#Google Webmaster Hangouts Notes – 22 February 2019

Hey! Welcome to MarketingSyrup! This post is part of my Google Webmaster Hangouts Notes. I cover them regularly to save you time 🙂

Here’s a full video of Google Webmaster Hangouts from 22 February, you can find the timestamps in the brackets after each answer.

301 and 302 redirects are equivalent from the ranking point of view (4:55)

Google just shows different URLs in search depending on a type of redirect you use. If you’re using a 302 redirect, the initial page will most likely be shown while with a 301 redirect in place, you will see the target page in search results. This ties into another answer on 301 vs 302 redirects John gave in one of the previous Google Webmaster Hangouts.

So the type of redirect determines which page is shown in search but it doesn’t influence the rankings.

Note that if a 302 redirect is in place for a long time, Google might start treating it as 301.

Don’t add lots of text to eCommerce category pages for Google to rank them, improve their overall quality instead (7:47)

Avoid putting tons of content at the bottom of your category pages below product listings. Instead, optimize other content on the page: use short product descriptions, add alt text to the images, place relevant heading on your page. Adding some amount of text makes sense too. Also, integrate your category pages into website navigation properly.

The bottom line here is that you need to improve all content on your category pages instead of just putting lots of text below the product listings.  

Make sure that the content on your mobile pages is equivalent to the content on your desktop pages (12:05)

Don’t remove important content, especially text, from your mobile pages. With mobile-first indexing, you need to make sure that your mobile pages are equivalent to the desktop ones, so that they are not losing any ranking potential.

It’s a good idea to create free tools to help promote your paid tools or services (15:01)

If you create something free that provides value to users, and especially if people link to these free resources, it can help you promote your paid tools and services. Just make sure that your free tools are relates to your business.

Errors in one schema markup type don’t influence your other markup types (16:20)

Google looks at different markup types ‘on a feature level’ which means that if a particular type of structured data is valid, it will be used in search results even if another type throws errors.

So you don’t need to make sure that all your structured data types are valid, Google will show the ones added correctly and ignore those which have errors.

Google algorithms updates target particular searches, not industries (18:16)

Google algorithmic changes are usually concentrated not on particular industries but on the searches people make. But these two spheres are closely connected, which means that sometimes algorithms updates happen to influence some industries more than others.

Migrating to a domain with bad history can cause issues (20:45)

Though easy domain migrations (the same structure, proper redirects setup, etc.) should be picked up by Google quickly, there are situations when everything goes wrong. If a domain you’re moving to has a bad history associated with it, that might take Google time to clear it out and recognize that it is a new website which is not related to the old one. 

If your product variations are similar, keep them on a single URL not to dilute the value of the content (30:04)

By default, it’s better to have fewer pages. The main advantage of such an approach is that they are easier to crawl and update. Moreover, it helps to concentrate the value of the content on fewer URLs rather than dilute it across multiple page versions.  

With that being said, it’s better to have a single product page listing this product variation instead of creating a separate URL for each product option (like size, color, etc.).

However, if the variations are significantly different and people explicitly search for these variations, it might make sense to have separate URLs for such products.

There is no single right way to handle big pieces of content: you can either place it on a single page or split it into multiple ones (38:15)

If you have a large piece of content (the question was about a 10000-word article), you should think what form of its presentation will work better for your users. It might make sense to post separate chapters on different URLs or it might be beneficial to combine everything on a single URL.

Google AdSense and search use different methods to categorize website pages (42:31)

If, for example, AdSense categorized some of your pages as adult content, it doesn’t automatically mean these pages will be categorized in the same way in search. These two systems use different algorithms and policies as they pursue different goals.

It’s better to have structured data directly added to a page rather than use Google Tag Manager to inject it (43:45)

While using Tag Manager to add schema to pages might work, and Google can pick up your structured data injected this way, such configuration is prone to error. There are many things that can go wrong on indexing and crawling steps.

Using Google Tag Manager for schema markup can be a temporary solution before you add the markup in a traditional way.

If one part of a website has severe technical errors, it might negatively influence the whole website (48:50)

For example, if you have an eCommerce website and blog, and the latter throws server errors, it might make Google decrease crawling frequency for the whole website, including its eCommerce part. It can become a serious issue for large websites that are being frequently updated as Google will pick up the changes slowly.

You don’t need individual XML sitemaps for your normal pages and AMP pages (54:52)

Google crawls regular pages first and the follows links to their AMP versions and crawls them. So there is no need in creating separate XML sitemaps for these types of pages.

An exception is if you have only AMP pages. Then it makes sense to create an XML sitemap listing them.

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