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Preview: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Google Webmaster Central Blog



Official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index.



Updated: 2016-12-02T21:22:24.635-08:00

 



An update on Google's feature-phone crawling & indexing

2016-11-30T04:36:07.784-08:00

Limited mobile devices, "feature-phones", require a special form of markup or a transcoder for web content. Most websites don't provide feature-phone-compatible content in WAP/WML any more. Given these developments, we've made changes in how we crawl feature-phone content (note: these changes don't affect smartphone content):

1. We've retired the feature-phone Googlebot

We won't be using the feature-phone user-agents for crawling for search going forward.

2. Use "handheld" link annotations for dynamic serving of feature-phone content.

Some sites provide content for feature-phones through dynamic serving, based on the user's user-agent. To understand this configuration, make sure your desktop and smartphone pages have a self-referential alternate URL link for handheld (feature-phone) devices:

This is a change from our previous guidance of only using the "vary: user-agent" HTTP header. We've updated our documentation on making feature-phone pages accordingly. We hope adding this link element is possible on your side, and thank you for your help in this regard. We'll continue to show feature-phone URLs in search when we can recognize them, and when they're appropriate for users.

3. We're retiring feature-phone tools in Search Console

Without the feature-phone Googlebot, special sitemaps extensions for feature-phone, the Fetch as Google feature-phone options, and feature-phone crawl errors are no longer needed. We continue to support sitemaps and other sitemaps extensions (such as for videos or Google News), as well as the other Fetch as Google options in Search Console.


We've worked to make these changes as minimal as possible. Most websites don't serve feature-phone content, and wouldn't be affected. If your site has been providing feature-phone content, we thank you for your help in bringing the Internet to feature-phone users worldwide!

For any questions, feel free to drop by our Webmaster Help Forums!

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Saying goodbye to Content Keywords

2016-11-29T06:29:44.346-08:00

In the early days - back when Search Console was still called Webmaster Tools - the content keywords feature was the only way to see what Googlebot found when it crawled a website. It was useful to see that Google was able to crawl your pages at all, or if your site was hacked.

In the meantime, you can easily check any page on your website and see how Googlebot fetches it immediately, Search Analytics shows you which keywords we've shown your site in search for, and Google informs you of many kinds of hacks automatically. Additionally, users were often confused about the keywords listed in content keywords. And so, the time has come to retire the Content Keywords feature in Search Console.

The words on your pages, the keywords if you will, are still important for Google's (and your users') understanding of your pages. While our systems have gotten better, they can't read your mind: be clear about what your site is about, and what you'd like to be found for. Tell visitors what makes your site, your products and services, special!

What was your most surprising, or favorite, keyword shown? Let us know in the comments!

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Rich Cards expands to more verticals

2016-11-21T14:47:31.068-08:00

At Google I/O in May, we launched Rich Cards for Movies and Recipes, creating a new way for site owners to present previews of their content on the Search results page. Today, we’re expanding to two new verticals for US-based sites: Local restaurants and Online courses. Evolution of search results for queries like [best New Orleans restaurants] and [leadership courses]: with rich cards, results are presented in new UIs, like carousels that are easy to browse by scrolling left and right, or a vertical three-pack that displays more individual courses By building Rich Cards, you have a new opportunity to attract more engaged users to your page. Users can swipe through restaurant recommendations from sites like TripAdvisor, Thrillist, Time Out, Eater, and 10Best. In addition to food, users can browse through courses from sites like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, EdX, Harvard, Udacity, FutureLearn, Edureka, Open University, Udemy, Canvas Network, and NPTEL. If you have a site that contains local restaurant information or offers online courses, check out our developer docs to start building Rich Cards in the Local restaurant and Online courses verticals. While AMP HTML is not required for Local restaurant pages and Online Courses rich cards, AMP provides Google Search users with a consistently fast experience, so we recommend that you create AMP pages to further engage users. Users consuming AMP’d content will be able to swipe near instantly from restaurant to restaurant or from recipe to recipe within your site. Users who tap on your Rich Card will be taken near instantly to your AMP page, and be able to swipe between pages within your site. Check out our developer site for implementation details. To make it easier for you to create Rich Cards, we made some changes in our tools: The Structured Data Testing Tool displays markup errors and a preview card for Local restaurant content as it might appear on Search. The Rich Cards report in Search Console shows which cards across verticals contain errors, and which ones could be enhanced with more markup. The AMP Test helps validate AMP pages as well as mark up on the page. What’s next? We are actively experimenting with new verticals globally to provide more opportunities for you to display richer previews of your content. If you have questions, find us in the dedicated Structured data section of our forum, on Twitter or on Google+. Post by Stacie Chan, Global Product Partnerships [...]



