Google Search News (Sept ’19) – changes in GSC, nofollow links, new meta tags, and more
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Google Search News (Sept ’19) – changes in GSC, nofollow links, new meta tags, and more


Hi everyone and welcome to the first Google Search News. I hope life is treating you well, wherever you are. I’m your host today, John Mueller, here from Google Zurich in mostly sunny, Switzerland. With this show we want to give you a regular summary of what’s been happening around Google search, specifically for webmasters, publishers and SEOs. If you’d like to stay up-to-date, make sure to subscribe to the channel. Today, we’ll be covering Search Console, changes in nofollow links, some new meta tags to watch out for, and a bit more. Google Webmaster Tools I mean, Search Console made a big step towards moving over to their new interface recently. Search Console is a free tool that gives webmasters and site owners information on how Google search interacts with their web sites. The most visible change is that the old home page and dashboard are now replaced with a new one. This is a big step for the team and allows them to focus more on interesting new features for the millions of websites that use these tools. We haven’t moved everything over yet and some legacy features are still linked from the new Search Console for now. But stay tuned, Search Console will continue to evolve. In other news There’s been a change in the webmaster office hours. The webmaster office hours are way for anyone to chat with a Google employee about their website and Google search. Let’s take a quick look at how it works now. First we introduce new sessions about a week beforehand on the YouTube community page as well as in the event calendar. For each session you can leave questions that you’d like to cover directly as comments and vote on other questions. Once the session starts, we’ll add the link to the live videoconference as a comment and you’re welcome to join in person, to ask, elaborate, or just discuss. These sessions are recorded and the recordings added to our YouTube channel afterwards. Everyone is welcome to join. Fifteen years ago, We introduced the rel=nofollow attribute on links. The web has evolved significantly since then so recently we gave it a bit of a revamp and expanded it. Google announced two new attributes for outbound links. These are rel=sponsored and rel=UGC. the first, rel=sponsored is for advertisement, sponsorships and the like. The other rel=UGC is for links created by your users in user-generated content. All of these are considered hints for ranking purposes. Starting March 2020 we’ll also be treating these as hints to help us discover new pages. This helps us to better understand the web overall. Existing sites don’t need to make any changes but being clear with rel=UGC and rel=sponsored is an option. If you’re unclear about which attribute best fits drop by the webmaster help forum. Recently, Google changed when review stars are shown in search results. The change has two parts. First, review rich results are only shown for certain types of items where reviews really make sense. Additionally, if a local business, organization, or subtype of these includes reviews about itself on its own website those would not be shown in search. This includes both reviews a business collects itself as well as those from third-party providers that are embedded with widgets. Reviews about other supported items continue to be shown as before. Curious to find out more? Check out the blog post link below. On September 24th, Google announced a set of new meta tags that give publishers globally the ability to express preference regarding how much of their pages’ content is shown as a preview in search results. In particular there are meta tags that let you specify how many characters may be shown in a text snippet, whether and how large an image preview may be, and how long a video preview may be shown. Additionally, there’s an HTML attribute that can be used to restrict parts of text from being shown as a preview. We call it the data-nosnippet attribute. That feature will become available later this year. Next to these, our documentation goes into how AMP pages and how structured data may be shown in search. I’ll link to the documentation in the description below. In other news We’ve been holding a number of Webmaster Conferences worldwide in places like Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, and Sapporo, Japan, with more locations lined up. These events are made for local webmasters and generally run by Googlers from offices close by. If you see one nearby, feel free to register and say hi. That’s all for now folks. And now on to the weather. Well, it’s autumn here now So there’s a bit of sun and a bit of cloudiness… So whether it’ll be a nice day is hard to say, I guess you could say … it depends. But stay tuned for the next weather report and of course Google Search News coming to you in a few weeks time!

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