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Google Webmaster Hangout Notes: March 6th 2020

Lumar - SEO and Digital Marketing Industry News

Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 6th of March 2020.

Img Alt Text is Used for Both Web and Image Search

Google treats the text in an image alt attribute as part of the page for web search, as well as information about the image itself, for image search.


Headings and Titles on Paginated Pages Helps Google to Identify the Set

Headings and page titles with a number help Google to identify a set of paginated series of pages which belong together, but they can usually figure it out based on links between the pages.


Google Follows More than 5 Redirects In Separate Crawl Cycles

Google follows a 5 redirects during one crawl cycle, but they will continue following the redirect chains later. Once they find the final URL in the redirect chain, they will focus on that URL.


Google Recommends a Single Site for Mobile First Indexing

It’s OK to have a separate mobile website for mobile first indexing, provided it’s correctly linked from the desktop version with a mobile rel alternate and a canonical pointing to the desktop page, but Google recommends having a single URL for each piece of content with responsive design or dynamic serving in the future.


Google May Treat Noindex Pages as Soft 404

Google may treat a noindex page as a soft 404, which are equivalent in how they are treated in search results. If you want them to be re-indexed, you need to let Google know the pages have changed, such as submitting in a Sitemap with a last modified date.


Search Console Crawl Stats Include URLs Fetched by Other Google Products

Google’s crawl stats in Search Console are an accurate reflection of Google’s own crawling logs, but they include URLs fetched from other Google services which use the same infrastructure as Googlebot, including Google Ads landing page checks and product search crawling.


Google Will Only Use Content From Mobile Pages if Mobile First

Google will only use the mobile version of content when a site has been moved to mobile first. If your mobile pages have less structured data or images than your desktop pages, Google will not use the content from your desktop site. Google will continue to crawl your desktop pages about 20% of the time to make sure they are not missing any new pages.


Google Does Not Use W3C Validation

Google does not use W3C validation for web search, so you do not need to worry if your pages have any validation errors, however the validator is a great way to make sure your pages display properly with other systems like screen readers.


Domain Redirects Should Remain in Place Permanently

Google recommends that domain redirects should remain in place for a significant amount of time, at least a year, but it’s better to keep it in place as long as possible whilst you’re still seeing users or bots accessing the old domain.


Excessively Flat Site Hierarchy May Confuse Google

An excessively flat site architecture, such as having a very large sitewide navigation or linking to all pages in a paginated set from page 1, may confuse Google about the site hierarchy, which page to rank, and what to show as Sitelinks.


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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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