Building Indexable Progressive Web Apps

2016-11-09T04:42:17.074-08:00

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are taking advantage of new technologies to bring the best of mobile sites and native applications to users -- and they’re one of the most exciting new ideas on the web. But to truly have an impact, it's important that they’re indexable and linkable. Every recommendation presented in this article is an existing best practice for indexability -- regardless of whether you're building a Progressive Web App or a simple static website. Nonetheless, we have collated these best practices to provide a checklist to guide you: Make Your Content CrawlableWhy? Historically, websites would always generate or render their HTML on the server which is the simplest way to ensure your content is directly linkable. Web applications popularised the concept of client-side rendering in which content is updated dynamically on the page as the users navigates without requiring the page to be reloaded.The modern approach is hybrid rendering, in which server-side rendering is used when a user navigates directly to a URL and client-side rendering is used after the initial page load for subsequent navigation and asynchronous requests.Our server-side PWA sample demonstrates pure server-side rendering, while our hybrid PWA sample demonstrates the combined approach. If you are unfamiliar with the server-side and client-side rendering terminology, check out these articles on the web read here and here. .boxbox { width: 100%; word-wrap:break-word; padding: 0.2em; } .badbox { background-color: #eba; } .goodbox { background-color: #ded; } .avoidbox { background-color: #ffd; } .boxbox h5 { font-size: 1em; font-weight: bold; margin: 0;} .boxbox p { margin-top: 0.6em; margin-bottom: 0.6em; } br.endboxen { clear: both; } h3.subhead { margin-top: 2em; } Best Practice:Use server-side or hybrid rendering so users receive the content in the initial payload of their web request.Always ensure your URLs are independently accessible:https://www.example.com/product/25/The above should deep link to that particular resource.If you can’t support server-side or hybrid rendering for your Progressive Web App and you decide to use client-side rendering, we recommend using the Google Search Console “Fetch as Google tool” to verify your content successfully renders for our search crawler. Don’t:Don't redirect users accessing deep links back to your web app's homepage.Additionally, serving an error page to users instead of deep linking should also be avoided. Provide Clean URLsWhy? Fragment identifiers (#user/24601/ or #!user/24601/) were an effective workaround for browsers to AJAX new content from a server without reloading the page. This design is known as client-side rendering.However, the fragment identifier syntax isn’t compatible with some web tools, frameworks and protocols such as Facebook’s Open Graph protocol. The History API enables us to update the URL without fragment identifiers while still fetching resources asynchronously and therefore avoiding page reloads -- it’s the best of both worlds. The AJAX crawling scheme (with its #! / escaped-fragment URLs) made sense at its time, but is now no longer recommended. Our hybrid PWA and client-side PWA samples demonstrate the History API. Best Practice:Provide clean URLs without fragment identifiers (# or #!) such as:https://www.example.com/product/25/If using client-side or hybrid rendering be sure to support browser navigation with the History API. Avoid:Using the #! URL structure to drive unique URLs is discouraged:https://www.example.com/#!product/25/It was introduced as a workaround before the advent of the History API. It is considered a separate pattern to the purely # URL structure. Don’t:Using the # URL structure without the accompanying ! symbol is unsupported:https://www.example.com/#product/25/This URL structure is already a concept in the web and relates to deep linking into content on a particular page. Specify Canonical URLsWhy? The best way to eliminate confusion f[...]



Mobile-first Indexing

2016-11-04T10:12:55.616-07:00

Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher. To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we're going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices. We understand this is an important shift in our indexing and it’s one we take seriously. We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience. Though we’re only beginning this process, here are a few recommendations to help webmasters prepare as we move towards a more mobile-focused index. If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output. When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot. Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.If you only have a desktop site, we'll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we're using a mobile user agent to view your site.If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It's better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready.   If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via the Webmaster forums or our public events. We anticipate this change will take some time and we’ll update you as we make progress on migrating our systems. Posted by Doantam Phan, Product Manager [...]



Here’s to more HTTPS on the web!

2016-11-04T00:49:10.092-07:00

Cross-posted from the Google Security Blog. Security has always been critical to the web, but challenges involved in site migration have inhibited HTTPS adoption for several years. In the interest of a safer web for all, at Google we’ve worked alongside many others across the online ecosystem to better understand and address these challenges, resulting in real change. A web with ubiquitous HTTPS is not the distant future. It’s happening now, with secure browsing becoming standard for users of Chrome.Today, we’re adding a new section to the HTTPS Report Card in our Transparency Report that includes data about how HTTPS usage has been increasing over time. More than half of pages loaded and two-thirds of total time spent by Chrome desktop users occur via HTTPS, and we expect these metrics to continue their strong upward trajectory.Percentage of pages loaded over HTTPS in ChromeAs the remainder of the web transitions to HTTPS, we’ll continue working to ensure that migrating to HTTPS is a no-brainer, providing business benefit beyond increased security. HTTPS currently enables the best performance the web offers and powerful features that benefit site conversions, including both new features such as service workers for offline support and web push notifications, and existing features such as credit card autofill and the HTML5 geolocation API that are too powerful to be used over non-secure HTTP. As with all major site migrations, there are certain steps webmasters should take to ensure that search ranking transitions are smooth when moving to HTTPS. To help with this, we’ve posted two FAQs to help sites transition correctly, and will continue to improve our web fundamentals guidance.We’ve seen many sites successfully transition with negligible effect on their search ranking and traffic. Brian Wood, Director of Marketing SEO at Wayfair, a large retail site, commented: “We were able to migrate Wayfair.com to HTTPS with no meaningful impact to Google rankings or Google organic search traffic. We are very pleased to say that all Wayfair sites are now fully HTTPS.” CNET, a large tech news site, had a similar experience: “We successfully completed our move of CNET.com to HTTPS last month,” said John Sherwood, Vice President of Engineering & Technology at CNET. “Since then, there has been no change in our Google rankings or Google organic search traffic.”Webmasters that include ads on their sites also should carefully monitor ad performance and revenue during large site migrations. The portion of Google ad traffic served over HTTPS has increased dramatically over the past 3 years. All ads that come from any Google source always support HTTPS, including AdWords, AdSense, or DoubleClick Ad Exchange; ads sold directly, such as those through DoubleClick for Publishers, still need to be designed to be HTTPS-friendly. This means there will be no change to the Google-sourced ads that appear on a site after migrating to HTTPS. Many publishing partners have seen this in practice after a successful HTTPS transition. Jason Tollestrup, Director of Programmatic Advertising for the Washington Post, “saw no material impact to AdX revenue with the transition to SSL.”As migrating to HTTPS becomes even easier, we’ll continue working towards a web that’s secure by default. Don’t hesitate to start planning your HTTPS migration today! Posted by Adrienne Porter Felt and Emily Schechter, Chrome Security Team [...]



