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Google Webmaster Central Blog

Google Webmaster Central Blog
Official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index.
Updated: 44 min 52 sec ago

Our goal: helping webmasters and content creators

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 02:37
Great websites are the result of the hard work of website owners who make their content and services accessible to the world. Even though it’s simpler now to run a website than it was years ago, it can still feel like a complex undertaking. This is why we invest a lot of time and effort in improving Google Search so that website owners can spend more time focusing on building the most useful content for their users, while we take care of helping users find that content. 
Most website owners find they don’t have to worry much about what Google is doing—they post their content, and then Googlebot discovers, crawls, indexes and understands that content, to point users to relevant pages on those sites. However, sometimes the technical details still matter, and sometimes a great deal.
For those times when site owners would like a bit of help from someone at Google, or an explanation for why something works a particular way, or why things appear in a particular way, or how to fix what looks like a technical glitch, we have a global team dedicated to making sure there are many places for a website owner to get help from Google and knowledgeable members of the community.
The first place to start for help is Google Webmasters, a place where all of our support resources (many of which are available in 40 languages) are within easy reach:
Our second path to getting help is through our Google Webmaster Central Help Forums. We have forums in 16 languages—in English, Spanish, Hindi, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Russian, Turkish, Polish, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean. The forums are staffed with dedicated Googlers who are there to make sure your questions get answered. Aside from the Googlers who monitor the forums, there is an amazing group of Top Contributors who generously offer their time to help other members of the community—many times providing greater detail and analysis for a particular website’s content than we could. The forums allow for both a public discussion and, if the case requires it, for private follow-up replies in the forum.
A third path for support to website owners is our series of Online Webmaster Office Hours — in English, German, Japanese, Turkish, Hindi and French. Anyone who joins these is welcome to ask us questions about website appearance in Google Search, which we will answer to the best of our abilities. All of our team members think that one of the best parts of speaking at conferences and events is the opportunity to answer questions from the audience,  and the online office hours format creates that opportunity for many more people who might not be able to travel to a specialized event. You can always check out the Google Webmaster calendar for upcoming webmaster officer hours and live events.

Beyond all these resources, we also work hard to ensure that everyone who wants to understand Google Search can find relevant info on our frequently updated site How Search Works.

While how a website behaves on the web is openly visible to all who can see it, we know that some website owners prefer not to make it known their website has a problem in a public forum. There’s no shame in asking for support, but if you have an issue for your website that seems sensitive—for which you don’t think you can share all the details publicly—you can call out that you would prefer to share necessary details only with someone experienced and who is willing to help, using the forum’s “Private Reply” feature.
Are there other things you think we should be doing that would help your website get the most out of search? Please let us know -- in our forums, our office hours, or via Twitter @googlewmc.
Posted by Juan Felipe Rincón from Google’s Webmaster Outreach & Support team
Categories: Web Design

Google I/O 2018 - What sessions should SEOs and Webmasters watch live ?

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 08:36
Google I/O 2018 is starting today in California, to an international audience of 7,000+ developers. It will run until Thursday night. It is our annual developers festival, where product announcements are made, new APIs and frameworks are introduced, and Product Managers present the latest from Google.

However, you don't have to physically attend the event to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity: many conferences and talks are live streamed on YouTube for anyone to watch. You will find the full-event schedule here.

Dozens upon dozens of talks will take place over the next 3 days. We have hand picked the talks that we think will be the most interesting for webmasters and SEO professionals. Each link shared will bring you to pages with more details about each talk, and you will find out how to tune in to the live stream. All times are California time (PCT). We might add other sessions to this list.

Tuesday, May 8th
  • 3pm - Web Security post Spectre/Meltdown, with Emily Schechter and Chris Palmer - more info.
  • 5pm - Dru Knox and Stephan Somogyi talk about building a seamless web with Chrome - more info.


Wednesday, May 9th
  • 9.30am - Ewa Gasperowicz and Addy Osmani talk about Web Performance and increasing control over the loading experience - more info.
  • 10.30am - Alberto Medina and Thierry Muller will explain how to make a WordPress site progressive - more info.
  • 11.30am - Rob Dodson and Dominic Mazzoni will cover "What's new in web accessibility" - more info.
  • 3.30pm - Michael Bleigh will introduce how to leverage AMP in Firebase for a blazing fast website - more info.
  • 4.30pm - Rick Viscomi and Vinamrata Singal will introduce the latest with Lighthouse and Chrome UX Report for Web Performance - more info.


