Author Archives: Google Webmaster Central

Bye Bye Preferred Domain setting

As we progress with the migration to the new Search Console experience, we will be saying farewell to one of our settings: preferred domain.



It's common for a website to have the same content on multiple URLs. For example, it might have the same content on http://example.com/ as on https://www.example.com/index.html. To make things easier, when our systems recognize that, we'll pick one URL as the "canonical" for Search. You can still tell us your preference in multiple ways if there's something specific you want us to pick (see paragraph below). But if you don't have a preference, we'll choose the best option we find. Note that with the deprecation we will no longer use any existing Search Console preferred domain configuration.

You can find detailed explanations on how to tell us your preference in the Consolidate duplicate URLs help center article. Here are some of the options available to you:
  1. Use rel=”canonical” link tag on HTML pages
  2. Use rel=”canonical” HTTP header
  3. Use a sitemap
  4. Use 301 redirects for retired URLs
Send us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.

Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate

Webmaster Conference: an event made for you

Over the years we attended hundreds of conferences, we spoke to thousands of webmasters, and recorded hundreds of hours of videos to help web creators find information about how to perform better in Google Search results. Now we'd like to go further: help those who aren't able to travel internationally and access the same information.

Today we're officially announcing the Webmaster Conference, a series of local events around the world. These events are primarily located where it's difficult to access search conferences or information about Google Search, or where there's a specific need for a Search event. For example, if we identify that a region has problems with hacked sites, we may organize an event focusing on that specific topic.

We want web creators to have equal opportunity in Google Search regardless of their language, financial status, gender, location, or any other attribute. The conferences are always free and easily accessible in the region where they're organized, and, based on feedback from the local communities and analyses, they're tailored for the audience that signed up for the events. That means it doesn't matter how much you already know about Google Search; the event you attend will have takeaways tailored to you. The talks will be in the local language, in case of international speakers through interpreters, and we'll do our best to also offer sign language interpretation if requested.
collage from past WMConf events
Webmaster Conference Okinawa

The structure of the event varies from region to region. For example, in Okinawa, Japan, we had a wonderful half-day event with novice and advanced web creators where we focused on how to perform better in Google Images. At Webmaster Conference India and Indonesia, that might change and we may focus more on how to create faster websites. We will also host web communities in Europe and North America later this year, so keep an eye out for the announcements!
We will continue attending external events as usual; we are doing these events to complement the existing ones. If you want to learn more about our upcoming events, visit the Webmaster Conference site which we'll update monthly, and follow our blogs and @googlewmc on Twitter!

Posted by Takeaki Kanaya and Gary

A video series on SEO myths for web developers

We invited members of the SEO and web developer community to join us for a new video series called "SEO mythbusting".
In this series, we discuss various topics around SEO from a developer's perspective, how we can work to make the "SEO black box" more transparent, and what technical SEO might look like as the web keeps evolving. We already published a few episodes: Web developer's 101:
A look at Googlebot:
Microformats and structured data:
JavaScript and SEO:
We have a few more episodes for you and we will launch the next episodes weekly on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel, so don't forget to subscribe to stay in the loop. You can also find all published episodes in this YouTube playlist. We look forward to hearing your feedback, topic suggestions, and guest recommendations in the YouTube comments as well as our Twitter account!

Mobile-First Indexing by default for new domains

Over the years since announcing mobile-first indexing - Google's crawling of the web using a smartphone Googlebot - our analysis has shown that new websites are generally ready for this method of crawling. Accordingly, we're happy to announce that mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default for all new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites starting July 1, 2019. It's fantastic to see that new websites are now generally showing users - and search engines - the same content on both mobile and desktop devices!

You can continue to check for mobile-first indexing of your website by using the URL Inspection Tool in Search Console. By looking at a URL on your website there, you'll quickly see how it was last crawled and indexed. For older websites, we'll continue monitoring and evaluating pages for their readiness for mobile first indexing, and will notify them through Search Console once they're seen as being ready. Since the default state for new websites will be mobile-first indexing, there's no need to send a notification.


Using the URL Inspection Tool to check the mobile-first indexing status

Our guidance on making all websites work well for mobile-first indexing continues to be relevant, for new and existing sites. For existing websites we determine their readiness for mobile-first indexing based on parity of content (including text, images, videos, links), structured data, and other meta-data (for example, titles and descriptions, robots meta tags). We recommend double-checking these factors when a website is launched or significantly redesigned.

