Google English Office Hours Dec 31, 2021 Summary

Get a summary of the last Google English Office hours for webmasters hosted by Google's own John Mueller. Topics include Top Stories, indexing, and more.
SIA Team
December 31, 2021

Why are tags indexing before the primary URL?

1:30 - The course of this conversation with John was painful. It was like John couldn't grasp the concept that "tags" exist.

His only recommendation was to post in the webmaster forums to see if someone else could provide input.

He did guess that Googlebot was just finding the tag pages before the blog post itself from other pages on the site.

Why are pages indexed by not cached?

5:30 - John replied that it's not a sign of something that is wrong, but just a matter of how the systems work in Google that creates this condition.

Can a poor translation of a page negatively effect the original pages ranking?

7:30 - John stated that poor quality of the translation of pages could affect the overall quality of the site as a whole. This effect could be seen in a drop in rankings overall.

How is Google determining that something is a poor translation?

10:50 - John stated that there are no individual aspects of content that he could site as to quality factors that are taken in combination to determine quality. He did recommend further reading a Google blog post about core updates and what they are trying to get the algorithm to determine quality better.

Will Google index content based on its IP when dealing with a site that is populated via dynamic content?

18:30 - John stated that Googlebot might follow links created by dynamic content tools. However, he stated that it won't trigger location-based content and the dialogues that drive that type of content are ignored.

Is redirecting Googlebot from pages set to noindex to another page against Google guidelines?

20:30 - The question was about pages that are getting links and traffic from other websites. However, the person asking the question didn't want Google to crawl them for some reason and to be redirected to another page. I can't think of one practical reason why you would want to do that.

John stated that he thought the practice would be a "borderline" violation of Google's terms but not against guidelines. He suggested it would be better to use rel=canonical to identify better pages on your site for indexing for that topic.

Is hidden text considered when crawling a web page and can that content be indexed?

24:05 - John said if it's in the HTML and just hidden, Google will pick it up and use it for indexing.

He cited how an error message that had been hidden in the HTML but indexable, resulted in the pages being kicked out of the index.

He stated that if the hidden text is about the content on the page it won't likely be considered for a penalty.

Why is a site with lower authority is outranking another site with its own or similar content?

28:30 - John indicated that geotargeting could be causing an issue with the questioner's site. He also stated that Google News algorithms could be rating his site differently and that could be causing the issue he was complaining about.

From my perspective, Google News is heavily dependant on time and freshness, so seeing new content (the copy) overtaking older content (the original) isn't abnormal.

Is it ok to be using the Google Indexing API for Google News?

33:40 - John stated that it is not be used for Google News sites and that its limited based on conditions. He did state that using it would trigger a crawl but for indexing, it wouldn't increase.

He went on to say that you more than likely won't get a penalty for using the API without the necessary schema.

Why is my new domain not getting shown in Top Stories anymore after site migration?

36:15 - John summarized that Top Stories is an organic search feature that is curated based on sites, number of stories, etc. He also suggested that the migration in conjunction with the webmasters discontinuing of AMP may have been enough of a change that triggered the drop from Top Stories due to lack of quality signals on the new domain.

Why is Google adding unrelated keywords into my titles in the search results?

42:04 - John asked for an example of this in order to identify what was happening. He said you can send those to him via Twitter.

In what timeframe can I expect Google to pick up quality chagnes?

42:41 - John stated that depending on the volume of changes, Google can take a long period of time to update its quality score. He expected that timeframe is measured in months versus days. He recommended because of this, you should do all of your changes at once.

Would it be better to have one description for all variations of a product or unique descriptions for each variation?

45:34 - John says that they would look at the duplicate descriptions as duplicates for the variations, however, they wouldn't index all the different variable types. They would select one or two and index those only. He said it's fine to have parts of the descriptions duplicated but the unique features between the variations should be noted in the description for best ranking probability.

Are Author archives important for E.A.T. score or can set them to noindex?

48:25 - John stated that they don't have an E.A.T. score and that any messages in relation to those pages will go away after the pages are noindexed. He said there would only be an issue if the author was popular and those could get traffic from searches for the author by name.

Is using next and previous better than showing urls for multiple paginated pages?

50:35 - John indicated that either method is acceptable implementation and is essentially just internal links between pages so having two or multiple are acceptable for crawling. He does say that linking to multiple versus next/previous could indicate the priority of pages in the pagination. He stated that the top-level pages are crawled more than the lower number pages in the pagination. He estimated that 90% of the crawl would be on the top page of the archive.

Is page experience field data collected only from Chrome or are other browsers taken into account?

55:30 - He stated that he believes that the data is only from Chrome users and even then, only from a subset of those users. He admitted that he's not in the know on all the details on how that data is collected and reported in the tools.