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English Google SEO office-hours from June 2023

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English Google SEO office-hours from June 2023


0:04JOHN: Hello, and welcome to another episode

0:07of Google’s “SEO Office Hours.”

0:09In these videos, we aim to answer your questions

0:12about SEO and Google Search.

0:14These questions were submitted using the form link

0:17below over the past month.

0:19To answer them, we have folks from Google’s Search Quality


0:23Joining us today are Martin, Gary, and me, John.

0:28So without further ado, let’s dive right in.

0:33Beth asks, “We allow our content to be syndicated.Our syndicated version appears in Google Discover despite using canonical links. Why?

0:37However, many times, the syndicated version

0:40appears in Google Discover despite using canonical links.

0:44How can we avoid this?”

0:46Well, this is timely.

0:48We just recently expanded our guidance for syndicated content

0:52to help cover this.

0:53The link rel canonical is a signal

0:56which helps us with canonicalization as a hint.

0:59If your content is being syndicated

1:02and you don’t want the syndicated versions to appear

1:04at all in Search, we recommend making sure

1:07that the syndicated versions also include a noindex robots

1:11meta tag.

1:12This blocks them from appearing in Search

1:15while still allowing users to access the page normally.

1:19GARY: Hi, I’m Gary from the Search Team.Is it OK for 2 domains with different TLDs to target the same country for the same keywords?

1:22[? Sagar ?] is asking, “Is it OK for two

1:24domains with different TLDs to target the same country

1:28for the same keywords?”

1:29Well, my gut reaction is whether this would

1:32be confusing for your users.

1:34Two domains each having presumably the same content

1:37might be pretty confusing.

1:39From a policies perspective, this might also

1:42seem like search result manipulation,

1:45and maybe you don’t want to go there.

1:48I’d check out our spam policies for that too.

1:53MARTIN: [? Arnt ?] is asking “If Lighthouse JavaScript warningsDo Lighthouse JavaScript warnings have any influence on page rating or ranking?

1:57for libraries with known security vulnerabilities

2:00do have any influence on page rating or ranking?”

2:04Hi, [? Arnt, ?] thanks for the question.

2:06No, generally, that doesn’t have any input on ranking.

2:09However, it is a really bad idea to ignore security warnings

2:13and issues.

2:14I highly recommend you fix these as soon as possible.

2:18JOHN: Sean asks, how do I block GooglebotHow do I block Googlebot from crawling a specific section of a webpage?

2:21from crawling a specific section of a web page?

2:25On the product pages, we have an [? Also ?] Bot section.

2:29This often features small add-ons that are not

2:32a big part of our website.

2:35The short version is that you can’t

2:37block crawling of a specific section on an HTML page.

2:43There are, however, two similar things.

2:46You can use the data-nosnippet HTML

2:50attribute to prevent text from appearing in the search


2:54Or you could use an iframe or a JavaScript piece of content

2:59whose source is blocked by robots.txt.

3:02Using a roboted iframe or JavaScript file

3:05is usually not a good idea, since it can cause problems

3:09in crawling and indexing that are

3:11hard to diagnose and resolve.

3:13If this is just for content that’s

3:15reused across your pages, I wouldn’t worry about it.

3:19There is no need to block Googlebot

3:21from seeing that kind of duplication.

3:24GARY: Someone’s asking, “I submitted a sitemap,I submitted a sitemap but it’s not showing in search results. Why?

3:27but it’s not showing in Search results.”

3:30I’m assuming that you are talking

3:31about the URLs, in which case, I would remind you that sitemaps

3:35are a way to tell search engines where your content is,

3:38but that’s pretty much all.

3:41It won’t guarantee that the URLs you supplied will be crawled,

3:45and it definitely doesn’t guarantee

3:48they will be indexed, both of which

3:51depend on the quality of the content

3:53and its relative popularity on the internet.

3:56MARTIN: [? Corey ?] is asking, “Why does structured

3:59data show errors on Google but not on does structured data show errors on Google but not

4:03Google’s Search Console is showing errors

4:04for an invalid enum value in field Return Fees,

4:08but our test says No Error.

4:11Please advise.”

4:13Thanks for the question, [? Corey. ?]

4:16is an open and vendor-independent entity

4:18that defines the data types and attributes for structured data.

4:22Google, as a vendor, however, might

4:25have specific requirements for some attributes and types

4:28in order to use the structured data in product features,

4:31such as our rich results in Google Search.

4:34So while just leaving out some attributes

4:37or using some type of values for an attribute

4:39is perfectly fine with,

4:41vendors, such as Google and others,

4:44might have more specific requirements

4:46in order to use the structured data you provide to actually

4:50enhance features and products.

