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Google Webmaster Hangout Notes: September 20th 2019

SEO and digital marketing industry news

Notes from the Google Webmaster Hangout on the 20th of September 2019.


You Only Need to Add Author Structured Markup to a Page Once

John would not recommend adding itemprop author schema markup in two different places on a single page as it is difficult to maintain and harder for Google to understand.


Changes to Review Rich Snippets Limit Available Review Types

The changes made to Review Rich Snippets means Google have limited the support to a certain set of markup types, as well as amending the approach to reviewing your own entity.


Google No Longer Support the Webpage Review Structured Markup

Webpage review markup will no longer be shown in Google search results, as reviewing a whole page doesn’t make a lot of sense to them, instead they expect reviews to be for a specific product.


Use Testing Tools To Ensure All Hacked Content is Removed From Your Site

If your site has been hacked and left with virtual pages which are indexed in Google, John recommends using testing tools such as GSC’s URL Inspection tool to understand how Googlebot is crawling these, before performing the necessary steps to remove them from the index.


If Content is Loaded After an Interstitial is Shown Google Will Not Be Able to Index the Page

Googlebot does not interact with interstitials, e.g. GDPR notice. Instead, it will try to crawl and render the page as it comes. If you are using one on top of the HTML content then Google will still be able to view the rest of the page, however, if the content is only loaded after the interstitial is accepted, Google will only be able to see the interstitial and will try to index this, rather than the actual content.


Main Change With New Nofollow Attributes is For Outbound Links

The plan for the update to rel=nofollow links becoming a hint is to make it so that minimal changes are required when using nofollow links internally on a site. John believes they will continue to see internal nofollow pages as not as important to be crawled or indexed.

We asked a number of top SEO experts for their opinion on these changes and the impact they anticipate, you can find out more in our post here.


When Displaying Page Positions in GSC it will Start at Position One

If your page is being shown as a featured snippet in position zero, it will appear as position one in Google Search Console, as the numbering they use starts at one.


When Displaying Rankings For Pages in GSC it Will Count the Average Topmost Position in that Search Results Page

If a page is shown more than once in search results, for example as a featured snippet and in the fourth position, then GSC will display the topmost position for it. In the example case, it will display the page as position one. However, this will depend on whether you are looking from a URL level or a query level.


Ensure Auto Generated Content is Useful For All Site Visitors

If you are including auto-generated content on your site, ensure that it makes sense for users and is contained on a page which has other content of sufficient value so visitors can find content useful to them.


Auto Generated Content Guidelines are Expected to Become More Granular in the Future

John expects there will be a review of the auto-generated content guidelines in the future, in order to differentiate the types of auto-generated content. This is due to advancements with machine learning models which can generate logical content.


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Hangout notes

Avatar image for Ruth Everett
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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