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Back in February, we announced domain-wide data in Search Console, to give site owners a comprehensive view of their site, removing the need to switch between different properties to get the full picture of your data.We’ve seen lots of positive reactions from users who verified domain properties. A common feedback we heard from users is that before moving to domain properties they were underestimating their traffic, and the new method helped them understand their clicks and impressions aggregated data more effectively. When we asked Domain property users about their satisfaction with the feature, almost all of them seem to be satisfied. Furthermore, most of these users reported that they find domain properties more useful than the traditional URL prefix properties.However, changing a DNS record is not always trivial, especially for small and medium businesses. We heard that the main challenge preventing site owners from switching to Domain properties is getting their domain verified. To help with this challenge, we collaborated with various domain name registrars to automate part of the verification flow. The flow will guide you through the necessary steps needed to update your registrar configuration so that your DNS record includes the verification token we provide. This will make the verification process a lot easier.How to use Auto-DNS verificationTo verify your domain using the new flow, click ‘add property’ from the property selector (drop down on top of Search Console sidebar). Then, choose the ‘Domain’ option. The system will guide you through a series of steps, including a visit to the registrar site where you need to apply changes - there will be fewer and easier steps than before for you to go through. You can learn more about verifying your site at the Help Center.Image: Auto-DNS verification flow We hope you can use this new capability and gain ownership of your Domain property today. As always, please let us know if there is anything we can do to improve via the product feedback button, the Webmasters community or mention us on Twitter.Posted by Ruty Mundel, Search Console engineering team
With the move to the new Search Console, we've decided to clean up some parts of the Search Console API as well. In the Search Analytics API, going forward we'll no longer support these Android app search appearance types: Is InstallIs App UniversalIs Opened Since these appearance types are no longer used in the UI, they haven't been populated with data recently. Going forward, we won't be showing these types at all through the API. Additionally, for the Sitemaps API, we're no longer populating data on indexing status of submitted sitemap files in the "Indexed" field. We're still committed to the Search Console API. In particular, we're working on updating the Search Console API to the new Search Console. We don't have any specific timeframes to share at the moment, but stay tuned to find out more!Posted by Ziv Hodak, Search Console product manager
We love to help folks make awesome websites. For a while now, we've been answering questions from developers, site-owners, webmasters, and of course SEOs in our office hours hangouts, in the help forums, and at events. Recently, we've (re-)started answering your questions in a video series called #AskGoogleWebmasters on our YouTube channel. (At Google, behind the scenes, during the recording of one of the episodes.) When we started with the webmaster office-hours back in 2012, we thought we'd be able to get through all questions within a few months, or perhaps a year. Well ... the questions still haven't stopped -- it's great to see such engagement when it comes to making great websites! To help make it a bit easier to find answers, we've started producing shorter videos answering individual questions. Some of the questions may seem fairly trivial to you, others don't always have simple answers, but all of them are worth answering. Curious about the first episodes? Check out the videos below and the playlist for all episodes! To ask a question, just use the hashtag #AskGoogleWebmasters on Twitter. While we can't get to all submissions, we regularly pick up the questions there to use in future episodes. We pick questions primarily about websites & websearch, which are relevant to many sites. Want to stay in the loop? Make sure to subscribe to our channel. If you'd like to discuss the questions or other important webmaster topics, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forums and chat with the awesome experts there. Posted by John Mueller, Google Switzerland
Most of the time, our search engine runs properly. Our teams work hard to prevent technical issues that could affect our users who are searching the web, or webmasters whose sites we index and serve to users. Similarly, the underlying systems that we use to power the search engine also run as intended most of the time. When small disruptions happen, they are largely not visible to anyone except our teams who ensure that our products are up and running. However, like all complex systems, sometimes larger outages can occur, which may lead to disruptions for both users and website creators. In the last few months, such a situation occurred with our indexing systems, which had a ripple effect on some other parts of our infrastructure. While we worked as quickly as possible to remedy the situation, we apologize for the disruption, as our goal is to continuously provide high-quality products to our users and to the web ecosystem. Since then, we took a closer, careful look into the situation. In the process, we learned a few lessons that we'd like to share with you today. In this blog post, we will go into more details about what happened, clarify how we plan to communicate better if such things happen in the future, and remind website owners of the channels they can use to communicate with us. So, what happened a few months ago? In April, we had several issues related to our index. The Search index is the database that holds the hundreds of billions of web pages that we crawled on the web and that we think could answer some of our users’ queries. When a user enters a query in the Google search engine, our ranking algorithms sort through those pages in our Search index to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second. Here is more information on what happened. 