Thursday, May 10th
  • 8.30am - John Mueller and Tom Greenaway will talk about building Search-friendly JavaScript websites - more info.
  • 9.30am - Build e-commerce sites for the modern web with AMP, PWA, and more, with Adam Greenberg and Rowan Merewood - more info.
  • 12.30pm - Session on "Building a successful web presence with Google Search" by John Mueller and Mariya Moeva - more info.


This list is only a sample of the content at this year's Google I/O, and there might be many more that are interesting to you! To find out about those other talks, check out the full list of web sessions, but also the sessions about Design, the Cloud sessions, the machine learning sessions, and more… 
We hope you can make the time to watch the talks online, and participate in the excitement of I/O ! The videos will also be available on Youtube after the event, in case you can't tune in live.

Posted by Vincent Courson, Search Outreach Specialist, and the Google Webmasters team
Categories: Web Design

Send your recipes to the Google Assistant

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:13

Last year, we launched Google Home with recipe guidance, providing users with step-by-step instructions for cooking recipes. With more people using Google Home every day, we're publishing new guidelines so your recipes can support this voice guided experience. You may receive traffic from more sources, since users can now discover your recipes through the Google Assistant on Google Home. The updated structured data properties provide users with more information about your recipe, resulting in higher quality traffic to your site.

Updated recipe properties to help users find your recipes

We updated our recipe developer documentation to help users find your recipes and experience them with Google Search and the Google Assistant on Google Home. This will enable more potential traffic to your site. To ensure that users can access your recipe in more ways, we need more information about your recipe. We now recommend the following properties:

  • Videos: Show users how to make the dish by adding a video array
  • Category: Tell users the type of meal or course of the dish (for example, "dinner", "dessert", "entree")
  • Cuisine: Specify the region associated with your recipe (for example, "Mediterranean", "American", "Cantonese")
  • Keywords: Add other terms for your recipe such as the season ("summer"), the holiday ("Halloween", "Diwali"), the special event ("wedding", "birthday"), or other descriptors ("quick", "budget", "authentic")

We also added more guidance for recipeInstructions. You can specify each step of the recipe with the HowToStep property, and sections of steps with the HowToSection property.

Add recipe instructions and ingredients for the Google Assistant

We now require the recipeIngredient and recipeInstructions properties if you want to support the Google Assistant on Google Home. Adding these properties can make your recipe eligible for integration with the Google Assistant, enabling more users to discover your recipes. If your recipe doesn't have these properties, it won't be eligible for guidance with the Google Assistant, but it can still be eligible to appear in Search results.

For more information, visit our Recipe developer documentation. If you have questions about the feature, please ask us in the Webmaster Help Forum.

Posted by Earl J. Wagner, Software Engineer
Categories: Web Design

We updated our job posting guidelines

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:43

Last year, we launched job search on Google to connect more people with jobs. When you provide Job Posting structured data, it helps drive more relevant traffic to your page by connecting job seekers with your content. To ensure that job seekers are getting the best possible experience, it's important to follow our Job Posting guidelines.

We've recently made some changes to our Job Posting guidelines to help improve the job seeker experience.

  • Remove expired jobs
  • Place structured data on the job's detail page
  • Make sure all job details are present in the job description
Remove expired jobs

When job seekers put in effort to find a job and apply, it can be very discouraging to discover that the job that they wanted is no longer available. Sometimes, job seekers only discover that the job posting is expired after deciding to apply for the job. Removing expired jobs from your site may drive more traffic because job seekers are more confident when jobs that they visit on your site are still open for application. For more information on how to remove a job posting, see Remove a job posting.


Place structured data on the job's detail page

Job seekers find it confusing when they land on a list of jobs instead of the specific job's detail page. To fix this, put structured data on the most detailed leaf page possible. Don't add structured data to pages intended to present a list of jobs (for example, search result pages) and only add it to the most specific page describing a single job with its relevant details.

Make sure all job details are present in the job description

We've also noticed that some sites include information in the JobPosting structured data that is not present anywhere in the job posting. Job seekers are confused when the job details they see in Google Search don't match the job description page. Make sure that the information in the JobPosting structured data always matches what's on the job posting page. Here are some examples:

  • If you add salary information to the structured data, then also add it to the job posting. Both salary figures should match.
  • The location in the structured data should match the location in the job posting.