Using AMP? Try our new webpage tester

2016-10-13T11:59:39.885-07:00

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a great way to make content on your website accessible in an extremely fast way. To help ensure that your AMP implementation is working as expected , Search Console now has an enhanced AMP testing tool.

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This testing tool is mobile-friendly and uses Google's live web-search infrastructure to analyze the AMP page with the real Googlebot. The tool tests the validity of the AMP markup as well as any structured data on the page. If issues are found, click on them to see details, and to have the line in the source-code highlighted. For valid AMP pages, we may also provide a link to a live preview of how this page may appear in Google's search results.

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With the share button on the bottom right, you can now share a snapshot of the results that you're currently seeing with others. This makes it easier to discuss issues with your team, whether they're regular occurrences or one-time quirks that you need to iron out. Just click the share button and pass on the URL for this test snapshot. This share feature is now also available in the mobile-friendly testing tool.

We hope this tool makes it easier to create great AMP’d content while finding and resolving issues that may appear on your AMP pages. For any questions, feel free to drop by our webmaster's help forum.



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Webmaster Forums Top AMP Questions

2016-09-30T02:13:17.427-07:00

It has been busy here at Google Webmaster Central over the last few weeks, covering a lot of details about Accelerated Mobile Pages that we hope you have found useful. The topics have included:What is AMP?How to get started with Accelerated Mobile PagesHow can Google Search Console help you AMPlify your siteHow to best evaluate issues with your Accelerated Mobile PagesTop 8 things to consider when you AMPlify a siteHow to set up Analytics on your AMP pageHow to set up Ads on your AMP pageWe’ve also been seeing a few AMP questions coming to the Webmaster forums about getting started using AMP on Google Search. To help, we’ve compiled some of the most common questions we’ve seen: Q: I’m considering creating AMP pages for my website. What is the benefit? What types of sites and pages is AMP for?Users love content that loads fast and without any fuss - using the AMP format may make it more compelling for people to consume and engage with your content on mobile devices. Research has shown that 40% of users abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. The Washington Post observed an 88% decrease in article loading time and a 23% increase in returning users from mobile search from adopting AMP. The AMP format is great for all types of static web content such as news, recipes, movie listings, product pages, reviews, videos, blogs and more. Q: We are getting errors logged in Search Console for AMP pages; however, we already fixed these issues. Why are we still seeing errors?The short answer is that changes to your AMP pages take about a week to be updated in Search Console. For a more in-depth answer on why, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller shared a detailed post on Search Console latency challenges. Q: Our AMP pages are not showing up on Google Search. What should we do?Only valid AMP pages will be eligible to show on Google Search. Check the validity of your  AMP pages by using the AMP HTML Web Validator, the Chrome or Opera Extension or through a more automated process such as a cron job to make sure all new content is valid. While it’s good practise overall to include schema.org structured data in your AMP pages (we recommend JSON-LD), it's especially important for news publishers. News content that includes valid markup properties are eligible to be shown within the Top Stories section in Google Search results. To test your structured data, try using the structured data testing tool. If you have more questions that are not answered here, share your feedback in the comments below or on our Google Webmasters Google+ page. Or as usual, feel free to post in our Webmasters Help Forum. Posted by Tomo Taylor, AMP Community Manager [...]



Penguin is now part of our core algorithm

2016-09-23T05:03:55.936-07:00

Google's algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or "clues" that make it possible to surface what you might be looking for. These signals include things like the specific words that appear on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank. One specific signal of the algorithms is called Penguin, which was first launched in 2012 and today has an update.

After a period of development and testing, we are now rolling out an update to the Penguin algorithm in all languages. Here are the key changes you'll see, which were also among webmasters' top requests to us:

  • Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google's algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin's data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means we're not going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site. 

The web has significantly changed over the years, but as we said in our original post, webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites. It's also important to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of more than 200 signals we use to determine rank.

As always, if you have feedback, you can reach us on our forums, Twitter and Google+.

