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What Google’s Indexing Looks like From Discovery to Ranking

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What Google’s Indexing Looks like From Discovery to Ranking

How a website renders is a part of the indexing queue and like the other parts has an impact on SEO and ranking. Google’s Martin Splitt explained in a webinar hosted by Duda how rendering impacts SEO and what the crawl process looks like from initial discover to ranking.

The webinar began with Bartosz Goralewicz relating his observations that rendering and layout started surfacing as a trend at Google around 2011.

His personal theory is that it played a role in quality updates.

Perhaps more so today than in the past, rendering and page layout play an important role because of the increased interest in Core Web Vitals.

It could be said that much of the search community is more aware of things like the technical aspects of layout and rendering than in the past.

Rendering influences how fast a web page loads and consequently impacts sales and in some cases rankings.

Does Rendering SEO Help Rankings?

Bartosz started out by asking Martin Splitt a provocative question:

“Can rendering SEO help me rank better?”

Martin paused a moment to think then answered:

“I usually don’t answer ranking questions. I’ll make an exception here.

Generally speaking, no.

But specifically speaking, if there is a problem where something breaks your render and the content doesn’t show up, then if the content doesn’t show up and Google doesn’t see the content properly, then, that might actually hurt you in the sense of, we don’t see the content.

So we might not index the page or we might index the page, but not ranking for the content that you care about.

So yes, in the end it can make a difference and it can have an impact. Yeah, of course.”

Where Rendering Fits From Crawling to Indexing

Bartosz followed up with a question about where rendering fits into the crawling and indexing process.

He asked:

“Where does rendering sit in the whole scenario? …My understanding of that was always that Google creates a queue then crawls, renders and obviously optional, indexes the page. Would that be an oversimplification?”

Martin answered:

“That is slightly oversimplifying, but it’s fundamentally true.”

Bandwidth Affects Website Crawling

This is something that maybe doesn’t get discussed enough and that’s the ability of the server to handle not just Google but all the other bots and site visitors hitting the website.

Google will adjust the crawling if it seems like the server can’t handle the crawl.

This is called, Crawl Capacity Limit. Read more: Why GoogleBot Doesn’t Crawl Enough Pages on Some Sites

Martin Splitt discussed the issue of bandwidth and how it affects crawling.

Martin continued:

“We get lots of your URLs and we get so many URLs that we can’t crawl them all at the same time for the obvious reasons.

We can’t crawl all the URLs all the time at the same time for reasons of bandwidth. So there’s only so much internet bandwidth that you can use.

If you have an online shop and you come online tomorrow with the new online shop website and you have a million product URLs, your server might crash if we crawl all these million URLs at the same time.

So we have to spread this out through time, so there’s a queue in between us discovering a URL and the URL actually being crawled.”

From Crawling to Rendering

Martin next explains the next steps on the road to indexing content.

Martin:

“What happens then is once we have crawled, we can already look into the HTML …we can see …into the HTTP status.

If it’s a 404 HTTP status, then pretty much the processing ends here. If there’s a robots meta tag that says not to index, then our work ends here as well.

But if we get a bunch of HTML content and we can go forward with processing that in the rest of the pipeline, we also then queue the page for JavaScript execution, which is what you would call it “rendering.”

The second queue is very opaque in the sense that you don’t really see how long it takes us to render.

So like in the intake, there’s the URL that we discover and the output of that is either an indexed document or a non indexed document.

That’s pretty much what can happen here.”

What Indexing Queue Looks Like

Martin next provided a simplified outline of what crawling and indexing looks like.

Martin:

“So there is an additional queue that you skipped over, and there are a few more complications where the simplified model might not necessarily apply, but you can assume that the flow normally is discovering, crawling, queuing, rendering, indexing, and then potentially ranking later.”

From Discovery to Ranking

Martin Splitt provided a useful overview of how Google goes from discovering a web page to ranking that page (potentially). Martin seems to know quite a bit about how Google works internally so it’s always enlightening when he shares some of what he knows.

Citation

Watch Martin Splitt discuss rendering and the indexing queue at the 19:35 minute mark:

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy

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Student writing on computer

With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

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Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon

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Google Home app

Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.

This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.

Google Home App New Features

  • Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’

Google Home app Spaces

  • Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access. 

Google Home app

  • Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV. 

Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.

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