4:52JOHN: [? Arnt ?] asks, “Does the integration

4:55of security headers, such as for HSTS,Does the integration of security headers such as for HSTS have a ranking influence?

4:59have a ranking influence?”


5:02The HSTS headers do not affect Search.

5:06This header is used to tell users to access the HTTPS

5:10version directly and is commonly used, together with a redirect,

5:15to the HTTPS versions.

5:17Google uses a process called canonicalization

5:20to pick the most appropriate version of a page

5:23to crawl and index.

5:25It does not rely on headers like the ones used for HSTS.

5:29Using these headers is, of course, great for users,


5:33GARY: Bill is asking, “Does Google

5:35do any kind of comparisons between current and previous

5:39XML sitemap versions to see what’s newDoes Google do any kind of comparisons between current and previous XML sitemap versions?

5:42or what’s being removed from a site?”

5:44Well, the absolute answer is yes.

5:47We will not reprocess a sitemap that hasn’t changed

5:50since it was last crawled.

5:51But that’s just a software optimization

5:54not to waste resources like computing resources.

5:57As soon as you change something in your sitemap,

6:01be that a URL element or [? LS ?] mod,

6:04the sitemap will be parsed again and generally reprocessed.

6:07That doesn’t mean that the URLs will be surely crawled,

6:10of course.

6:11They are still subject to the quality evaluations

6:13like any other URL.

6:15It’s also worth to mention that, if you remove

6:18a URL from the sitemap, because perhaps it doesn’t exist

6:21anymore, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically

6:24going to be dropped from the index

6:26or even prioritized for crawling so it can be dropped sooner.

6:30JOHN: [? Morosami ?] asks, “What is

6:33the difference between an XML sitemap and HTML?

6:38And what is the resolution of this case in Search ConsoleWhat is the difference between an XML sitemap and HTML? I have an error message in Search Console.

6:42when it says your sitemap appears to be an HTML page;

6:46please use a supported sitemap format instead?”

6:50This is an unfortunate consequence

6:52of using pretty much the same name for both the XML file

6:58as well as for the HTML page.

7:00A HTML sitemap can be helpful for users.

7:04It’s more like a higher-level map.

7:07An XML sitemap is only for crawlers.

7:10It’s a file made for robots.

7:13To add my personal opinion, an HTML sitemap

7:16is often a sign that your website’s navigation

7:19is too confusing.

7:21So I might try to fix that instead

7:23of creating a sitemap page.

7:25GARY: [? Animash ?] is asking, “How does GoogleHow does Google treat structured data with parsing errors?

7:28treat structure data with parsing errors?”

7:30Well, it doesn’t.

7:32If some structure data doesn’t parse,

7:35we can’t extract the information that it may contain,

7:38so it’s just ignored.

7:40MARTIN: “Are numbers in the URL bad for SEO?

7:43Are they a bad idea to include in the URL?”

7:47No, numbers in URLs are not bad.

7:51Use numbers, use letters, use non-Latin letters,

7:55or even use Unicode symbols, if you want to.

7:58The only thing I’d avoid in URLs is temporary identifiers

8:03that change every time you visit a page,

8:05since this makes crawling very hard and confusing.

8:09GARY: Claudio is asking, “Why is my website URL blocked?”Why is my website URL blocked?

8:13Well, it is not.

8:15It’s well and happy.

8:17It’s just not ranking.

8:19Check out our SEO Starter Guide to get

8:21an idea of what you will need to do to get liftoff, and then

8:26get more tips from other reputable SEO-focused sites

8:29and people like, [INAUDIBLE] and Aleyda Solis, respectively.

8:34JOHN: “Index Bloat– is that a real thing that impacts“Index Bloat” – is that a real thing that impacts Google crawling and indexing?

8:37Google crawling and indexing?”

8:39I’m not aware of any concept of index bloat at Google.

8:43Our systems don’t artificially limit the number

8:46of pages indexed per site.

8:48I just make sure that the pages which

8:51you’re providing for indexing are actually useful pages.

8:54But that’s independent of the number of pages your site has.

8:59GARY: Someone’s asking, “How do I

9:01block Googlebot from even touching my site reliablyHow do I block Googlebot from even touching my site reliably and permanently?

9:04and permanently?

9:05Not for a few months or something

9:07like that, but forever.”

9:09Well, the simplest way is robots.txt.

9:12If you add a disallow forward slash for the Googlebot user

9:17agent, Googlebot will leave your site alone for as long

9:20as you keep that rule there.

9:22If you want to block even network access of Googlebot,

9:26you’ll need to create perhaps a firewall rule that loads our IP

9:32ranges into a deny rule.

9:34You can get the list of our IP addresses

9:36following our docs about verifying Googlebot.

9:41MARTIN: Michael asks, “Can an SEO companyCan an SEO company get a Google approved badge?