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8 tips to AMPlify your clients

2016-09-21T02:17:40.347-07:00

Here is our list of the top 8 things to consider when helping your clients AMPlify their websites (and staying ahead of their curiosity!) after our announcement to expand support for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Getting started can be simpleIf a site uses a popular Content Management System (CMS), getting AMP pages up and running is as straightforward as installing a plug-in. Sites that use custom HTML or that are built from scratch will require additional development resources. Not all types of sites are suitableAMP is great for all types of static web content such as news, recipes, movie listings, product pages, reviews, videos, blogs and more. AMP is less useful for single-page apps that are heavy on dynamic or interactive features, such as route mapping, email or social networks. You don’t have to #AMPlify the whole siteAdd AMP to a client's existing site progressively by starting with simple, static content pages like articles, products, or blog posts. These are the “leaf” pages that users access through platforms and search results, and could be simple changes that also bring the benefits of AMP to the website. This approach allows you to keep the homepage and other “browser” pages that might require advanced, non-AMP dynamic functionality. If you're creating a new, content-heavy website from scratch, consider building the whole site with AMP from the start. To begin with, check out the getting started guidelines. The AMP Project is open source and still evolvingIf a site's use case is not supported in the AMP format yet, consider filing a feature request on GitHub, or you could even design a component yourself. AMP pages might need to meet additional requirements to show up in certain placesIn order to appear in Google’s search results, AMP pages need only be valid AMP HTML. Some products integrating AMP might have further requirements than the AMP validation. For example, you'll need to mark up your AMP pages as Article markup with Structured Data to make them eligible for the Google Top Stories section. There is no ranking change on SearchWhether a page or site has valid and eligible AMP pages has no bearing on the site’s ranking on the Search results page. The difference is that web results that have AMP versions will be labeled with an icon. AMP on Google is expanding globallyAMP search results on Google will be rolling out worldwide when it launches in the coming weeks. The Top Stories carousel which shows newsy and fresh AMP content is already available in a number of countries and languages. Help is on handThere’s a whole host of useful resources that will help if you have any questions: Webmasters Help Forum: Ask questions about AMP and Google’s implementation of AMPStack Overflow: Ask technical questions about AMPGitHub: Submit a feature request or contribute What are your top tips to #AMPlify pages? Let us know in the comments below or on our Google Webmasters Google+ page. Or as usual, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to post in our Webmasters Help Forum. Posted by Tomo Taylor, AMP Community Manager [...]



How to best evaluate issues with your Accelerated Mobile Pages

2016-09-19T02:15:20.955-07:00

As you #AMPlify your site with Accelerated Mobile Pages, it’s important to keep an eye periodically on the validation status of your pages, as only valid AMP pages are eligible to show on Google Search. When implementing AMP, sometimes pages will contain errors causing them to not be indexed by Google Search. Pages may also contain warnings that are elements that are not best practice or are going to become errors in the future. Google Search Console is a free service that lets you check which of your AMP pages Google has identified as having errors. Once you know which URLs are running into issues, there are a few handy tools that can make checking the validation error details easier. 1. Browser Developer Tools To use Developer Tools for validation:Open your AMP page in your browserAppend "#development=1" to the URL, for example, http://localhost:8000/released.amp.html#development=1.Open the Chrome DevTools console and check for validation errors.Developer Console errors will look similar to this: 2. AMP Browser Extensions With the AMP Browser Extensions (available for Chrome and Opera), you can quickly identify and debug invalid AMP pages. As you browse your site, the extension will evaluate each AMP page visited and give an indication of the validity of the page. When there are errors within an AMP page, the extension’s icon shows in a red color and displays the number of errors encountered.When there are no errors within an AMP page, the icon shows in a green color and displays the number of warnings, if any exist.When the page isn’t AMP but the page indicates that an AMP version is available, the icon shows in a blue color with a link icon, and clicking on the extension will redirect the browser to the AMP version. Using the extensions means you can see what errors or warnings the page has by clicking on the extension icon. Every issue will list the source line, source column, and a message indicating what is wrong. When a more detailed description of the issue exists, a “Learn more” link will take you to the relevant page on ampproject.org. 3. AMP Web Validator The AMP Web Validator, available at validator.ampproject.org, provides a simple web UI to test the validity of your AMP pages. To use the tool, you enter an AMP URL, or copy/paste your source code, and the web validator displays error messages between the lines. You can make edits directly in the web validator which will trigger revalidation, letting you know if your proposed tweaks will fix the problem. What's your favourite way to check the status of your AMP Pages? Share your feedback in the comments below or on our Google Webmasters Google+ page. Or as usual, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to post in our Webmasters Help Forum.Posted by Tomo Taylor, AMP Community Manager [...]



How can Google Search Console help you AMPlify your site?

2016-10-19T03:56:19.755-07:00

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If you have recently implemented Accelerated Mobile Pages on your site, it’s a great time to check which of your AMP pages Google has found and indexed by using Search Console.

Search Console is a free service that helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google Search, including any Accelerated Mobile Pages. You don't have to sign up for Search Console for your AMP pages to be included in Google Search results, but doing so can help you understand which of your AMP pages are eligible to show in search results.

To get started with Search Console, create a free account or sign in here and validate the ownership of your sites.

Once you have your site set up on Search Console, open the Accelerated Mobile Pages report under Search Appearance > Accelerated Mobile Pages to see which AMP pages Google has found and indexed on your site, as shown here:

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The report lists AMP-related issues for AMP pages that are not indexed, so that you can identify and address them.

Search Console also lets you monitor the performance of your AMP pages on Google Search in the Search Analytics report. This report tells you which queries show your AMP pages in Search results, lets you compare how their metrics stack against your other results and see how the visibility of your AMP pages has changed over time.

To view your AMP page metrics, such as clicks or impressions, select Search Appearance > Search Analytics > Filter by AMP.