1. The indexing issue To start it off, we temporarily lost part of the Search index.Wait... What? What do you mean “lost part of the index?” Is that even possible? Basically, when serving search results to users, to accelerate the speed of the service, the query of the user only “travels” as far as the closest of our data centers supporting the Google Search product, from which the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is generated. So when there are modifications to the composition of the index (some pages added and removed, documents are merged, or other types of data modification), those modifications need to be reflected in all of those data centers. The consequence is that users all over the world are consistently served pages from the most recent version of the index. Google owns and operates data centers (like the one pictured above) around the world, to keep our products running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - source Keeping the index unified across all those data centers is a non trivial task. For large user-facing services, we may deploy updates by starting in one data center and expand until all relevant data centers are updated. For sensitive pieces of infrastructure, we may extend a rollout over several days, interleaving them across instances in different geographic regions. source So, as we pushed some planned changes to the Search index, on April 5th parts of the deployment system broke, on a Friday no-less! More specifically: as we were updating the index over some of our data centers, a small number of documents ended up being dropped from the index accidentally. Hence: “we lost part of the index.” Luckily, our on-call engineers caught the issue pretty quickly, at the same time as we started picking up chatter on social media (thanks to everyone who notified us over that weekend!). As a result, we were able to start reverting the Search index to its previous stable state in all data centers only a few hours after the issue was uncovered (we keep back-ups of our indexes just in case such events happen). We communicated on Sunday, April 7th that we were aware of the issue, and that things were starting to get back to normal. As data centers were progressively reverting back to a stable index, we continued updating on Twitter (on April 8th, on April 9th), until we were confident that all data centers were fully back to a complete version of the index on April 11th. 2. The Search Console issue Search Console is the set of tools and reports any webmaster can use to access data about their website’s performance in Search. For example, it shows how many impressions and clicks a website gets in the organic search results every day, or information on what pages of a website are included and excluded from the Search index. As a consequence of the Search index having the issues we described above, Search Console started to also show inconsistencies. This is because some of the data that surfaces in Search Console originates from the Search index itself: the Index Coverage report depends on the Search index being consistent across data centers.when we store a page in the Search index, we can annotate the entry with key signals about the page, like the fact that the page contains rich results markup for example. Therefore, an issue with the Search index can have an impact on the Rich Results reports in Search Console.Basically, many Search Console individual reports read data from a dedicated database. That database is partially built by using information that comes from the Search index. As we had to revert back to a previous version of the Search index, we also had to pause the updating of the Search Console database. This resulted in plateau-ing data for some reports (and flakiness in others, like the URL inspection tool). Index coverage report for indexed pages, which shows an example of the data freshness issues in Search Console in April 2019, with a longer time between 2 updates than what is usually observed. Because the whole Search index issue took several days to roll back (see explanation above), we were delayed focusing on fixing the Search Console database until a few days later, only after the indexing issues were fixed. We communicated on April 15th - tweet - that the Search Console was having troubles and that we were working on fixing it, and we completed our fixes on April 28th (day on which the reports started gathering fresh data again, see graph above). We communicated on Twitter on April 30th that the issue was resolved- tweet. 3. Other issues unrelated to the main indexing bug Google Search relies on a number of systems that work together. While some of those systems can be tightly linked to one another, in some cases different parts of the system experience unrelated problems around the same time. In the present case for example, around the same time as the main indexing bug explained above, we also had brief problems gathering fresh Google News content. Additionally, while rendering pages, certain URLs started to redirect Googlebot to other unrelated pages. These issues were entirely unrelated to the indexing bug, and were quickly resolved (tweet 1 & tweet 2). Our communication and how we intend on doing better In addition to communicating on social media (as highlighted above) during those few weeks, we also gave webmasters more details in 2 other channels: Search Console, as well as the Search Console Help Center. In the Search Console Help Center We updated our “Data anomalies in Search Console” help page after the issue was fully identified. This page is used to communicate information about data disruptions to our Search Console service when the impact affects a large number of website owners. In Search Console Because we know that not all our users read social media or the external Help Center page, we also added annotations on Search Console reports, to notify users that the data might not be accurate (see image below). We added this information after the resolution of the bugs. Clicking on “see here for more details” sends users to the “Data Anomalies” page in the Help Center. Index coverage report for indexed pages, which shows an example of the data annotations that we can include to notify users of specific issues. Communications