Providing structured data content that is consistent with the content of the job posting pages not only helps job seekers find the exact job that they were looking for, but may also drive more relevant traffic to your job postings and therefore increase the chances of finding the right candidates for your jobs.

If your site violates the Job Posting guidelines (including the guidelines in this blog post), we may take manual action against your site and it may not be eligible for display in the jobs experience on Google Search. You can submit a reconsideration request to let us know that you have fixed the problem(s) identified in the manual action notification. If your request is approved, the manual action will be removed from your site or page.

For more information, visit our Job Posting developer documentation and our JobPosting FAQ.

Posted by Anouar Bendahou, Trust & Safety Search Team
Categories: Web Design

Distrust of the Symantec PKI: Immediate action needed by site operators

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 06:58
Cross-posted from the Google Security Blog.

We previously announced plans to deprecate Chrome’s trust in the Symantec certificate authority (including Symantec-owned brands like Thawte, VeriSign, Equifax, GeoTrust, and RapidSSL). This post outlines how site operators can determine if they’re affected by this deprecation, and if so, what needs to be done and by when. Failure to replace these certificates will result in site breakage in upcoming versions of major browsers, including Chrome.

Chrome 66

If your site is using a SSL/TLS certificate from Symantec that was issued before June 1, 2016, it will stop functioning in Chrome 66, which could already be impacting your users.

If you are uncertain about whether your site is using such a certificate, you can preview these changes in Chrome Canary to see if your site is affected. If connecting to your site displays a certificate error or a warning in DevTools as shown below, you’ll need to replace your certificate. You can get a new certificate from any trusted CA, including Digicert, which recently acquired Symantec’s CA business.

An example of a certificate error that Chrome 66 users might see if you are using a Legacy Symantec SSL/TLS certificate that was issued before June 1, 2016. 
The DevTools message you will see if you need to replace your certificate before Chrome 66.Chrome 66 has already been released to the Canary and Dev channels, meaning affected sites are already impacting users of these Chrome channels. If affected sites do not replace their certificates by March 15, 2018, Chrome Beta users will begin experiencing the failures as well. You are strongly encouraged to replace your certificate as soon as possible if your site is currently showing an error in Chrome Canary.

Chrome 70

Starting in Chrome 70, all remaining Symantec SSL/TLS certificates will stop working, resulting in a certificate error like the one shown above. To check if your certificate will be affected, visit your site in Chrome today and open up DevTools. You’ll see a message in the console telling you if you need to replace your certificate.

The DevTools message you will see if you need to replace your certificate before Chrome 70.If you see this message in DevTools, you’ll want to replace your certificate as soon as possible. If the certificates are not replaced, users will begin seeing certificate errors on your site as early as July 20, 2018. The first Chrome 70 Beta release will be around September 13, 2018.

Expected Chrome Release Timeline

The table below shows the First Canary, First Beta and Stable Release for Chrome 66 and 70. The first impact from a given release will coincide with the First Canary, reaching a steadily widening audience as the release hits Beta and then ultimately Stable. Site operators are strongly encouraged to make the necessary changes to their sites before the First Canary release for Chrome 66 and 70, and no later than the corresponding Beta release dates.

ReleaseFirst CanaryFirst BetaStable ReleaseChrome 66January 20, 2018~ March 15, 2018~ April 17, 2018Chrome 70~ July 20, 2018~ September 13, 2018~ October 16, 2018
For information about the release timeline for a particular version of Chrome, you can also refer to the Chromium Development Calendar which will be updated should release schedules change.
In order to address the needs of certain enterprise users, Chrome will also implement an Enterprise Policy that allows disabling the Legacy Symantec PKI distrust starting with Chrome 66. As of January 1, 2019, this policy will no longer be available and the Legacy Symantec PKI will be distrusted for all users.

Special Mention: Chrome 65

As noted in the previous announcement, SSL/TLS certificates from the Legacy Symantec PKI issued after December 1, 2017 are no longer trusted. This should not affect most site operators, as it requires entering in to special agreement with DigiCert to obtain such certificates. Accessing a site serving such a certificate will fail and the request will be blocked as of Chrome 65. To avoid such errors, ensure that such certificates are only served to legacy devices and not to browsers such as Chrome.