(Note: if you’ve only just created your Search Console account or set up your AMP pages and they have not been detected yet, remember that Google crawls pages only periodically. You can wait for the scheduled regular recrawl, or you can request a recrawl.)

Have you been using Search Console to monitor your AMP pages? Give us feedback in the comments below or on our Google Webmasters Google+ page. Or as usual, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to post in our Webmasters Help Forum.

UPDATE: To help ensure that your AMP implementation is working as expected, Search Console now has an enhanced AMP testing tool.

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How to get started with Accelerated Mobile Pages

2016-10-12T00:32:07.614-07:00

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Interested in Accelerated Mobile Pages but not sure how to get started? AMPlifying your site for lightning speed might be easier than you think.

If you use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Hatena, getting set up on AMP is as simple as installing and activating a plug-in. Each CMS has a slightly different approach to AMPlifying pages, so it’s worth checking with your provider on how to get started.

On the other hand, if your site uses custom HTML, or you want to learn how AMP works under the hood, then check out the AMP Codelab for a guided, hands-on coding experience designed to take you through the process of developing your first pages. The Codelab covers the fundamentals:

  • How AMP improves the user experience of the mobile web
  • The foundations of an AMP page
  • AMP limitations
  • How AMP web components solve common problems
  • How to validate your AMP pages
  • How to prepare your AMP pages for Google Search

Once you are done with the basics, why not geek out with the Advanced Concepts Codelab?

Have you tried the Codelabs or added an AMP plugin to your site? Share your feedback in the comments below or on our Google Webmasters Google+ page. Or as usual, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to post in our Webmasters Help Forum.


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What is AMP?

2016-09-12T02:18:28.235-07:00

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Users today expect mobile websites to load super fast. The reality is that it can often take several seconds. It is no surprise that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. To reduce the time content takes to get to a user’s mobile device we started working on the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, an open source initiative to improve the mobile web experience for everyone.


Accelerated Mobile Pages are HTML pages that take advantage of various technical approaches to prioritize speed and a faster experience for users by loading content almost instantaneously.

Later this year, all types of sites that create AMP pages will have expanded exposure across the entire Google Mobile Search results page, like e-commerce, entertainment, travel, recipe sites and many more. Visit the “Who” page on AMPProject.org for a flavour of some of the sites already creating AMP content and try the demo at (g.co/ampdemo) to see AMP versions of pages labeled with (image) .

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In advance of AMP expanding in Google Search, over the next few weeks we’ll be posting pointers to help you #AMPlify your site. Follow along with the #AMPlify hashtag on G+ and Twitter.


Have you already built AMP pages for your site? Share your feedback in the comments below or on our Google Webmasters Google+ page. Or as usual, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to post in our Webmasters Help Forum.

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A reminder about widget links

2016-09-08T01:29:09.714-07:00

Google has long taken a strong stance against links that manipulate a site’s PageRank. Today we would like to reiterate our policy on the creation of keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites. Widgets can help website owners enrich the experience of their site and engage users. However, some widgets add links to a site that a webmaster did not editorially place and contain anchor text that the webmaster does not control. Because these links are not naturally placed, they're considered a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines. Below you can find the examples of widgets which contain links that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines: Google's webspam team may take manual actions on unnatural links. When a manual action is taken, Google will notify the site owners through Search Console. If you receive such a warning for unnatural links to your site and you use links in widgets to promote your site, we recommend resolving these issues and requesting reconsideration. You can resolve issues with unnatural links by making sure they don't pass PageRank. To do this, add a rel="nofollow" attribute on the widget links or remove the links entirely. After fixing or removing widget links and any other unnatural links to your site, let Google know about your change by submitting a reconsideration request in Search Console. Once the request has been reviewed, you'll get a notification about whether the reconsideration request was successful or not. Also, we would like to remind webmasters who use widgets on their sites to check those widgets for any unnatural links. Add a rel="nofollow" attribute on those unnatural links or remove the links entirely from the widget. For more information, please watch our video about widget links and refer to our Webmaster Guidelines on Link Schemes. Additionally, feel free to ask questions in our Webmaster Help Forums, where a community of webmasters can help with their experience.Posted by Agnieszka Łata, Trust & Safety Search Team and Eric Kuan, Webmaster Relations Specialist [...]



Showcase your site’s reviews in Search

2016-09-07T06:53:22.204-07:00

Today, we’re introducing Reviews from the web to local Knowledge Panels, to accompany our recently launched best-of lists and critic reviews features. Whether your site publishes editorial critic reviews, best-of places lists, or aggregates user ratings, this content can be featured in local Knowledge Panels when users are looking for places to go.

Reviews from the web
Available globally on mobile and desktop, Reviews from the web brings aggregated user ratings of up to three review sites to Knowledge Panels for local places across many verticals including shops, restaurants, parks and more.

By implementing review snippet markup and meeting our criteria, your site’s user-generated composite ratings will be eligible for inclusion. Add the Local Business markup to help Google match reviews to the right review subject and help grow your site’s coverage. For more information on the guidelines for the Reviews from the web, critic review and top places lists features, check out our developer site.
Critic reviews
In the U.S. on mobile and desktop, qualifying publishers can participate in the critic review feature in local Knowledge Panels. Critic reviews possess an editorial tone of voice and have an opinionated position on the local business, coming from an editor or on-the-ground expert. For more information on how to participate, see the details in our critic reviews page.
The local information across Google Search helps millions of people, every day, discover and share great places. If you have any questions, please visit our webmaster forums.

