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Daily Search Forum Recap: January 4, 2022

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google Search Console’s international targeting setting can take weeks to kick in. Google said if you are migrating to a new domain, don’t also remove AMP at the same time. A reminder that error like pages or out of stock or no delivery pages can trigger soft 404s in Google Search. Google is testing a blue header in the search results. Google local shows bike sharing icons with quantity and car charing icons. Plus more…

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Google Search Console International Targeting Setting Can Take Weeks

    Google’s John Mueller said that it can take from a week to a couple of months for Google Search to pick up on the international targeting setting you selected in Google Search Console. He said it would likely go faster for news sites but other sites can take up to a couple of months.
  • Google: Pages That Look Like Error Pages Can Be Considered Soft 404s

    Several months ago Google told us that returning a “results not found” type of page can result in Google Search considering that page a soft 404 and thus removing it from the search results. The same is true for “Sorry we don’t deliver to this location” or other negative and error looking pages.
  • Advice: Don’t Migrate Domains & Drop Google AMP The Same Time

    It might not be the best idea to migrate to a new domain name and at the same time also drop your AMP pages. A Google SEO hangout with John Mueller has one case where a site migrated to a new domain back in September and at the same time dropped AMP and has not seen the site’s traffic recover yet.

  • Google Search Tests Blue Header

    Ric Rodriguez has spotted Google testing a blue colored header for the mobile search results. He shared a number of screenshots on Twitter -here is a side by side of a normal white header for the Google Search bar compared to the blue header for the Google search bar.

  • Google Local Results Displays Bike & Car Charging Icons In Local Results

    Google is now showing bike icons for the bikeshare data it shows in the local search results, including the local pack and local listing for a bike share location. Google also shows the quantity of bikes that are available at that location. And Google is also showing electric car charging icons.

  • Google’s User Agent Horse Wears A Mask – But It’s A Bit Hoarse

    So John Mueller of Google shared a photo of his cardboard cut out the other day and I was super upset that it was without a mask. John then shared that the User-agent horse had a mask – so all is good

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, you can follow us on Facebook and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.





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Microsoft Bing Says The lastmod Tag In XML Sitemap File Is Critical

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Bingbot

Microsoft Bing posted a new blog post saying “for XML sitemaps, one of the most critical tags you can include in your sitemap is the “lastmod” tag.” And it will become even more critical as Bing is reworking its crawl scheduling stack to rely more on this lastmod field.

Yes, by June, the way Bing decides what to crawl will be more dependent on the lastmod tag. Fabrice Canel from Microsoft wrote, “we are revamping our crawl scheduling stack to better utilize the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps.” This is being done so it can “enhance” the “crawl efficiency by reducing unnecessary crawling of unchanged content and prioritizing recently updated content.”

“We have already begun implementing these changes on a limited scale and plan to fully roll them out by June,” he added.

So making sure your lastmod date is accurate is now even more important. It should be the last time you modified the URL, not the time the URL was first published and not the time the XML sitemap file was generated. In fact, that is the biggest issue Bing found with the field, that it often just shows the date the XML sitemap file was generated and not the date the page of the URL was last modified.

Here are some data points Bing put together on XML sitemaps:

  • 58% of hosts have at least one XML sitemap.
  • 84% of these sitemaps have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 79% have lastmod values correct.
  • 18% have lastmod values not correctly set.
  • 3% has lastmod values for only some of the URLs.
  • 16% of these sitemaps don’t have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 42% of hosts don’t have one XML sitemap

Oh, Bing still wants you to use the IndexNow protocol for the most efficient crawl solution but if you don’t – make sure your lastmod date is accurate.

In terms of Google, in 2015 Google said they don’t really use the lastmod date but then changed that in 2020 they said they do. The current Google documentation says, “Google uses the lastmod value if it’s consistently and verifiably (for example by comparing to the last modification of the page) accurate.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Search Console Video Indexing Report Adds Impressions & Sitemap Filters

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Google mic laptop

Google has updated the video indexing report within Google Search Console to add impression data and a way to filter the report by your available sitemaps.

As a reminder, the video indexing report went fully live in August 2022 after Google started to slowly roll out the video index report within Google Search Console earlier in 2022.

Google added two new features to the report; impression data and a sitemap filter. Here is a GIF of these two features:

Video Indexing Google Report Upgrade

You can now overlay the impressions your indexed videos saw directly in this report. Google said, “the impressions are aggregated by page which means that if the same page appears multiple times in a single search result page (or a single Discover session), then we consider each appearance as an impression.”

Here is what it looks like:

click for full size

Google added, “The Search performance report groups video search appearances by property, not by URL, which means that if multiple pages show in a search results, we’ll count only one impression. As a result, the Search performance report can show lower impression counts than the Video page indexing report.”

The sitemap filter is a nice addition also, so you can see what videos you submitted via your sitemaps compared to what Google really indexed. Google said, “To help you focus on the video pages that matter most to you, you can now filter the Video indexing report to show only video pages that are present in a selected sitemap. The filter applies to all the report features: the chart, chart totals, issue list, and exports.”

Here is a screenshot of that:

click for full size

You also see a section in the sitemaps location for discovered videos:

Again, if Google sees videos on your site, Google will display the new “Video indexing report” on the left navigation bar in the coverage section of Google Search Console. The report shows the status of video indexing on your site. It helps you answer the following questions:

  • In how many pages has Google identified a video?
  • Which videos were indexed successfully?
  • What are the issues preventing videos from being indexed?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Helpful Content & Link Spam Update Done, SEO, Search Console & More

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