Posted by Devon O’Brien, Ryan Sleevi, Emily Stark, Chrome security team
Categories: Web Design

Rolling out mobile-first indexing

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:57

Today we’re announcing that after a year and a half of careful experimentation and testing, we’ve started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing.

To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page's content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we'll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they're looking for.

We continue to have one single index that we use for serving search results. We do not have a “mobile-first index” that’s separate from our main index. Historically, the desktop version was indexed, but increasingly, we will be using the mobile versions of content.

We are notifying sites that are migrating to mobile-first indexing via Search Console. Site owners will see significantly increased crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot. Additionally, Google will show the mobile version of pages in Search results and Google cached pages.

To understand more about how we determine the mobile content from a site, see our developer documentation. It covers how sites using responsive web design or dynamic serving are generally set for mobile-first indexing. For sites that have AMP and non-AMP pages, Google will prefer to index the mobile version of the non-AMP page.

Sites that are not in this initial wave don’t need to panic. Mobile-first indexing is about how we gather content, not about how content is ranked. Content gathered by mobile-first indexing has no ranking advantage over mobile content that’s not yet gathered this way or desktop content. Moreover, if you only have desktop content, you will continue to be represented in our index.

Having said that, we continue to encourage webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly. We do evaluate all content in our index -- whether it is desktop or mobile -- to determine how mobile-friendly it is. Since 2015, this measure can help mobile-friendly content perform better for those who are searching on mobile. Related, we recently announced that beginning in July 2018, content that is slow-loading may perform less well for both desktop and mobile searchers.

To recap:

  • Mobile-indexing is rolling out more broadly. Being indexed this way has no ranking advantage and operates independently from our mobile-friendly assessment.
  • Having mobile-friendly content is still helpful for those looking at ways to perform better in mobile search results.
  • Having fast-loading content is still helpful for those looking at ways to perform better for mobile and desktop users.
  • As always, ranking uses many factors. We may show content to users that’s not mobile-friendly or that is slow loading if our many other signals determine it is the most relevant content to show.

We’ll continue to monitor and evaluate this change carefully. If you have any questions, please drop by our Webmaster forums or our public events.

Posted by Fan Zhang, Software Engineer
Categories: Web Design

Introducing the Webmaster Video Series, now in Hindi

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 18:06
Google offers a broad range of resources, in multiple languages, to help you better understand your website and improve its performance. The recently released Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide, the Help Center, the Webmaster forums (which are available in 16 languages), and the various Webmaster blogs are just a few of them.
A few months ago, we launched the SEO Snippets video series, where the Google team answered some of the webmaster and SEO questions that we regularly see on the Webmaster Central Help Forum. We are now launching a similar series in Hindi, called the SEO Snippets in Hindi.

IFrom deciding what language to create content in (Hindi vs. Hinglish) to duplicate content, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions on the Hindi Webmaster forum and the India Webmaster community on Google+, in Hindi.
Check out the links shared in the videos to get more helpful webmaster information, drop by our help forum and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tips and insights!

Posted by Syed Malik, Google Search Outreach
Categories: Web Design

Using page speed in mobile search ranking

Mon, 02/26/2018 - 13:42

People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.

The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

We encourage developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics. Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance.

  • Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions
  • Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages
  • PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please visit our webmaster forums.

Posted by Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan
Categories: Web Design

