Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 15th of June 2018.
Ensure Ratings Markup Reflects Primary Page Topic & is Based on User Feedback
Google requires that ratings markup refers to the primary topic of the page e.g. a rating on a page about a car model should refer to that specific car model. Also, make sure ratings are something that anyone can submit feedback for and are not handpicked testimonials.
Sites Reliant on UGC Should be Mindful of Content Quality Across Site
Sites with a strong focus on user-generated content can struggle to maintain a high quality of content across the site.
Sites With Q&A Content Should Diversify Their Content Offering
Sites that provide content with one answer should think about how they can diversify their content so visitors don’t leave after finding the answer. Don’t rely on Q&A content to be visible in search because it can be hard to differentiate the content from other sites that also provide the same answer.
Pages With Many Interactive Elements Won’t Appear as Web Light Versions
Dynamic pages with many interactive elements won’t be made available as Web Light versions by Google in search.
URL Removal Tool Hides Pages in Search but URLs Still Crawled and Indexed
URLs entered in the URL Removal Tool in Search Console cause that page to be hidden in search. However, these pages will still be crawled, indexed and all associated signals will be kept.
Google Eventually Treats Noindexed Pages as Soft 404s
Google treats noindexed pages as soft 404s after a period of time, as the page is ignored and essentially doesn’t exist in their eyes.
Google Increases Crawl Rate For Frequently Changing Pages
Google tries to recognise when content changes on a page because it helps them understand how quickly they need to recrawl it over time. If a page changes significantly on a regular basis Google will crawl that page more frequently.
Google Assesses Language Content on a URL Basis
Google looks at language content on a URL basis and doesn’t differentiate by URL pattern. This means you can use different language content wherever you want e.g. the root URL in one language and a subdirectory in another language is fine.
Country-Specific Content Requires Different Domains, Subdomains or Subdirectories
For country targeting, Google requires a clear distinction between country-specific content by using separate domains, subdomains or subdirectories.
Search Teams Creating New Algorithms to Provide More Relevant Results
John says that Google’s search algorithms are still too keyword focused and their teams are creating new algorithms to better understand queries and return pages that make sense. 15% of search queries entered each day have never been seen by Google before.