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More Safe Browsing Help for Webmasters

2016-09-07T03:54:12.385-07:00

(Crossposted from the Google Security Blog.) For more than nine years, Safe Browsing has helped webmasters via Search Console with information about how to fix security issues with their sites. This includes relevant Help Center articles, example URLs to assist in diagnosing the presence of harmful content, and a process for webmasters to request reviews of their site after security issues are addressed. Over time, Safe Browsing has expanded its protection to cover additional threats to user safety such as Deceptive Sites and Unwanted Software.To help webmasters be even more successful in resolving issues, we’re happy to announce that we’ve updated the information available in Search Console in the Security Issues report.The updated information provides more specific explanations of six different security issues detected by Safe Browsing, including malware, deceptive pages, harmful downloads, and uncommon downloads. These explanations give webmasters more context and detail about what Safe Browsing found. We also offer tailored recommendations for each type of issue, including sample URLs that webmasters can check to identify the source of the issue, as well as specific remediation actions webmasters can take to resolve the issue.We on the Safe Browsing team definitely recommend registering your site in Search Console even if it is not currently experiencing a security issue. We send notifications through Search Console so webmasters can address any issues that appear as quickly as possible.Our goal is to help webmasters provide a safe and secure browsing experience for their users. We welcome any questions or feedback about the new features on the Google Webmaster Help Forum, where Top Contributors and Google employees are available to help.For more information about Safe Browsing’s ongoing work to shine light on the state of web security and encourage safer web security practices, check out our summary of trends and findings on the Safe Browsing Transparency Report. If you’re interested in the tools Google provides for webmasters and developers dealing with hacked sites, this video provides a great overview. Posted by Kelly Hope Harrington, Safe Browsing Team [...]



Helping users easily access content on mobile

2016-08-23T09:03:36.151-07:00

In Google Search, our goal is to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions, regardless of the device they’re using. Today, we’re announcing two upcoming changes to mobile search results that make finding content easier for users. Simplifying mobile search results Two years ago, we added a mobile-friendly label to help users find pages where the text and content was readable without zooming and the tap targets were appropriately spaced. Since then, we’ve seen the ecosystem evolve and we recently found that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria and show the mobile-friendly label. To keep search results uncluttered, we’ll be removing the label, although the mobile-friendly criteria will continue to be a ranking signal. We’ll continue providing the mobile usability report in Search Console and the mobile-friendly test to help webmasters evaluate the effect of the mobile-friendly signal on their pages. Helping users find the content they’re looking for Although the majority of pages now have text and content on the page that is readable without zooming, we’ve recently seen many examples where these pages show intrusive interstitials to users. While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result. Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly. Here are some examples of techniques that make content less accessible to a user:Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold. Examples of interstitials that make content less accessible An example of an intrusive popup An example of an intrusive standalone interstitial Another example of an intrusive standalone interstitial   By contrast, here are some examples of techniques that, used responsibly, would not be affected by the new signal:Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space. Examples of interstitials that would not be affected by the new signal, if used responsibly An example of an interstitial for cookie usage An example of an interstitial for age verification An example of a banner that uses a reasonable amount of screen space   We previously explored a signal that checked for interstitials that ask a user to install a mobile ap[...]



Promote your local businesses reviews with schema.org markup

2016-08-12T09:00:35.796-07:00

Since the launch of critic reviews last year, we have been focused on supporting more types of reviews, like restaurant reviews, cafes, or any other type of a local business. Recently we’ve announced the availability of critic reviews for local businesses. By incorporating structured data to their sites, publishers can promote their content on local Knowledge Graph cards and users can enjoy a range of reviews and opinions.

Critic reviews are available across mobile, tablet and desktop, allowing publishers to increase the visibility of their reviews and expose their reviews to new audiences, whenever a local Knowledge Graph card is surfaced. English reviews for businesses in the US are already supported and we’ll very soon support many other languages and countries.

Publishers with critic reviews for local entities can get up and running by selecting snippets of reviews from their sites and annotating them and the associated business with schema.org markup. This process, detailed in our critic reviews markup instructions, allows publishers to communicate to Google which snippet they prefer, what URL is associated with the review and other metadata about the local business that allows us to ensure that we’re showing the right review for the right entity.

Google can understand a variety of markup formats, including the JSON-LD data format, which makes it easier than ever to incorporate structured data about reviews into webpages! Publishers can get started here. And as always, if you have any questions, please visit our webmaster forums.

