Google’s John Mueller answered whether Google would use links in structured data for crawling. Getting links discovered, crawled, and then indexed is vital to SEO, so any available advantage for getting more pages crawled would be helpful.
What Does Google Use Links For In Structured Data?
The person asking the question wants to know if Google uses links discovered in structured data for crawling.
They also want to know if Google doesn’t use the links for crawling if they’re just stored.
Here is the question:
“Does Google crawl URLs located in structured data markup or does Google just store the data?”
Google Tries Crawling Many Kinds Of URLs
Mueller’s answer might seem a little surprising because, among other things, he mentions that Google might try to crawl a link that’s in a text file.
Another point of interest is that he says Google will crawl anything that “looks” like a link, followed up with examples of what “looks like a link” means.
“So for the most part, when we look at HTML pages, if we see something that looks like a link, we might go off and kind of like try that URL out as well.
If we find a link in kind of a text file on a site, we can try to crawl that and use it.”
Mueller’s answer is a pretty good overview of what Google might do with alternative links, links that are not traditional HTML hyperlinks with anchor text.
What followed is Mueller’s reminder that all of these alternative forms of links should not be viewed as substitutes for actual HTML hyperlinks, what Mueller calls a “normal link.”
Mueller strongly recommends using a standard HTML hyperlink if you want something that performs like a link.
He continued his answer:
“But it’s not really a normal link.
So it’s something where I would recommend if you want Google to go off and crawl that URL, make sure that there’s a natural HTML link to that URL, with a clear anchor text as well, that you give some information about the destination page.
If you don’t want Google to crawl that specific URL, then maybe block it with robots.txt or on that page use a rel=canonical pointing to your preferred version, anything like that.
So those are kind of the directions I would go there.
I would not blindly assume that just because it’s in structured data it will not be found.
Nor would I blindly assume that just because it’s in structured data it will be found.
It might be found.
It might not be found.
I would instead focus on what you want to have happen there.
If you want to have it seen as a link, then make it a link.
If you don’t want to have it crawled or indexed, then block crawling or indexing.
That’s all totally up to you.”
SEOs have created many alternative forms of links, some of which (like “link mentions”) have no basis in reality and are pure conjecture and opinion.
Many years ago, SEOs began practicing something called Google Stacking, which included adding links to Google Sheets and then pointing links to that Google sheet believing that the practice would help rankings.
The idea was similar to Web 2.0 link building, where some SEOs had the mistaken notion that so-called “authority” from a Google-affiliated site would trickle over through the links on Google Sheets and Google Sites.
Mueller affirms that it’s best to use actual links if you want the power of links.
Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 23:20 minute mark.
Featured Image: YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral, June 2022.
WordPress Gutenberg 13.8 Offers Greater Editing Flexibility
WordPress Gutenberg 13.8 is here, unpacking further incremental improvements to the Gutenberg block editor.
Some of the improvements are relatively trivial additions, like adding a WhatsApp icon to the Social Icon Block.
But others are more important because they give template designers the ability to provide more design options for their users.
Chief among these is a new feature that makes it easier to see template parts and to insert them from the block inserter.
This option is aimed at template designers who can now make it easier for users to choose variations.
According to WordPress:
“Gutenberg 13.8 introduces improvements for those who leverage variations and patterns to provide flexibility for their users.
The specific template part variations are now available in the block inserter, making it easy to add “Header”, “Footer,” or “Newsletter Subscription” template parts to your site.”
New Template Search Component
Another useful update is the addition of search functionality that makes it easier to locate and use specific template parts.
The functionality is described as:
“Adds a new search functionality to the template parts replacement modal.
…It makes it easier to find specific template parts.”
Border Block Support for Color, Width, and Style
The Image block now supports the full range of border controls, including Color, Style, and Width.
Testing of the new feature went well, with one contributor commenting:
“Great work getting this to the finish line @aaronrobertshaw! Tested with a few different block and classic themes, and all working nicely
Crop tools are working nicely in the editor with and without a custom border
Custom border color is working nicely in the editor and site editor
Image border in global styles works well”
Video of New Border Block Control
Improvements to Accessibility
Gutenberg 13.8 ships with cumulative improvements to accessibility.
Fixes included adding tooltips and fixing a mismatch between the visible text and the aria-label of the Toggle block inserter button.
These are some of the improvements:
- BorderControl: Update labelling, tooltips and wrap with fieldset and legend.
- Add aria-hidden to query pagination arrows.
- Fix labelling and semantics of the paragraph block Left to right control.
- Fix mismatching label and visible text on the Toggle block inserter button.
- Fix the description text of block movers for horizontal movement.
- Replace clickable div elements with buttons in the Add template modal.
Improvements to the Code
One improvement that’ll be welcome to SEOs is the removal of React fragments from the Block Library.
It’s not a dramatic improvement. But changes in the right direction are always welcome when it comes to code size, even something as small as this.
Incremental Change Continues
WordPress Gutenberg 13.8 continues to evolve with incremental improvements, which is the hallmark of most updates to WordPress and the Gutenberg full site editor.
Read the Official WordPress Announcement
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