While we continue to support responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate mobile URLs for mobile websites, we recommend responsive web design for new websites. Because of issues and confusion we've seen from separate mobile URLs over the years, both from search engines and users, we recommend using a single URL for both desktop and mobile websites.

Mobile-first indexing has come a long way. We're happy to see how the web has evolved from being focused on desktop, to becoming mobile-friendly, and now to being mostly crawlable and indexable with mobile user-agents! We realize it has taken a lot of work from your side to get there, and on behalf of our mostly-mobile users, we appreciate that. We’ll continue to monitor and evaluate this change carefully. If you have any questions, please drop by our Webmaster forums or our public events.

Search at Google I/O 2019

Google I/O is our yearly developer conference where we have the pleasure of announcing some exciting new Search-related features and capabilities. A good place to start is Google Search: State of the Union, which explains how to take advantage of the latest capabilities in Google Search:

We also gave more details on how JavaScript and Google Search work together and what you can do to make sure your JavaScript site performs well in Search.

Try out new features today

Here are some of the new features, codelabs, and documentation that you can try out today:
The Google I/O sign at Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View, CA

Be among the first to test new features

Your help is invaluable to making sure our products work for everyone. We shared some new features that we're still testing and would love your feedback and participation.
A large crowd at Google I/O

Learn more about what's coming soon

I/O is a place where we get to showcase new Search features, so we're excited to give you a heads up on what's next on the horizon:
Two people posing for a photo at Google I/O, forming a heart with their arms

We hope these cool announcements help & inspire you to create even better websites that work well in Search. Should you have any questions, feel free to post in our webmaster help forums, contact us on Twitter, or reach out to us at any of the next events we're at.

New in structured data: FAQ and How-to


Over the last few weeks, we've been discussing structured data: first providing best practices and then showing how to monitor it with Search Console. Today we are announcing support for FAQ and How-to structured data on Google Search and the Google Assistant, including new reports in Search Console to monitor how your site is performing.

In this post, we provide details to help you implement structured data on your FAQ and how-to pages in order to make your pages eligible to feature on Google Search as rich results and How-to Actions for the Assistant. We also show examples of how to monitor your search appearance with new Search Console enhancement reports.

Disclaimer: Google does not guarantee that your structured data will show up in search results, even if your page is marked up correctly. To determine whether a result gets a rich treatment, Google algorithms use a variety of additional signals to make sure that users see rich results when their content best serves the user’s needs. Learn more about structured data guidelines.

How-to on Search and the Google Assistant

How-to rich results provide users with richer previews of web results that guide users through step-by-step tasks. For example, if you provide information on how to tile a kitchen backsplash, tie a tie, or build a treehouse, you can add How-to structured data to your pages to enable the page to appear as a rich result on Search and a How-to Action for the Assistant.

Add structured data to the steps, tools, duration, and other properties to enable a How-to rich result for your content on the search page. If your page uses images or video for each step, make sure to mark up your visual content to enhance the preview and expose a more visual representation of your content to users. Learn more about the required and recommended properties you can use on your markup in the How-to developer documentation.


Sample search result showing How-to structured data    Sample search result showing How-to structured data

Your content can also start surfacing on the Assistant through new voice guided experiences. This feature lets you expand your content to new surfaces, to help users complete tasks wherever they are, and interactively progress through the steps using voice commands.

As shown in the Google Home Hub example below, the Assistant provides a conversational, hands-free experience that can help users complete a task. This is an incredibly lightweight way for web developers to expand their content to the Assistant. For more information about How-to for the Assistant, visit Build a How-to Guide Action with Markup.


How-to for the Assistant    How-to for the Assistant

To help you monitor How-to markup issues, we launched a report in Search Console that shows all errors, warnings and valid items for pages with HowTo structured data. Learn more about how to use the report to monitor your results.

Search Console enhancement report

FAQ on Search and the Google Assistant

An FAQ page provides a list of frequently asked questions and answers on a particular topic. For example, an FAQ page on an e-commerce website might provide answers on shipping destinations, purchase options, return policies, and refund processes. By using FAQPage structured data, you can make your content eligible to display these questions and answers to display directly on Google Search and the Assistant, helping users to quickly find answers to frequently asked questions.

FAQ structured data is only for official questions and answers; don't add FAQ structured data on forums or other pages where users can submit answers to questions - in that case, use the Q&A Page markup.

You can learn more about implementation details in the FAQ developer documentation.