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AMP your content - A Preview of AMP'ed results in Search

2016-08-08T06:20:43.347-07:00

It's 2016 and it's hard to believe that browsing the web on a mobile phone can still feel so slow with users abandoning sites that just don't load quickly. To us — and many in the industry — it was clear that something needed to change. That was why we started working with the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, an open source initiative to improve the mobile web experience for everyone. Less than six months ago, we started sending people to AMP pages in the “Top stories” section of the Google Search Results page on mobile phones. Since then, we’ve seen incredible global adoption of AMP that has gone beyond the news industry to include e-commerce, entertainment, travel, recipe sites and so on. To date we have more than 150 million AMP docs in our index, with over 4 million new ones being added every week. As a result, today we’re sharing an early preview of our expanded AMP support across the entire search results page --not just the “Top stories” section. To clarify, this is not a ranking change for sites. As a result of the growth of AMP beyond publishers, we wanted to make it easier for people to access this faster experience. The preview shows an experience where web results that that have AMP versions are labeled with . When you tap on these results, you will be directed to the corresponding AMP page within the AMP viewer. AMP in Search Preview Try it out for yourself on your mobile device by navigating to g.co/ampdemo. Once you’re in the demo, search for something like “french toast recipe” or music lyrics by your favorite artist to experience how AMP can provide a speedier reading experience on the mobile web. The “Who” page on AMPProject.org has a flavor of some of the sites already creating AMP content. We’re starting with a preview to get feedback from users, developers and sites so that we can create a better Search experience when we make this feature more broadly available later this year. In addition, we want to give everyone who might be interested in “AMPing up” their content enough time to learn how to implement AMP and to see how their content appears in the demo. And beyond developing AMP pages, we invite everyone to get involved and contribute to the AMP Project. We can’t wait to hear from you as we work together to speed up the web. And as always, if you have any questions, please visit our webmaster forums. Posted by Nick Zukoski, Software Engineer [...]



More security notifications via Google Analytics

2016-06-21T10:49:20.641-07:00

Over a year ago, we launched Safe Browsing alerts in Google Analytics to warn users about websites identified as compromised and being used for distributing malware or phishing attacks. Since launch, we’ve alerted more than 24,000 Google Analytics property owners whose websites had been compromised by 3rd parties.Today, we’re happy to announce that we’ll be expanding our set of alerts in Google Analytics by adding notifications about sites hacked for spam in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. In the unlikely event of your site being compromised by a 3rd party, the alert will flag the affected domain right within the Google Analytics UI and will point you to resources to help you resolve the issue.                                       An example of a Google Analytics alert for a compromised site.Website security is still something to take very seriously. In September of last year, we shared that we’d seen a 180% increase in sites getting hacked for spam compared to the previous year. Our research has shown that direct contact with website owners increases the likelihood of remediation to over 75%. This new alert gives us an additional method for letting website owners know that their site may be compromised.What can you do to prevent your site being compromised?Prevention plays an important role in keeping your site, and your users, safe. We’ve recently published tips and best practices to protect your content on the web, we recommend them to any site, large or small.Verify your site on Search Console.Aside from receiving alerts in Google Analytics or via Search results labels when your site is compromised, we recommend taking the extra step to verify your site in Search Console.The Security Issues feature will alert you when things don’t look good and will pin-point the issues we’ve uncovered on your properties. We have detailed a recovery journey in our hacked step-by-step recovery guide to help you resolve the issue and keep your website and users safe.We’re always looking for ideas and feedback—feel free to use the comments section below. For any support questions, visit google.com/webmasters and our support communities available in 14 languages.Posted by Giacomo Gnecchi Ruscone, Search Outreach and Anthony Medeiros, Google Analytics [...]



Search at I/O 16 Recap: Eight things you don't want to miss

2016-06-02T03:40:39.618-07:00

Cross-posted from the Google Developers Blog Two weeks ago, over 7,000 developers descended upon Mountain View for this year’s Google I/O, with a takeaway that it’s truly an exciting time for Search. People come to Google billions of times per day to fulfill their daily information needs. We’re focused on creating features and tools that we believe will help users and publishers make the most of Search in today’s world. As Google continues to evolve and expand to new interfaces, such as the Google assistant and Google Home, we want to make it easy for publishers to integrate and grow with Google. In case you didn’t have a chance to attend all our sessions, we put together a recap of all the Search happenings at I/O. 1: Introducing rich cards We announced rich cards, a new Search result format building on rich snippets, that uses schema.org markup to display content in an even more engaging and visual format. Rich cards are available in English for recipes and movies and we’re excited to roll out for more content categories soon. To learn more, browse the new gallery with screenshots and code samples of each markup type or watch our rich cards devByte. 2: New Search Console reports We want to make it easy for webmasters and developers to track and measure their performance in search results. We launched a new report in Search Console to help developers confirm that their rich card markup is valid. In the report we highlight “enhanceable cards,” which are cards that can benefit from marking up more fields. The new Search Appearance filter also makes it easy for webmasters to filter their traffic by AMP and rich cards. 3: Real-time indexing Users are searching for more than recipes and movies: they’re often coming to Search to find fresh information about what’s happening right now. This insight kickstarted our efforts to use real-time indexing to connect users searching for real-time events with fresh content. Instead of waiting for content to be crawled and indexed, publishers will be able to use the Google Indexing API to trigger the indexing of their content in real time. It’s still in its early days, but we’re excited to launch a pilot later this summer. 3: Getting up to speed with Accelerated Mobile Pages We provided an update on our use of AMP, an open source effort to speed up the mobile web. Google Search uses AMP to enable instant-loading content. Speed is important---over 40% of users abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. We announced that we’re bringing AMPed news carousels to the iOS and Android Google apps, as well as experimenting with combining AMP and rich cards. Stay tuned for more via our blog and github page. In addition to the sessions, attendees could talk directly with Googlers at the Search & AMP sandbox. 5: A new and improved Structured Data Testing Tool We updated the popular Structured Data Testing tool. The tool is now tightly integrated with the DevSite Search Gallery and the new Search Preview service, which lets you preview how your rich cards will look on the search results page. 6: App Indexing got a new home (and new features) We announced App Indexing’s migration to Firebase, Google’s unified developer platform. Watch the session to learn how to grow your app with Firebase App Indexing. 7: App streaming App streaming is a new way for Android users to try out games without having to download and install the [...]