9:44get a Google-approved badge?”

9:47I’m not aware of any Google SEO certification.

9:51There are certain certifications for certain products,

9:54such as for Google Ads, but I’m not aware of one for SEO.

9:58For official certifications, I’d double

10:01check the source directly rather than

10:02take someone’s word for it.

10:05GARY: Anonymous is asking, “Can having multiple navigationCan having multiple navigation menus hurt SEO performance?

10:08menus hurt SEO performance– a main menu

10:11with all the most important categories of the site

10:14and the secondary menu to enhance categories

10:18related to brand extensions?”

10:20It’s highly unlikely that having multiple navigation menus

10:24will have any effect whatsoever on your site’s SEO performance.

10:29JOHN: “I tried to get HTML and ASPX pages to index,I tried to get HTML and ASPX pages to index and only a few HTML pages got indexed. Help!

10:34and only a few of the pages got indexed and the rest of them

10:37are not.

10:38I need help.”

10:39From our side, there is nothing special with these file


10:43URLs with these endings can be normal HTML pages,

10:47and we can index them.

10:49Hiding the ending does not change anything

10:52for Google systems.

10:53For general questions about crawling and indexing,

10:56I’d recommend checking out our Help community.

10:59The folks there can be super helpful.

11:02GARY: [? Shin ?] is asking, “I see two resultsI see two results from the same domain but different webpages, the second one is slightly indented. Why?

11:05from the same domain but different web pages,

11:07and the second one is slightly indented.

11:10What is that?”

11:11Well, good question.

11:13Those are called host groups.

11:16You can’t really influence them with markup or anything,

11:19but it’s a telltale that you have

11:22more than one page that can rank well for a certain query.

11:26You might want to consolidate those two pages, perhaps,

11:29if it’s possible at all.

11:31You can learn more about host groups in our Visual Element


11:35JOHN: [? Arnt ?] asks, “Is a fake Googlebot allowed?

11:39It mentions the official URL but is on a different IP address.”Is a fake Googlebot allowed? It mentions the official URL but is on a different IP address?

11:45Unfortunately, anyone can specify any user agent name,

11:49and it happens that scripts use a Googlebot user agent

11:53name in an attempt to appear legitimate.

11:57We publish the IP ranges that Googlebot uses, as well,

12:01as a way to confirm that the requests are

12:03legitimate in our documentation.

12:05In your particular case, the IP address

12:08that you mentioned maps back to Hetzner

12:11Online, a hoster in Germany.

12:14If you’re seeing many requests like this,

12:16it might be worth contacting their abuse department.

12:20GARY: Mohammad is asking, “Is there a way to disavow IPIs there a way to disavow IP addresses instead of domain names?

12:23addresses instead of domain names?”

12:26No, there isn’t.

12:28JOHN: “What is the purpose of using NOODP, generally foundWhat is the purpose of using NOODP generally found in Blogger?

12:32in Blogger?”

12:34Well, that’s a blast from the past.

12:36Google has not used this robots meta tag in ages.

12:41It goes back to the DMOZ Open Directory Project,

12:45where sites were listed with a short description.

12:48The meta tag told search engines to ignore that description.

12:52The Open Directory Project, or ODP, does not exit anymore,

12:56and this meta tag has no effect.

12:59It also doesn’t cause any problems, so leaving it

13:02is fine as well.

13:04GARY: [? Frederick ?] is asking, “Since April 13,

13:08a video has to be the main content of a page

13:10if a thumbnail should show in [? SERPs. ?] Does main contentDoes “main content” mean that the video has to be the absolute first element on the page?

13:14mean that the video has to be the absolute first element

13:17on the page?”

13:19Well, no.

13:20Think about the user’s perspective.

13:23They end up on your page, and then they

13:25have to actively look for the video instead of having it

13:29basically in their face right away.

13:32The former is pretty confusing, and that’s

13:35why we are looking for videos that are the main content,

13:38basically, in your face.

13:41If you look at the large video sites,

13:44such as Vimeo or YouTube, then you

13:47can get a sense of what our algorithms are looking for.

13:52JOHN: And that was it for this episode.

13:55I hope you found the questions and answers useful.

13:58If there is anything you submitted

13:59which didn’t get covered here, I’d

14:01recommend posting in the Search Central Help Community.

14:05There are lots of passionate experts active there

14:07who can help you to narrow things down.

14:10And of course, if there’s anything more on your mind,

14:13please submit those questions with the form link below.

14:16Your questions here are useful to us and to those who

14:20catch up on these recordings.

14:22So please keep them coming.

14:24If you have general feedback about these episodes,

14:26let us know in the comments or ping us on social media.

14:29In the meantime, may your site’s traffic go up

14:32and your crawl errors go down.

14:34Thank you, and see you soon.