of accurately.
Duplicated Same Language Content for Different Countries May Not be Indexed but Can Show in Search Results
If you have same language content for different countries, Google will see them as duplicated and fold them together for indexing, but unfold them in search results.
Google Has no Mechanism to Prevent a Site Appearing in Specific Countries
Google will rank sites on a country code top level domain to a global audience where it thinks it’s relevant, and there is no mechanism to prevent this.
Google Generates Custom Snippets to Match Search Queries
Google tries to show a search snippet which matches the search query and is more likely to show a generate snippet when the search terms don’t exist in the title and description. The titles and descriptions should be aligned with the search queries which the page ranks for. The Site query is won’t necessarily match what the users see, so use the queries shown in search console to see what the users see.
Search Console Enhancement Reports Are Based on Samples Which Can Change
Search Console enhancement reports including mobile usability are based on a sample of pages which can change in size, so you should focus on the percentage of pages with issues and the specific issues highlighted.
Algorithm Changes May Result in Changes to Crawl Rate
The number of pages which Google wants to crawl may change during algorithm changes, which may be due to some pages being considered less important to show in search results, or from crawling optimization improvements.
The URL Inspection Tool Can’t be Used to Test Images
Google needs to be able to find clean image tags pointing to the image URL with a proper source attribute, which can be affected by lazy loading and responsive image loading based a device. You can’t test images directly using the URL inspection tool, but you can check the rendered HTML to see if the image links are being recognised.