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Google Webmaster Hangout Notes: March 17th 2020

Lumar - SEO and Digital Marketing Industry News

Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 17th of March 2020.

Abuse of Schema Policy May Result in a Sitewide Manual Action for the Specific Type of Rich Result

Usually, if you go against schema policy, a manual action for the specific type of rich result could be applied for the entire site until a reconsideration process is completed.


Google Filters ‘Misleading’ Emojis from Snippets

Misleading emojis, such as stars which could look like reviews, may be filtered from snippets, otherwise they try to allow for unusual characters.


AMP Page Content Should Match Your Normal Pages

AMP pages should consistently match what users would see on normal pages, regardless of a site being moved to mobile first indexing. It’s OK if some features are missing, but the AMP page content should generally match the content on your normal pages.


Sites Not Indexed in Search May Be Due to Spam or Technical Issues

There is a big difference between a site which completely disappears from Google search, and one which is demoted. A site which is removed from the index is usually due to a very significant web spam issue, or a technical issue. If a site is demoted, and not ranking as well as before, it may be due to the quality of the content, or setup of the site. Spammy backlinks are not likely to be a cause.


Try to Have the Fewest Internationalised Versions of a Site

Adding many internationalised versions of a website increases the complexity, so you’re better to have fewer versions if possible, especially if you have pages where you can rely on geo-targeting without hreflang. You can use Search Console and web analytics to see if people are landing on the wrong pages, and implement hreflang for those. For different language versions, hreflang can help Google to show the right version, but searches for long tail content are easily recognisable for which language version to show, so hreflang may not be necessary.


Owners Can be Removed From Search Console by Removing their Verification Token

If you have an owner in Search Console that you want to remove, you need to remove the token which was used to validate the user, then you can unverify the user. You can use the user and permissions settings section to identify the verification method for a verified user.


Google Will Ignore Links on Noindexed Pages Over Time

If pages are noindexed, Google will ignore those links over time. If you have pages which are only linked from noindex pages then Google may not see the linked pages as important.


Allow a Single Variation of Category Pages to be Indexed

Google doesn’t currently have guidelines on indexing different versions of category pages, but is moving towards recommending allowing a single version to be indexed, such as a sort order, and the alternative variations with different filters and sort orders should be noindexed. If there are other specific versions of category pages which are important, you can allow the first page in the set to be indexed as well.


Noticeably Slower Page Speed Affect Rankings

Page speed mostly affects websites in search which are very slow. You probably wouldn’t see a ranking difference between sites which are reasonably fast, but you might if there is a noticable difference in speed.


Do Not Rely on 3rd Party Cookies to Render Content

Because Chrome is going to block 3rd party cookies, and Google uses Chrome to render pages, if your site is dependent on third party cookies to render a page’s content then it won’t be seen by Google.


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Ruth Everett

Technical SEO

Ruth Everett is a data & insights manager at Code First Girls, and a former technical SEO analyst at Lumar. You'll most often find her helping clients improve their technical SEO, writing about all things SEO, and watching videos of dogs.


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