going forward When things break at Google, we have a strong “postmortem” culture: creating a document to debrief on the breakage, and try to avoid it happening next time. The whole process is described in more detail at the Google Site Reliability Engineering website. In the wake of the April indexing issues, we included in the postmortem how to better communicate with webmasters in case of large system failures. Our key decisions were: Explore ways to more quickly share information within Search Console itself about widespread bugs, and have that information serve as the main point of reference for webmasters to check, in case they are suspecting outages.More promptly post to the Search Console data anomalies page, when relevant (if the disturbance is going to be seen over the long term in Search Console data).Continue tweeting as quickly as we can about such issues to quickly reassure webmasters we’re aware and that the issue is on our end. Those commitments should make potential future similar situations more transparent for webmasters as a whole. Putting our resolutions into action: the “new URLs not indexed” case study On May 22nd, we tested our new communications strategy, as we experienced another issue. Here’s what happened: while processing certain URLs, our duplicate management system ran out of memory after a planned infrastructure upgrade, which caused all incoming URLs to stop processing. Here is a timeline of how we thought about communications, following the 3 points highlighted just above: We noticed the issue (around 5.30am California time, May 22nd)We tweeted about the ongoing issue (around 6.40am California time, May 22nd)We tweeted about the resolution (around 10pm California time, May 22nd)We evaluated updating the “Data Anomalies” page in the Help Center, but decided against it since we did not expect any long-term impact for the majority of webmasters' Search Console data in the long run.The confusion that this issue created for many confirmed our earlier conclusions that we need a way to signal more clearly in the Search Console itself that there might be a disruption to one of our systems which could impact webmasters. Such a solution might take longer to implement. We will communicate on this topic in the future, as we have more news. Last week, we also had another indexing issue. As with May 22, we tweeted to let people know there was an issue, that we were working to fix it and when the issue was resolved. How to debug and communicate with us We hope that this post will bring more clarity to how our systems are complex and can sometimes break, and will also help you understand how we communicate about these matters. But while this post focuses on a widespread breakage of our systems, it’s important to keep in mind that most website indexing issues are caused by an individual website’s configuration, which can create difficulties for Google Search to index that website properly. For those cases, all webmasters can debug issues using Search Console and our Help center. After doing so, if you still think that an issue is not coming from your site or don’t know how to resolve it, come talk to us and our community, we always want to take feedback from our users. Here is how to signal an issue to us: Check our Webmaster Community, sometimes other webmasters have highlighted an issue that also impacts your site.In person! We love contact, come and talk to us at events. Calendar.Within our products! The Search Console feedback tool is very useful to our teams.Twitter and YouTube! Posted by Vincent Courson, Google Search Outreach
Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our search results. Most aren’t noticeable but help us incrementally continue to improve.Sometimes, an update may be more noticeable. We aim to confirm such updates when we feel there is actionable information that webmasters, content producers or others might take in relation to them. For example, when our “Speed Update” happened, we gave months of advanced notice and advice.Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.” They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. These core updates may also affect Google Discover.We confirm broad core updates because they typically produce some widely notable effects. Some sites may note drops or gains during them. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.Core updates & reassessing contentThere’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.Focus on contentAs explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.A starting point is to revisit the advice we’ve offered in the past on how to self-assess if you believe you’re offering quality content. We’ve updated that advice with a fresh set of questions to ask yourself about your content:Content and quality questionsDoes the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?Expertise questionsDoes the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?Presentation and production questionsIs the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?Comparative questionsDoes the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?Beyond asking yourself these questions, consider having others you trust but who are unaffiliated with your site provide an honest assessment.Also consider an audit of the drops you may have experienced. What pages were most impacted and for what types of searches? Look closely at these to understand how they’re assessed against some of the questions above.Get to know the quality rater guidelines & E-A-T Another resource for advice on great content is to review our search quality rater guidelines. Raters are people who give us insights on if our algorithms seem to be providing good results, a way to help confirm our changes are working well.It’s important to understand that search raters have no control over how pages rank. Rater data is not used directly in our ranking algorithms. Rather, we use them as a restaurant might get feedback cards from diners. The feedback helps us know if our systems seem to be working.If you understand how raters learn to assess good content, that might help you improve your own content. In turn, you might perhaps do better in Search.In particular, raters are trained to understand if content has what we call strong E-A-T. That stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider.Here