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Google Webmaster Hangout Notes: May 1st 2019

google webmaster hangouts recaps - SEO tips

Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 1st of May 2019.


Google Doesn’t Differentiate Between UGC & Other Content

Google doesn’t differentiate between UGC and the other content on a website, so it is important to control how low-quality UGC is dealt with.


Google Being as Transparent as Possible About Visible Indexing Bugs

Google is being as transparent as possible about their recent bugs, because they have had visible impacts on indexing. It is important for John and the team to keep everyone updated on these issues so that webmasters don’t take actions that could be unnecessary or detrimental to their websites.


Disrupted Index Coverage Report Data in April Due to Indexing Bug

Google’s indexing issues occurred from 9th-25th April and data in the Index Coverage report could not be shown during this time. John hopes to write a post clarifying how Google handles these types of situations internally.


Keywords in URLs are a Very Small Ranking Signal

The words featured in a URL are such a small ranking signal that John wouldn’t recommend reshaping a website to accommodate more descriptive URLs as it is unlikely this would significantly improve performance in search.


Fluctuations in Googlebot’s Download Time Caused by Changes In Server Speed, Page Size and Page Complexity.

If GSC is showing that Googlebot is spending more time downloading pages on a site, the pages may have become large, more complicated or it could mean that the server is slower.


Mobile-first Indexing Rolled Out to Over 50% of Websites

Google has switched over to mobile-first indexing for over 50% of websites and the team is on track with regards to rollling this out to the remainder of websites.


Value of Backlinks Changes Over Time as Sites Grow in Size & Adds More Links

Backlinks don’t lose their value directly because of their age, but PageRank is distributed more broadly over time as the linking site publishes pages and increases the volume of links.


Google Validates That Videos Are a Good Context Match For Pages They Appear on

Google takes longer to index video and images compared to text content. For videos, Google needs to confirm that it is a reasonable video for the page before displaying it in search.


Check Server Logs If More Pages Crawled Than Expected

If Googlebot is crawling many more pages than it actually needs to be crawled on the site, John recommends checking the server logs to determine exactly which pages Googlebot is crawling. For example, it could be that JavaScript files with a session ID attached are being crawled and bloating the total no. crawled pages.


Viewport is Expanded During Rendering & Likely to Trigger Infinite Scroll Once or Twice

When a page is rendered, Google expands the viewport and then contracts it to try to fit the primary content on the page. Expanding the viewport could trigger one or two infinite scrolls on pages with this functionality, but would not cause Googlebot to keep triggering this and infinitely crawling pages.


Be Cautious Implementing Infinite Scroll on Publishing Sites

John recommends being cautious implementing infinite scroll on publishing sites because having multiple pieces of content in the same HTML might be confusing for Google if they are individual pieces of content.


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Hangout notes

Avatar image for Sam Marsden
Sam Marsden

SEO & Content Manager

Sam Marsden is Lumar's former SEO & Content Manager and currently Head of SEO at Busuu. Sam speaks regularly at marketing conferences, like SMX and BrightonSEO, and is a contributor to industry publications such as Search Engine Journal and State of Digital.


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