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Google Looking To Make Crawling More Efficient & Environmental Friendly

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Google Looking To Make Crawling More Efficient & Environmental Friendly

Google’s Gary Illyes said on the last Search Off The Record Podcast that Google in 2022 is looking to make crawling more efficient and environmentally friendly. And while Google is investigating ways to do that with IndexNow, Gary said it wont be done in a way “that people expect” with that.

Here is the podcast embed, this starts at about 2:30 into the podcast:

Refresh Crawls

He said one way of doing this is for Google to look at the refresh crawls and see about a way of crawling some pages and URLs less often for those refresh crawls. Discovery calls are for new URLs that Google has yet to index but refresh crawls are recrawls of URLs Google has already crawled before but to see if the page has been updated and has new signals. So Google might crawl old URLs less often or maybe more efficiently.

Gary said “how can we reduce even more Googlebots and other crawlers, Google crawlers’ footprint on the Internet, on the environment. And then, if you think about it, one thing that we do and we might not need to do that much is refresh crawls. Which means that once we discovered a document, a URL, then we go, we crawl it, and then, eventually, we are going to go back and revisit that URL. That is a refresh crawl. And then every single time we go back to that one URL, that will always be a refresh crawl. Now, how often do we need to go back to that URL?”

Gary added, “you could say that, for example, if you take the CNN or Wall Street Journal homepage, which is changing every five seconds, then we do need to go back very often. But then the About page of either of these news outlets, they don’t change too often. So you don’t have to go back there that much. And often, we can’t estimate this well, and we definitely have room for improvement there on refresh crawls, because sometimes, it just seems wasteful that we are hitting the same URL over and over again. Sometimes we are hitting 404 pages, for example, for no good reason or no apparent reason. And all these things are basically stuff that we could improve on and then reduce our footprint even more.”

IndexNow

Gary then commented on IndexNow saying they are experimenting with it but if Google does do something with it, it won’t be in the format we are thinking about. He said “but IndexNow could be something that might be useful, and we are running some experiments to see if that’s the case. Probably, it’s not going to be in the form that people expect, but we’ll see. But I can definitely see that it might prove useful in some cases at least.”

XML Sitemaps

They spoke about XML sitemaps and the issues with it for improving discover and crawling. Basically people change the last mod date in the XML sitemap when the URL has not changed. So Gary said “we are just not going to use it” because people don’t generate these sitemaps correctly and accurately.

Crawling and Ranking

And there is a misconception that crawling more leads to more and higher rankings, that is not true Gary and John said. John said “So I guess that’s kind of also a misconception that people have in that they think if a page gets crawled more, it’ll get ranked more. Is that correct that that’s a misconception, or is that actually true?” Gary said “it’s a misconception.”

Google might be more transparent about how crawling works in 2022, so be ready for that.

Forum discussion at Twitter.




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Google Hanukkah Decorations Are Live For 2023

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Google Hanukkah 2023

Hanukkah (aka Chanukah) starts this coming Thursday night, December 7th. Google has added its Hanukkah decorations to the Google Search results interface to celebrate. Google does this every year and I expect to see the same rollout in the coming weeks for Christmas and Kawanzaa but for now, since Chanukah is in the coming days, we have the Hanukkah decorations live at Google Search.

Here is a screenshot of the Chanukah decorations as they look like on the mobile search results.

Google Hanukkah Decorations 2023

You can see it yourself by searching on Google for [chanukah], [hanukkah], but not yet [חֲנוּכָּה‎] or other spelling variations yet but it should soon. It looks better on mobile than it does on desktop results.

To see the past, the 2023 decorations, 2021 decorations, 2020 Chanukah decorations, 2019 Google holiday decorations, the 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and so on.

Happy Chanukah, everyone!

Forum discussion at X.

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Google Pay Accepted Icons In Google Search Results

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Woman Checking Out Store Google Logo

Google seems to be testing a Google Pay Accepted label or icon in the Google search results. This label has the super G logo followed by the words “Pay accepted” words next to search result snippets that support Google Pay and notate such in their structured data.

This was first spotted by Khushal Bherwani who shared some screenshots of this on X – here is one:

G Pay Accepted Google Search

Here are some more screenshots:

Brodie Clark also posted some screenshots after on X:

Google Pay Accepted Google Search

I tried to replicate this but I came up short.

This is not the first time Google had similar icons like this in its search results.

Forum discussion at X.



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Google Discover Showing Older Content Since Follow Feature Arrived

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Dog Astronut Google Logo

Typically, Google Discover shows content that is less than a day old, but it can show content that is weeks, months, or even years old. However, typically, Google will show more recent content in the Discover feed. Well, that may have changed with the new Google follow feature.

Glenn Gabe, who is a very active Google Discover user, noticed that since the Follow feature rolled out, he has been seeing content that is weeks and months old way more often than before the follow feature rolled out. Glenn wrote on X that “this could also be playing a role. i.e. Google isn’t providing as much recent content, but instead, focusing on providing targeted content based on the topics you are following.”

It makes sense that if you follow a specific topic and if Google Discover only shows the most authoritative types of content, it might be hard for Google to find new content on that topic. So it does make sense that Google may show older content more often for that specific topic you follow.

Here are screenshots Glenn shared:

Google Discover Old Stories Follow

Google Discover Old Stories Follow2

Have you noticed this in your Discover feed?

Forum discussion at X.



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