are a few articles written by third-parties who share how they’ve used the guidelines as advice to follow:E-A-T and SEO, from Marie HaynesGoogle Updates Quality Rater Guidelines Targeting E-A-T, Page Quality & Interstitials, from Jennifer SleggLeveraging E-A-T for SEO Success, presentation from Lily RayGoogle’s Core Algorithm Updates and The Power of User Studies: How Real Feedback From Real People Can Help Site Owners Surface Website Quality Problems (And More), Glenn GabeWhy E-A-T & Core Updates Will Change Your Content Approach, from Fajr MuhammadRecovering and more adviceA common question after a core update is how long does it take for a site to recover, if it improves content?Broad core updates tend to happen every few months. Content that was impacted by one might not recover - assuming improvements have been made - until the next broad core update is released.However, we’re constantly making updates to our search algorithms, including smaller core updates. We don’t announce all of these because they’re generally not widely noticeable. Still, when released, they can cause content to recover if improvements warrant.Do keep in mind that improvements made by site owners aren’t a guarantee of recovery, nor do pages have any static or guaranteed position in our search results. If there’s more deserving content, that will continue to rank well with our systems.It’s also important to understand that search engines like Google do not understand content the way human beings do. Instead, we look for signals we can gather about content and understand how those correlate with how humans assess relevance. How pages link to each other is one well-known signal that we use. But we use many more, which we don’t disclose to help protect the integrity of our results.We test any broad core update before it goes live, including gathering feedback from the aforementioned search quality raters, to see if how we’re weighing signals seems beneficial.Of course, no improvement we make to Search is perfect. This is why we keep updating. We take in more feedback, do more testing and keep working to improve our ranking systems. This work on our end can mean that content might recover in the future, even if a content owner makes no changes. In such situations, our continued improvements might assess such content more favorably.We hope the guidance offered here is helpful. You’ll also find plenty of advice about good content with the resources we offer from Google Webmasters, including tools, help pages and our forums. Learn more here.Posted by Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search
Google Images has made a series of changes to help people explore, learn and do more through visual search. An important element of visual search is the ability for users to scan many ideas before coming to a decision, whether it’s purchasing a product, learning more about a stylish room, or finding instructions for a DIY project. Often this involves loading many web pages, which can slow down a search considerably and prevent users from completing a task. As previewed at Google I/O, we’re launching a new AMP-powered feature in Google Images on the mobile web, Swipe to Visit, which makes it faster and easier for users to browse and visit web pages. After a Google Images user selects an image to view on a mobile device, they will get a preview of the website header, which can be easily swiped up to load the web page instantly. Swipe to Visit uses AMP's prerender capability to show a preview of the page displayed at the bottom of the screen. When a user swipes up on the preview, the web page is displayed instantly and the publisher receives a pageview. The speed and ease of this experience makes it more likely for users to visit a publisher's site, while still allowing users to continue their browsing session. Publishers who support AMP don’t need to take any additional action for their sites to appear in Swipe to Visit on Google Images. Publishers who don’t support AMP can learn more about getting started with AMP here. In the coming weeks, publishers can also view their traffic data from AMP in Google Images in a Search Console’s performance report for Google Images in a new search area named “AMP on Image result”. We look forward to continuing to support the Google Images ecosystem with features that help users and publishers alike. Posted by Assaf Broitman, Google Images PM
Yesterday we announced that we're open-sourcing Google's production robots.txt parser. It was an exciting moment that paves the road for potential Search open sourcing projects in the future! Feedback is helpful, and we're eagerly collecting questions from developers and webmasters alike. One question stood out, which we'll address in this post:Why isn't a code handler for other rules like crawl-delay included in the code?The internet draft we published yesterday provides an extensible architecture for rules that are not part of the standard. This means that if a crawler wanted to support their own line like "unicorns: allowed", they could. To demonstrate how this would look in a parser, we included a very common line, sitemap, in our open-source robots.txt parser.While open-sourcing our parser library, we analyzed the usage of robots.txt rules. In particular, we focused on rules unsupported by the internet draft, such as crawl-delay, nofollow, and noindex. Since these rules were never documented by Google, naturally, their usage in relation to Googlebot is very low. Digging further, we saw their usage was contradicted by other rules in all but 0.001% of all robots.txt files on the internet. These mistakes hurt websites' presence in Google's search results in ways we don’t think webmasters intended.In the interest of maintaining a healthy ecosystem and preparing for potential future open source releases, we're retiring all code that handles unsupported and unpublished rules (such as noindex) on September 1, 2019. For those of you who relied on the noindex indexing directive in the robots.txt file, which controls crawling, there are a number of alternative options:Noindex in robots meta tags: Supported both in the HTTP response headers and in HTML, the noindex directive is the most effective way to remove URLs from the index when crawling is allowed.404 and 410 HTTP status codes: Both status