How listening to our users helped us build a better Search Console

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 05:13
The new Search Console beta is up and running. We’ve been flexing our listening muscles and finding new ways to incorporate your feedback into the design. In this new release we've initially focused on building features supporting the users’ main goals and we'll be expanding functionality in the months to come. While some changes have been long expected, like refreshing the UI with Material Design, many changes are a result of continuous work with you, the Search Console users.
We’ve used 3 main communication channels to hear what our users are saying:
  • Help forum Top Contributors - Top Contributors in our help forums have been very helpful in bringing up topics seen in the forums. They communicate regularly with Google’s Search teams, and help the large community of Search Console users.
  • Open feedback - We analyzed open feedback comments about classic Search Console and identified the top requests coming in. Open feedback can be sent via the ‘Submit feedback’ button in Search Console. This open feedback helped us get more context around one of the top requests from the last years: more than 90 days of data in the Search Analytics (Performance) report. We learned of the need to compare to a similar period in the previous year, which confirmed that our decision to include 16 months of data might be on the right track.
  • Search Console panel - Last year we created a new communication channel by enlisting a group of four hundred randomly selected Search Console users, representing websites of all sizes. The panel members took part in almost every design iteration we had throughout the year, from explorations of new concepts through surveys, interviews and usability tests. The Search Console panel members have been providing valuable feedback which helped us test our assumptions and improve designs.
In one of these rounds we tested the new suggested design for the Performance report. Specifically we wanted to see whether it was clear how to use the ‘compare’ and ‘filter’ functionalities. To create an experience that felt as real as possible, we used a high fidelity prototype connected to real data. The prototype allowed study participants to freely interact with the user interface before even one row of production code had been written.
In this study we learned that the ‘compare’ functionality was often overlooked. We consequently changed the design with ‘filter’ and ‘compare’ appearing in a unified dialogue box, triggered when the ‘Add new’ chip is clicked. We continue to test this design and others to optimize its usability and usefulness.
We incorporated user feedback not only in practical design details, but also in architectural decisions. For example, user feedback led us to make major changes in the product’s core information architecture influencing the navigation and product structure of the new Search Console. The error and coverage reports were originally separated which could lead to multiple views of the same error. As a result of user feedback we united the error and coverage reporting offering one holistic view.
As the launch date grew closer, we performed several larger scale experiments. We A/B tested some of the new Search Console reports against the existing reports with 30,000 users. We tracked issue fix rates to verify new Search Console drives better results and sent out follow-up surveys to learn about their experience. This most recent feedback confirmed that export functionality was not a nice-to-have, but rather a requirement for many users and helped us tune detailed help pages in the initial release.
We are happy to announce that the new Search Console is now available to all sites. Whether it is through Search Console’s feedback button or through the user panel, we truly value a collaborative design process, where all of our users can help us build the best product.
Try out the new search console.
We're not finished yet! Which feature would you love to see in the next iteration of Search Console? Let us know below.
Posted by the Search Console UX team
Categories: Web Design

Launching SEO Audit category in Lighthouse Chrome extension

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 08:52

We're happy to announce that we are introducing another audit category to the Lighthouse Chrome Extension: SEO Audits.

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated auditing tool for improving the quality of web pages. It provides a well-lit path for improving the quality of sites by allowing developers to run audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps compatibility and more. Basically, it "keeps you from crashing into the rocks", hence the name Lighthouse.

The SEO audit category within Lighthouse enables developers and webmasters to run a basic SEO health-check for any web page that identifies potential areas for improvement. Lighthouse runs locally in your Chrome browser, enabling you to run the SEO audits on pages in a staging environment as well as on live pages, public pages and pages that require authentication.

Bringing SEO best practices to you

The current list of SEO audits is not an exhaustive list, nor does it make any SEO guarantees for Google websearch or other search engines. The current list of audits was designed to validate and reflect the SEO basics that every site should get right, and provides detailed guidance to developers and SEO practitioners of all skill levels. In the future, we hope to add more and more in-depth audits and guidance — let us know if you have suggestions for specific audits you'd like to see!

How to use it

Currently there are two ways to run these audits.

Using the Lighthouse Chrome Extension:
  1. Install the Lighthouse Chrome Extension
  2. Click on the Lighthouse icon in the extension bar 
  3. Select the Options menu, tick “SEO” and click OK, then Generate report

Running SEO Audits in Lighthouse extension

Using Chrome Developer tools on Chrome Canary:
  1. Open Chrome Developer Tools 
  2. Go to Audits 
  3. Click Perform an audit 
  4. Tick the “SEO” checkbox and click Run Audit

Running SEO Audits in Chrome Canary
The current Lighthouse Chrome extension contains an initial set of SEO audits which we’re planning to extend and enhance in the future. Once we're confident of its functionality, we’ll make the audits available by default in the stable release of Chrome Developer Tools.

We hope you find this functionality useful for your current and future projects. If these basic SEO tips are totally new to you and you find yourself interested in this area, make sure to read our complete SEO starter-guide! Leave your feedback and suggestions in the comments section below, on GitHub or on our Webmaster forum.

Happy auditing!

Posted by Valentyn, Webmaster Outreach Strategist.
Categories: Web Design