FAQ on Search


To provide more ways for users to access your content, FAQ answers can also be surfaced on the Google Assistant. Your users can invoke your FAQ content by asking direct questions and get the answers that you marked up in your FAQ pages. For more information, visit Build an FAQ Action with Markup.
FAQ on Google Assistant


To help you monitor FAQ issues and search appearance, we also launched an FAQ report in Search Console that shows all errors, warnings and valid items related to your marked-up FAQ pages.

We would love to hear your thoughts on how FAQ or How-to structured data works for you. Send us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.

Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Damian Biollo, Patrick Nevels, and Yaniv Loewenstein

The new evergreen Googlebot

Googlebot is the crawler that visits web pages to include them within Google Search index. The number one question we got from the community at events and social media was if we could make Googlebot evergreen with the latest Chromium. Today, we are happy to announce that Googlebot now runs the latest Chromium rendering engine (74 at the time of this post) when rendering pages for Search. Moving forward, Googlebot will regularly update its rendering engine to ensure support for latest web platform features.

What that means for you

Compared to the previous version, Googlebot now supports 1000+ new features, like:


You should check if you’re transpiling or use polyfills specifically for Googlebot and if so, evaluate if this is still necessary. There are still some limitations, so check our troubleshooter for JavaScript-related issues and the video series on JavaScript SEO.

Any thoughts on this? Talk to us on Twitter, the webmaster forums, or join us for the online office hours.

Google I/O 2019 – What sessions should SEOs and webmasters watch?

Google I/O 2019 is starting tomorrow and will run for 3 days, until Thursday. Google I/O is our yearly developers festival, where product announcements are made, new APIs and frameworks are introduced, and Product Managers present the latest from Google to an audience of 7,000+ developers who fly to California.

However, you don't have to physically attend the event to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity: many conferences and talks are live streamed on YouTube for anyone to watch. Browse the full schedule of events, including a list of talks that we think will be interesting for webmasters to watch (all talks are in English). All the links shared below will bring you to pages with more details about each talk, and links to watch the sessions will display on the day of each event. All times are Pacific Central time (California time).



This list is only a small part of the agenda that we think is useful to webmasters and SEOs. There are many more sessions that you could find interesting! To learn about those other talks, check out the full list of “web” sessions, design sessions, Cloud sessions, machine learning sessions, and more. Use the filtering function to toggle the sessions on and off.

We hope you can make the time to watch the talks online, and participate in the excitement of I/O ! The videos will also be available on Youtube after the event, in case you can't tune in live.

Posted by Vincent Courson, Search Outreach Specialist

Monitoring structured data with Search Console

In our previous post in the structured data series, we discussed what structured data is and why you should add it to your site. We are committed to structured data and continue to enhance related Search features and improve our tools - that’s why we have been creating solutions to help webmasters and developers implement and diagnose structured data.

This post focuses on what you can do with Search Console to monitor and make the most out of structured data for your site. In addition, we have some new features that will help you even more. Below are the new additions, read on to learn more about them.
  1. Unparsable structured data is a new report that aggregates structured data syntax errors.
  2. New enhancement reports for Sitelinks searchbox and Logo.

Monitoring overall structured data performance

Every time Search Console detects a new issue related to structured data on a website, we send an email to account owners - but if an existing issue gets worse, it won’t trigger an email, so it is still important for you to check your account sporadically.

This is not something you need to do every day, but we recommend you check it once in a while to make sure everything is working as intended. If your website development has defined cycles, it might be a good practice to log in to Search Console after changes are made to the website to monitor your performance.

If you’d like to have an overall idea of all the errors for a specific structured data feature in your site, you can navigate to the Enhancements menu in the left sidebar and click  a feature. You'll find a summary of all errors and warnings, as well as the valid items.

As mentioned above, we added a new set of reports to help you understand more types of structured data on your site: Sitelinks searchbox and Logo. They are joining the existing set of reports on Recipe, Event, Job Posting and others. You can read more about the reports in the Search Console Help Center.

Here's an example of an Enhancement report, note that you can only see enhancements that have been detected in your pages. The report helps you with the following actions:
  • Review the trends of errors, warnings and valid items: To view each status issue separately, click the colored boxes above the bar chart.
  • Review warnings and errors per page: To see examples of pages which are currently affected by the issues, click a specific row below the bar chart.
Image: Enhancements report
We are also happy to launch the Unparsable Structured Data report, which aggregates parsing issues such as structured data syntax errors that prevented Google from identifying the feature type. That is the reason these issues are aggregated here instead of the intended specific feature report.