codes mean that the page does not exist, which will drop such URLs from Google's index once they're crawled and processed.Password protection: Unless markup is used to indicate subscription or paywalled content, hiding a page behind a login will generally remove it from Google's index.Disallow in robots.txt: Search engines can only index pages that they know about, so blocking the page from being crawled usually means its content won’t be indexed. While the search engine may also index a URL based on links from other pages, without seeing the content itself, we aim to make such pages less visible in the future.Search Console Remove URL tool: The tool is a quick and easy method to remove a URL temporarily from Google's search results.For more guidance about how to remove information from Google's search results, visit our Help Center. If you have questions, you can find us on Twitter and in our Webmaster Community, both offline and online.Posted by Gary
For 25 years, the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) was only a de-facto standard. This had frustrating implications sometimes. On one hand, for webmasters, it meant uncertainty in corner cases, like when their text editor included BOM characters in their robots.txt files. On the other hand, for crawler and tool developers, it also brought uncertainty; for example, how should they deal with robots.txt files that are hundreds of megabytes large?Today, we announced that we're spearheading the effort to make the REP an internet standard. While this is an important step, it means extra work for developers who parse robots.txt files.We're here to help: we open sourced the C++ library that our production systems use for parsing and matching rules in robots.txt files. This library has been around for 20 years and it contains pieces of code that were written in the 90's. Since then, the library evolved; we learned a lot about how webmasters write robots.txt files and corner cases that we had to cover for, and added what we learned over the years also to the internet draft when it made sense.We also included a testing tool in the open source package to help you test a few rules. Once built, the usage is very straightforward:robots_main <robots.txt content> <user_agent> <url>If you want to check out the library, head over to our GitHub repository for the robots.txt parser. We'd love to see what you can build using it! If you built something using the library, drop us a comment on Twitter, and if you have comments or questions about the library, find us on GitHub.Posted by Edu Pereda, Lode Vandevenne, and Gary, Search Open Sourcing team
For 25 years, the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) has been one of the most basic and critical components of the web. It allows website owners to exclude automated clients, for example web crawlers, from accessing their sites - either partially or completely.In 1994, Martijn Koster (a webmaster himself) created the initial standard after crawlers were overwhelming his site. With more input from other webmasters, the REP was born, and it was adopted by search engines to help website owners manage their server resources easier.However, the REP was never turned into an official Internet standard, which means that developers have interpreted the protocol somewhat differently over the years. And since its inception, the REP hasn't been updated to cover today's corner cases. This is a challenging problem for website owners because the ambiguous de-facto standard made it difficult to write the rules correctly.We wanted to help website owners and developers create amazing experiences on the internet instead of worrying about how to control crawlers. Together with the original author of the protocol, webmasters, and other search engines, we've documented how the REP is used on the modern web, and submitted it to the IETF.The proposed REP draft reflects over 20 years of real world experience of relying on robots.txt rules, used both by Googlebot and other major crawlers, as well as about half a billion websites that rely on REP. These fine grained controls give the publisher the power to decide what they'd like to be crawled on their site and potentially shown to interested users. It doesn't change the rules created in 1994, but rather defines essentially all undefined scenarios for robots.txt parsing and matching, and extends it for the modern web. Notably:Any URI based transfer protocol can use robots.txt. For example, it's not limited to HTTP anymore and can be used for FTP or CoAP as well. Developers must parse at least the first 500 kibibytes of a robots.txt. Defining a maximum file size ensures that connections are not open for too long, alleviating unnecessary strain on servers. A new maximum caching time of 24 hours or cache directive value if available, gives website owners the flexibility to update their robots.txt whenever they want, and crawlers aren't overloading websites with robots.txt requests. For example, in the case of HTTP, Cache-Control headers could be used for determining caching time. The specification now provisions that when a previously accessible robots.txt file becomes inaccessible due to server failures, known disallowed pages are not crawled for a reasonably long period of time. Additionally, we've updated the augmented Backus–Naur form in the internet draft to better define the syntax of robots.txt, which is critical for developers to parse the lines.RFC stands for Request for Comments, and we mean it: we uploaded the draft to IETF to get feedback from developers who care about the basic building blocks of the internet. As we work to give web creators the controls they need to tell us how much information they want to make available to Googlebot, and by extension, eligible to appear in Search, we have to make sure we get this right.If you'd like to drop us a comment, ask us questions, or just say hi, you can find us on Twitter and in our Webmaster Community, both offline and online.Posted by Henner Zeller, Lizzi Harvey, and Gary
