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SEO: Latest Google Updates

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Google Updates

Keep up to date with Google SEO Algorithm Updates with our notes from the recent google Webmaster Hangout from 30th May

  • Stop using ‘Doorway’ pages – Use 'Doorway' Pages May Result in a Manual Penalty
    Doorway pages have been frowned upon for some time. Google are now considering thin pages, with boilerplate content and nothing unique except for a few changed keywords, as doorway pages which could lead to manual penalty from the spam team.

  • Changing website platform? Expect Ranking Fluctuations Following a Platform Migration
    Expect Google to take some time to reprocess a site following a platform change, especially if the architecture has changed, such as URLs and internal linking, but if you see any long term impact you should explore to find any other issues.

  • Faceted Pages to be Canonicalised to Non-filtered Version
    Faceted pages or navigation is when the navigation changes on a page based on the filtering options offered by the website. This is often seen on large e-commerce sites that let you filter products by size, colour, price, and other specifications. Google recommends allowing crawling of faceted pages but canonicalise to non-filtered version of that page instead of blocking them with robots.txt.

  • Make infinite scroll pages search friendly by creating paginated versions for search.
    To make sure that search engines can crawl individual items linked from an infinite scroll page, make sure that you or your content management system produces a paginated series (component pages) to go along with your infinite scroll.

  • Googlebot to use URL Patterns to establish importance of a page when crawling larger sites
    Google tries to establish URL patterns to focus on crawling important pages and choose which ones to ignore when crawling larger sites. This is done on a per-site basis as there aren’t platform-specific rules, because they can be customised with different behaviour.

  • URL Parameters Make it Easier for Search Engines to Crawl your Site
    URL Parameters (think of them like a directory structure like where your content is split into directories) make it easier for Google to understand the URL structure, and identify which URLs to ignore.

  • User-generated Content is being Reviewed and May Cause SERP Fluctuations
    Sites with user-generated content may see SERP fluctuations as Google tinker with the algorithm that judges content quality.

  • Quality Algorithms are Changing and being Used to Influence Crawling and Indexing Speed
    Google has updated its quality algorithm. The results from the quality algorithm will be used to influence other algorithms such as those which control crawling and indexing speed.

  • Unnatural Links to External Sites Might Cause All Links to be Ignored
    Unnatural links to external sites, such as paid links or links within user-generated content may cause Google to lose trust in all the links from a site. If in double, ensure they are coded using the nofollow tag.

  • Mobile Interstitial Penalty Doesn't Impact Desktop or Brand Searches
    The mobile interstitial penalty doesn’t have any impact on desktop results, and won’t impact brand searches. However, using banners within the page are a better option than pop-ups which prevent any content being seen by users.

  • Disallowing Internal Search Pages won't Impact the Sitelinks Search Box Markup
    Internal search pages on a site do not need to be crawlable for the Sitelinks Search Box markup to work. Google doesn’t differentiate desktop and mobile URLs, so you might want to set up a redirect to the mobile search pages for mobile devices.

  • No Limits to the Number of Nofollow External Links on a Page
    Google doesn’t have a limit for the number of nofollow external links on a page.

  • Refrain from Redirect Chains – They Impact Usability and Crawling Efficiency
    Google aren’t currently penalising websites for having redirect chains, but they can become a usability issue, particularly if they move between hostnames which can take longer to process. Google only crawls 5 redirects at a time, and will continue crawling a chain later on. This many redirects should be avoided, particularly for important URLs.

  • Mobile URLs Won't Need to be Included in Sitemaps for Mobile-first Indexing
    It won’t be necessary to include mobile pages in sitemaps for Mobile-first indexing. Google’s John Mueller actually suggested that a separate mobile version is not necessary for most websites (unless they use Mobile technology such as WAP or WML, etc).

  • Use the unavailable_after Meta Tag to Tell Google when to Drop URLs from the Index
    If you know when a page will expire, you can use the unavailable_after meta tag to tell Google when they should remove a URL from the index without them having to be recrawled.

  • The URL Removal Tool Blocks Pages Appearing in SERPs but Doesn't Prevent Indexing
    Use the URL removal tool in Search Console to hide individual pages from appearing in search results, but remember that this doesn’t stop them being indexed. You can also use to the tool to remove all URLs under a shared path. You shouldn’t use the tool for general maintenance, only for something critical you want removed as quickly as possible.

  • Geo-targeting is Overridden when Search Queries indicate User is Looking for Something in Different Country
    Search results are geo-targeted based on user’s browsing location, but this will be overridden if Google recognises that the user is looking for something in a different country.


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