#Google Webmaster Hangouts Notes – 27 September 2019

Welcome to MarketingSyrup! This post is part of my Google Webmaster Hangouts Notes. I cover them regularly to save you time. You might want to subscribe not to miss anything!

Here is the full video:

Googlebot can’t trigger user-triggered events (1:08)

Googlebot can’t click buttons, submit forms, etc. That’s why you need to make sure that important content on your website loads with a link rather than interaction. 

Showing Google business listing reviews on the website won’t increase its rankings (3:21)

Just having any kind of reviews on a page doesn’t make it rank better or worse.

But adding reviews might have an indirect impact as reviews might include keywords.

Having wrong or invalid structured data on the website won’t negatively impact its rankings (4:36)

If the structured data is wrong or not valid, Google won’t lower rankings for the website. But it might not show rich results for that website. And that can affect how people click on the results. This means that if you can fix the markup, it’s worth doing it. 

By combining multiple pages together, you don’t combine their rankings (6:08)

If you combine multiple pages into one page, it takes Google time to figure out how to rank them. But this doesn’t work like that: 2 pages combined = doubled traffic. 

In general, it makes sense to combine 2 similar pages into one stronger page. 

Things to do if your product page outranks a category page (7:48)

First of all, you need to check if the category page is indexed.

Secondly, make sure it’s well linked within the website. For example, link to it from the relevant product pages. 

Thirdly, check content on the category page. For example, if it’s stuffed with keywords, Google can ignore it. 

Note that it might not be fixed quickly as it takes time for Google to reevaluate all the signals and their changes. 

Google won’t show review stars for reviews about your business which are hosted on your website (11:52)

If a review is about your business and it is hosted on your website, Google won’t show star rating in SERPs for it. It also applies to the situations when you embed 3rd party reviews on your website.

The general rule is: if it is a review about your business and you’re hosting on your business website, Google won’t show star reviews associated with it in search.

But product reviews are fine: if somebody reviews your product and this review is shown on the product pages, that’s fine. 

Link exchange is not always unnatural (21:20)

When a website A links to website B, and the latter links back to website A, this is not always against Google guidelines.

If, say, a company writes a blog post about their client with a link to their website, and the client links back to the company, that’s normal and natural.

Old Google advice on SEO-friendly pagination with infinite scroll is still valid (22:50)

When it comes to infinite scroll, you need to make sure that all the pages involved can be reached. The way to achieve that is to link to all these pages individually so that Google can pick up all of them.

The only thing which is not relevant anymore is rel=prev/next, it is no longer supported. 

Why some websites rank higher even though they have thousands of spammy links (28:45)

Google can get things wrong, this happens. You can report such websites.

In general, if a website has spammy links doesn’t mean that Google won’t show it in search. Google tries to ignore spammy links (and doesn’t ‘give credit’ for them). Or it might lower such websites in the search results.

But these websites with spammy links might still have other good signals, so even with lowered rankings, they might be ranked fairly high. That’s why you can sometimes see your competitors rank high even though they have spammy links pointing to their websites.

Duplicate content across websites is not penalized but has negative consequences (35:38)

You won’t be penalized if you have duplicate content (e.g. articles) on different websites. But in this case, you’re competing with yourself. So it’s better to concentrate on one platform as much as possible. 

How to make Google pick up your changes quickly (40:50)

From a crawling point of view, there are things you can do to make sure Google picks up your pages quickly. 

Firstly, make sure you have hub pages which list recent pages. For example, on a news website, this can be the homepage and categories with recent stories. 

Secondly, use <lastmod> for your pages in your xml sitemap file. So that when a new page appears and Google sees that it has recently been modified (in this place – created), it tries to index it as quickly as possible. 

Last but not least, make sure that your server and website in general are quick. This is critical for Google when it comes to crawling and indexing resources.

That’s it for today! Don’t forget to subscribe to never miss valuable info!