As we progress with the migration to the new Search Console experience, we will be saying farewell to one of our settings: preferred domain.It's common for a website to have the same content on multiple URLs. For example, it might have the same content on http://example.com/ as on https://www.example.com/index.html. To make things easier, when our systems recognize that, we'll pick one URL as the "canonical" for Search. You can still tell us your preference in multiple ways if there's something specific you want us to pick (see paragraph below). But if you don't have a preference, we'll choose the best option we find. Note that with the deprecation we will no longer use any existing Search Console preferred domain configuration.You can find detailed explanations on how to tell us your preference in the Consolidate duplicate URLs help center article. Here are some of the options available to you:Use rel=”canonical” link tag on HTML pagesUse rel=”canonical” HTTP headerUse a sitemapUse 301 redirects for retired URLsSend us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate
Over the years we attended hundreds of conferences, we spoke to thousands of webmasters, and recorded hundreds of hours of videos to help web creators find information about how to perform better in Google Search results. Now we'd like to go further: help those who aren't able to travel internationally and access the same information. Today we're officially announcing the Webmaster Conference, a series of local events around the world. These events are primarily located where it's difficult to access search conferences or information about Google Search, or where there's a specific need for a Search event. For example, if we identify that a region has problems with hacked sites, we may organize an event focusing on that specific topic. We want web creators to have equal opportunity in Google Search regardless of their language, financial status, gender, location, or any other attribute. The conferences are always free and easily accessible in the region where they're organized, and, based on feedback from the local communities and analyses, they're tailored for the audience that signed up for the events. That means it doesn't matter how much you already know about Google Search; the event you attend will have takeaways tailored to you. The talks will be in the local language, in case of international speakers through interpreters, and we'll do our best to also offer sign language interpretation if requested. Webmaster Conference OkinawaThe structure of the event varies from region to region. For example, in Okinawa, Japan, we had a wonderful half-day event with novice and advanced web creators where we focused on how to perform better in Google Images. At Webmaster Conference India and Indonesia, that might change and we may focus more on how to create faster websites. We will also host web communities in Europe and North America later this year, so keep an eye out for the announcements! We will continue attending external events as usual; we are doing these events to complement the existing ones. If you want to learn more about our upcoming events, visit the Webmaster Conference site which we'll update monthly, and follow our blogs and @googlewmc on Twitter! Posted by Takeaki Kanaya and Gary
Over the years since announcing mobile-first indexing - Google's crawling of the web using a smartphone Googlebot - our analysis has shown that new websites are generally ready for this method of crawling. Accordingly, we're happy to announce that mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default for all new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites starting July 1, 2019. It's fantastic to see that new websites are now generally showing users - and search engines - the same content on both mobile and desktop devices! You can continue to check for mobile-first indexing of your website by using the URL Inspection Tool in Search Console. By looking at a URL on your website there, you'll quickly see how it was last crawled and indexed. For older websites, we'll continue monitoring and evaluating pages for their readiness for mobile first indexing, and will notify them through Search Console once they're seen as being ready. Since the default state for new websites will be mobile-first indexing, there's no need to send a notification. Using the URL Inspection Tool to check the mobile-first indexing status Our guidance on making all websites work well for mobile-first indexing continues to be relevant, for new and existing sites. For existing websites we determine their readiness for mobile-first indexing based on parity of content (including text, images, videos, links), structured data, and other meta-data (for example, titles and descriptions, robots meta tags). We recommend double-checking these factors when a website is launched or significantly redesigned. While we continue to support responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate mobile URLs for mobile websites, we recommend responsive web design for new websites. Because of issues and confusion we've seen from separate mobile URLs over the years, both from search engines and users, we recommend using a single URL for both desktop and mobile websites. Mobile-first indexing has come a long way. We're happy to see how the web has evolved from being focused on desktop, to becoming mobile-friendly, and now to being mostly crawlable and indexable with mobile user-agents! We realize it has taken a lot of work from your side to get there, and on behalf of our mostly-mobile users, we appreciate that. 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 John Mueller, Developer Advocate, Google Zurich
Over the last few weeks, we've been discussing structured data: first providing best practices and then showing how to monitor it with Search Console. Today we are announcing support for FAQ and How-to structured data on Google Search and the Google Assistant, including new reports in Search Console to monitor how your site is performing.In this post, we provide details to help you implement structured data on your FAQ and how-to pages in order to make your pages eligible to feature on Google Search as rich results and How-to Actions for the Assistant. We also show examples of how to monitor your search appearance with new Search Console enhancement reports.Disclaimer: Google does not guarantee that your structured data will show up in search results, even if your page is marked up correctly. To determine whether a result gets a rich treatment, Google algorithms use a variety of additional signals to make sure that users see rich results when their content best serves the user’s needs. Learn more about structured data guidelines.How-to on Search and the Google AssistantHow-to rich results provide users with richer previews of web results that guide users through step-by-step tasks. For example, if you provide information on how to tile a kitchen backsplash, tie a tie, or build a treehouse, you can add How-to structured data to your pages to enable the page to appear as a rich result on Search and a How-to Action for the Assistant. Add structured data to the steps, tools, duration, and other properties to enable a How-to rich result for your content on the search page. If your page uses images or video for each step, make sure to mark up your visual content to enhance the preview and expose a more visual representation of your content to users. Learn more about the required and recommended properties you can use on your markup in the How-to developer documentation. Your content can also start surfacing on the Assistant through new voice guided experiences. This feature lets you expand your content to new surfaces, to help users complete tasks wherever they are, and interactively progress through the steps using voice commands.As shown in the Google Home Hub example below, the Assistant provides a conversational, hands-free experience that can help users complete a task. This is an incredibly lightweight way for web developers to expand their content to the Assistant. For more information about How-to for the Assistant, visit Build a How-to Guide Action with Markup. To help you monitor How-to markup issues, we launched a report in Search Console that shows all errors, warnings and valid items for pages with HowTo structured data. Learn more about how to use the report to monitor your results.FAQ on Search and the Google AssistantAn FAQ page provides a list of frequently asked questions and answers on a particular topic. For example, an FAQ page on an e-commerce website might provide answers on shipping destinations, purchase options, return policies, and refund processes. By using FAQPage structured data, you can make your content eligible to display these questions and answers to display directly on Google Search and the Assistant, helping users to quickly find answers to frequently asked questions.FAQ structured data is only for official questions and answers; don't add FAQ structured data on forums or other pages where users can submit answers to questions - in that case, use the Q&A Page markup.You can learn more about implementation details in the FAQ developer documentation.To provide more ways for users to access your content, FAQ answers can also be surfaced on the Google Assistant. Your users can invoke your FAQ content by asking direct questions and get the answers that you marked up in your FAQ pages. For more information, visit Build an FAQ Action with Markup.To help you monitor FAQ issues and search appearance, we also launched an FAQ report in Search Console that shows all errors, warnings and valid items related to your marked-up FAQ pages.We would love to hear your thoughts on how FAQ or How-to structured data works for you. Send us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Damian Biollo, Patrick Nevels, and Yaniv Loewenstein
In our previous post in the structured data series, we discussed what structured data is and why you should add it to your site. We are committed to structured data and continue to enhance related Search features and improve our tools - that’s why we have been creating solutions to help webmasters and developers implement and diagnose structured data. This post focuses on what you can do with Search Console to monitor and make the most out of structured data for your site. In addition, we have some new features that will help you even more. Below are the new additions, read on to learn more about them.Unparsable structured data is a new report that aggregates structured data syntax errors.New enhancement reports for Sitelinks searchbox and Logo.Monitoring overall structured data performanceEvery time Search Console detects a new issue related to structured data on a website, we send an email to account owners - but if an existing issue gets worse, it won’t trigger an email, so it is still important for you to check your account sporadically.This is not something you need to do every day, but we recommend you check it once in a while to make sure everything is working as intended. If your website development has defined cycles, it might be a good practice to log in to Search Console after changes are made to the website to monitor your performance. If you’d like to have an overall idea of all the errors for a specific structured data feature in your site, you can navigate to the Enhancements menu in the left sidebar and click a feature. You'll find a summary of all errors and warnings, as well as the valid items. As mentioned above, we added a new set of reports to help you understand more types of structured data on your site: Sitelinks searchbox and Logo. They are joining the existing set of reports on Recipe, Event, Job Posting and others. You can read more about the reports in the Search Console Help Center. Here's an example of an Enhancement report, note that you can only see enhancements that have been detected in your pages. The report helps you with the following actions:Review the trends of errors, warnings and valid items: To view each status issue separately, click the colored boxes above the bar chart.Review warnings and errors per page: To see examples of pages which are currently affected by the issues, click a specific row below the bar chart.Image: Enhancements reportWe are also happy to launch the Unparsable Structured Data report, which aggregates parsing issues such as structured data syntax errors that prevented Google from identifying the feature type. That is the reason these issues are aggregated here instead of the intended specific feature report. Check this report to see if Google was unable to parse any of the structured data you tried to add to your site. Parsing issues could point you to lost opportunities for rich results for your site. Below is a screenshot showing how the report looks like. You can access the report directly and read more about the report in our help center.Image: Unparsable Structured Data reportTesting structured data on a URL levelTo make sure your pages were processed correctly and are eligible for rich results or as a way to diagnose why some rich result are not surfacing for a specific URL, you can use the URL Inspection tool. This tool helps you understand areas of improvement at a URL level and helps you get an idea on where to focus. When you paste a URL into the search box at the top of Search Console, you can find what’s working properly and warnings or errors related to your structured data in the enhancements section, as seen below for Recipes.Image: URL Inspection toolIn the screenshot above, there is an error related to Recipes. If you click Recipes, information about the error displays, and you can click the little chart icon to the right of the error to learn more about it. Once you understand and fix the error, you can click Validate Fix (see screenshot below) so Google can start validating whether the issue is indeed fixed. When you click the Validate Fix button, Google runs several instantaneous tests. If your pages don’t pass this test, Search Console provides you with an immediate notification. Otherwise, Search Console reprocesses the rest of the affected pages.Image: Structured data error detailWe would love to hear your feedback on how Search Console has helped you and how it can help you even more with structured data. Send us feedback through Twitter or the Webmaster forum.Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate & Na'ama Zohary, Search Console team
For many years we have been recommending the use of structured data on websites to enable a richer search experience. When you add markup to your content, you help search engines understand the different components of a page. When Google's systems understand your page more clearly, Google Search can surface content through the cool features discussed in this post, which can enhance the user experience and get you more traffic.We've worked hard to provide you with tools to understand how your websites are shown in Google Search results and whether there are issues you can fix. To help give a complete overview of structured data, we decided to do a series to explore it. This post provides a quick intro and discusses some best practices, future posts will focus on how to use Search Console to succeed with structured data. What is structured data?Structured data is a common way of providing information about a page and its content - we recommend using the schema.org vocabulary for doing so. Google supports three different formats of in-page markup: JSON-LD (recommended), Microdata, and RDFa. Different search features require different kinds of structured data - you can learn more about these in our search gallery. Our developer documentation has more details on the basics of structured data. Structured data helps Google's systems understand your content more accurately, which means it’s better for users as they will get more relevant results. If you implement structured data your pages may become eligible to be shown with an enhanced appearance in Google search results. Disclaimer: Google does not guarantee that your structured data will show up in search results, even if your page is marked up correctly. Using structured data enables a feature to be present, it does not guarantee that it will be present. Learn more about structured data guidelines.Sites that use structured data see resultsOver the years, we've seen a growing adoption of structured data in the ecosystem. In general, rich results help users to better understand how your pages are relevant to their searches, so they translate into success for websites. Here are some results that are showcased in our case studies gallery:Eventbrite leveraged event structured data and saw 100% increase in the typical YOY growth of traffic from search.Jobrapido integrated with the job experience on Google Search and saw 115% increase in organic traffic, 270% increase of new user registrations from organic traffic, and 15% lower bounce rate for Google visitors to job pages.Rakuten used the recipe search experience and saw a 2.7X increase in traffic from search engines and a 1.5X increase in session duration.How to use structured data?There are a few ways your site could benefit from structured data. Below we discuss some examples grouped by different types of goals: increase brand awareness, highlight content, and highlight product information.1. Increase brand awarenessOne thing you can do to promote your brand with structured data is to take advantage of features such as Logo, Local business, and Sitelinks searchbox. In addition to adding structured data, you should verify your site for the Knowledge Panel and claim your business on Google My Business. Here is an example of the knowledge panel with a Logo.2. Highlight contentIf you publish content on the web, there are a number of features that can help promote your content and attract more users, depending on your industry. For example: Article, Breadcrumb, Event, Job, Q&A, Recipe, Review and others. Here is an example of a recipe rich result.3. Highlight product informationIf you sell merchandise, you could add product structured data to your page, including price, availability, and review ratings. Here is how your product might show for a relevant search.Try it and let us knowNow that you understand the importance of structured data, try our codelab to learn how to add it to your pages. Stay tuned to learn more about structured data, in the coming posts we’ll be discussing how to use Search Console to better analyze your efforts.We would love to hear your thoughts and stories on how structured data works for you, send us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate
The Industry Buzz section is divided into three major sections, which is then subdivided into smaller sections.
Corporate Blogs which include official blogs from web hosts, registrars, search engines and other related sites.
Magazines & Blogs include interesting websites related to the hosting industry, but not necessarily from official company blogs.
Industry Leaders include personal blogs from important industry leaders, such as employees from Google and WordPress. These blogs sometimes include insights on how industry leaders think, but also may contain topics not related to hosting.