Tie your sites together with property sets in Search Console

2016-05-23T01:42:43.677-07:00

Mobile app, mobile website, desktop website -- how do you track their combined visibility in search? Until now, you've had to track all of these statistics separately. Search Console is introducing the concept of "property sets," which let you combine multiple properties (both apps and sites) into a single group to monitor the overall clicks and impressions in search within a single report.

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It's easy to get started:

  1. Create a property set
  2. Add the properties you're interested in
  3. The data will start being collected within a few days
  4. Profit from the new insights in Search Analytics!

Property Sets will treat all URIs from the properties included as a single presence in the Search Analytics feature. This means that Search Analytics metrics aggregated by host will be aggregated across all properties included in the set. For example, at a glance you'll get the clicks and impressions of any of the sites in the set for all queries.

This feature will work for any kind of property in Search Console. Use it to gain an overview of your international websites, of mixed HTTP / HTTPS sites, of different departments or brands that run separate websites, or monitor the Search Analytics of all your apps together: all of that's possible with this feature.

Don't just listen to us, here's what we heard from one of the beta-testers:

It was one of my most important demands since the beginning of Webmaster Tools / Search Console. And I love the way it is given to us. I see that the remarks of beta-testers have also been understood by Google engineers. So thank you so much! -- Olivier Andrieu (Abondance)

We'll be rolling this out over the next couple of days. If you have multiple properties verified in Search Console, we hope this feature makes it easier for you to keep track. If you have any questions, feedback, or ideas, please come and visit us in the webmaster help forum, or read the help documentation for this new feature!

P.S. Want to become a beta-tester for future features? Just sign up to become a beta-tester and we'll get in touch.

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Introducing rich cards

2016-05-23T18:39:55.225-07:00

Rich cards are a new Search result format building on the success of rich snippets. Just like rich snippets, rich cards use schema.org structured markup to display content in an even more engaging and visual format, with a focus on providing a better mobile user experience.Evolution of search results for queries like [peanut butter cookies recipe]: with rich cards, results are presented in carousels that are easy to browse by scrolling left and right. Carousels can contain cards all from the same site or from multiple sites.For site owners, this is a new opportunity to stand out in Search results and attract more targeted users to your page. For example, if you have a recipe site, you can build a richer preview of your content with a prominent image for each dish. This visual format helps users find what they want right away, so you're getting users who specifically want that especially delicious cookie recipe you have.We’re starting to show rich cards for two content categories: recipes and movies. They will appear initially on mobile search results in English for google.com. We’re actively experimenting with more opportunities to provide more publishers with a rich preview of their content.We’ve built a comprehensive set of tools and completely updated our developer documentation to take site owners and developers from initial exploration through implementation to performance monitoring.Explore rich card types and identify where your content fitsBrowse the new gallery with screenshots and code samples of each markup type.Test and tweak your markupWe strongly recommend using JSON-LD in your implementation. Find out which fields are essential to mark up in order for a rich card to appear. We’ve also listed additional fields that can enhance your rich cards.See a preview in the revamped Structured Data Testing Tool of how the rich card might appear in Search (currently available for recipes and movies).Use the the Structured Data Testing Tool to see errors as you tweak your markup in real time.Keep track of coverage and debug errorsCheck how many of your rich cards are indexed in the new Search Console Rich Cards report. Keep an eye out for errors (also listed in the Rich Cards report). Each error example links directly to the Structured Data Testing tool so you can test it.Submit a sitemap to help us discover all your marked-up content.Find opportunities for growthIn the Rich Cards report, you'll see which cards can be enhanced by marking up additional fields. Monitor performanceA new “Rich results” filter in Search Analytics (currently in a closed beta) will help you track how your rich cards and rich snippets are doing in search: you’ll be able to drill down and see clicks and impressions for both. Q: Can I keep my existing rich snippets markup?A: Yes, you can! We’ll keep you posted as the rich result ecosystem evolves. Q: What about the Structured Data report in Search Console?A: The Structured Data report will continue to show only top-level entities for the existing rich snippets (Product, Recipe, Review, Event, SoftwareApplication, Video, News article) and for any new categories (e.g., Movies). We plan to migrate all errors from the Structured Data report into the Rich Card report. Q: What if I use the wrong markup?A: Technical and quality guidelines apply for rich cards as they do for rich snippets. We will enforce them as before. Learn more about rich cards in the Search and the [...]



A new mobile friendly testing tool

2016-05-17T01:55:00.123-07:00

Mobile is close to our heart - we love seeing more and more sites make their content available in useful & accessible ways for mobile users. To help keep the ball rolling, we've now launched a new Mobile Friendly Test.

The new tool is linked from Search Console's mobile usability report or available directly at https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly

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The updated tool provides us with room to continue to improve on its functionality, and over time, we expect it to replace the previous Mobile Friendly Test. Additionally, of course this tool also works well on your smartphone, if you need to double-check something there!

We'd like to invite you to take it for a spin, try your website and other sites that you're curious about! Let us know how you like it - either here in the comments or in our webmaster help forums.

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