Check this report to see if Google was unable to parse any of the structured data you tried to add to your site. Parsing issues could point you to lost opportunities for rich results for your site. Below is a screenshot showing how the report looks like. You can access the report directly and read more about the report in our help center.
Image: Unparsable Structured Data report

Testing structured data on a URL level

To make sure your pages were processed correctly and are eligible for rich results or as a way to diagnose why some rich result are not surfacing for a specific URL, you can use the URL Inspection tool. This tool helps you understand areas of improvement at a URL level and helps you get an idea on where to focus.

When you paste a URL into the search box at the top of Search Console, you can find what’s working properly and warnings or errors related to your structured data in the enhancements section, as seen below for Recipes.
Image: URL Inspection tool
In the screenshot above, there is an error related to Recipes. If you click Recipes, information about the error displays, and you can click the little chart icon to the right of the error to learn more about it.

Once you understand and fix the error, you can click Validate Fix (see screenshot below) so Google can start validating whether the issue is indeed fixed. When you click the Validate Fix button, Google runs several instantaneous tests. If your pages don’t pass this test, Search Console provides you with an immediate notification. Otherwise, Search Console reprocesses the rest of the affected pages.
Image: Structured data error detail
We would love to hear your feedback on how Search Console has helped you and how it can help you even more with structured data. Send us feedback through Twitter or the Webmaster forum.

Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate & Na'ama Zohary, Search Console team 

Enriching Search Results Through Structured Data

For many years we have been recommending the use of structured data on websites to enable a richer search experience. When you add markup to your content, you help search engines understand the different components of a page. When Google's systems understand your page more clearly, Google Search can surface content through the cool features discussed in this post, which can enhance the user experience and get you more traffic.

We've worked hard to provide you with tools to understand how your websites are shown in Google Search results and whether there are issues you can fix. To help give a complete overview of structured data, we decided to do a series to explore it. This post provides a quick intro and discusses some best practices, future posts will focus on how to use Search Console to succeed with structured data.

What is structured data?

Structured data is a common way of providing information about a page and its content - we recommend using the schema.org vocabulary for doing so. Google supports three different formats of in-page markup: JSON-LD (recommended), Microdata, and RDFa. Different search features require different kinds of structured data - you can learn more about these in our search gallery. Our developer documentation has more details on the basics of structured data.

Structured data helps Google's systems understand your content more accurately, which means it’s better for users as they will get more relevant results. If you implement structured data your pages may become eligible to be shown with an enhanced appearance in Google search results.

Disclaimer: Google does not guarantee that your structured data will show up in search results, even if your page is marked up correctly. Using structured data enables a feature to be present, it does not guarantee that it will be present. Learn more about structured data guidelines.

Sites that use structured data see results

Over the years, we've seen a growing adoption of structured data in the ecosystem. In general, rich results help users to better understand how your pages are relevant to their searches, so they translate into success for websites. Here are some results that are showcased in our case studies gallery:
  • Eventbrite leveraged event structured data and saw 100% increase in the typical YOY growth of traffic from search.
  • Jobrapido integrated with the job experience on Google Search and saw 115% increase in organic traffic, 270% increase of new user registrations from organic traffic, and 15% lower bounce rate for Google visitors to job pages.
  • Rakuten used the recipe search experience and saw a 2.7X increase in traffic from search engines and a 1.5X increase in session duration.

How to use structured data?

There are a few ways your site could benefit from structured data. Below we discuss some examples grouped by different types of goals: increase brand awareness, highlight content, and highlight product information.

1. Increase brand awareness

One thing you can do to promote your brand with structured data is to take advantage of features such as Logo, Local business, and Sitelinks searchbox. In addition to adding structured data, you should verify your site for the Knowledge Panel and claim your business on Google My Business. Here is an example of the knowledge panel with a Logo.


2. Highlight content

If you publish content on the web, there are a number of features that can help promote your content and attract more users, depending on your industry. For example: Article, Breadcrumb, Event, Job, Q&A, Recipe, Review and others. Here is an example of a recipe rich result.



3. Highlight product information

If you sell merchandise, you could add product structured data to your page, including price, availability, and review ratings. Here is how your product might show for a relevant search.


Try it and let us know

Now that you understand the importance of structured data, try our codelab to learn how to add it to your pages. Stay tuned to learn more about structured data, in the coming posts we’ll be discussing how to use Search Console to better analyze your efforts.

We would love to hear your thoughts and stories on how structured data works for you, send us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.

Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate