Author Archives: Google Webmaster Central

Frequently asked questions about JavaScript and links

We get lots of questions every day - in our Webmaster office hours, at conferences, in the webmaster forum and on Twitter. One of the more frequent themes among these questions are links and especially those generated through JavaScript.

In our Webmaster Conference Lightning Talks video series, we recently addressed the most frequently asked questions on Links and JavaScript:

Note: This video has subtitles in many languages available, too.

During the live premiere, we also had a Q&A session with a few additional questions from the community and decided to publish those questions and our answers along with some other frequently asked questions around the topic of links and JavaScript.

What kinds of links can Googlebot discover?

Googlebot parses the HTML of a page, looking for links to discover the URLs of related pages to crawl. To discover these pages, you need to make your links actual HTML links, as described in the webmaster guidelines on links.

What kind of URLs are okay for Googlebot?

Googlebot extracts the URLs from the href attribute of your links and then enqueues them for crawling. This means that the URL needs to be resolvable or simply put: The URL should work when put into the address bar of a browser. See the webmaster guidelines on links for more information.

Is it okay to use JavaScript to create and inject links?

As long as these links fulfill the criteria as per our webmaster guidelines and outlined above, yes.

When Googlebot renders a page, it executes JavaScript and then discovers the links generated from JavaScript, too. It's worth mentioning that link discovery can happen twice: Before and after JavaScript executed, so having your links in the initial server response allows Googlebot to discover your links a bit faster.

Does Googlebot understand fragment URLs?

Fragment URLs, also known as "hash URLs", are technically fine, but might not work the way you expect with Googlebot.

Fragments are supposed to be used to address a piece of content within the page and when used for this purpose, fragments are absolutely fine.

Sometimes developers decide to use fragments with JavaScript to load different content than what is on the page without the fragment. That is not what fragments are meant for and won't work with Googlebot. See the JavaScript SEO guide on how the History API can be used instead.

Does Googlebot still use the AJAX crawling scheme?

The AJAX crawling scheme has long been deprecated. Do not rely on it for your pages.

The recommendation for this is to use the History API and migrate your web apps to URLs that do not rely on fragments to load different content.

Stay tuned for more Webmaster Conference Lightning Talks

This post was inspired by the first installment of the Webmaster Conference Lightning Talks, but make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos to come! We definitely recommend joining the premieres on YouTube to participate in the live chat and Q&A session for each episode!

If you are interested to see more Webmaster Conference Lightning Talks, check out the video Google Monetized Policies and subscribe to our channel to stay tuned for the next one!

Join the webmaster community in the upcoming video premieres and in the YouTube comments!

Google Translate’s Website Translator – available for non-commercial use

In this time of a global pandemic, webmasters across the world—from government officials to health organizations—are frequently updating their websites with the latest information meant to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and provide access to resources. However, they often lack the time or funding to translate this content into multiple languages, which can prevent valuable information from reaching a diverse set of readers. Additionally, some content may only be available via a file, e.g. a .pdf or .doc, which requires additional steps to translate.

To help these webmasters reach more users, we’re reopening access to the Google Translate Website Translator—a widget that translates web page content into 100+ different languages. It uses our latest machine translation technology, is easy to integrate, and is free of charge. To start using the Website Translator widget, sign up here.

Please note that usage will be restricted to government, non-profit, and/or non-commercial websites (e.g. academic institutions) that focus on COVID-19 response. For all other websites, we recommend using the Google Cloud Translation API.

Google Translate also offers both webmasters and their readers a way to translate documents hosted on a website. For example, if you need to translate this PDF file into Spanish, go to and enter the file’s URL into the left-hand textbox , then choose “Spanish” as the target language on the right. The link shown in the right-hand textbox will take you to the translated version of the PDF file. The following file formats are supported: .doc, .docx, .odf, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .ps, .rtf, .txt, .xls, or .xlsx.

Finally, it’s very important to note that while we continuously look for ways to improve the quality of our translations, they may not be perfect - so please use your best judgement when reading any content translated via Google Translate.

New reports for Guided Recipes on Assistant in Search Console

Over the past two years, Google Assistant has helped users around the world cook yummy recipes and discover new favorites. During this time, web site owners have had to wait for Google to reprocess their web pages before they could see their updates on the Assistant. Along the way, we’ve heard many of you say you want an easier and faster way to know how the Assistant will guide users through a recipe.

We are happy to announce support for Guided Recipes in Search Console as well as in the Rich Results Test tool. This will allow you to instantly validate the markup for individual recipes, as well as discover any issues with all of the recipes on your site.

Guided Recipes Enhancement report

In Search Console, you can now view a Rich Result Status Report with the errors, warnings, and fully valid pages found among your site’s recipes. It also includes a check box to show trends on search impressions, which can help in understanding the impact of your rich results appearances.

In addition, if you find an issue and fix it, you can use the report to notify Google that your page has changed and should be recrawled.

Image: Guided Recipes Enhancement report

Guided Recipes in Rich Results Test

Add Guided Recipe structured data to a page and submit its URL – or just test a code snippet within the Rich Results Test tool. The test results show any errors or suggestions for your structured data as can be seen in the screenshot below.

Image: Guided Recipes in Rich Results Test

You can also use the Preview tool in the Rich Results Test to see how Assistant guidance for your recipe can appear on a smart display. You can find any issues with your markup before publishing it.

Image: Guide Recipes preview in the Rich Results Test

Let us know if you have any comments, questions or feedback either through the Webmasters help community or Twitter.

Posted by Earl J. Wagner, Software Engineer and Moshe Samet, Search Console Product Manager

Reintroducing a community for Polish & Turkish Site Owners

Google Webmaster Help forums are a great place for website owners to help each other, engage in friendly discussion, and get input from awesome Product Experts. We currently have forums operating in 12 languages.

We’re happy to announce the re-opening of the Polish and Turkish webmaster communities with support from a global team of Community Specialists dedicated to helping support Product Experts. If you speak Turkish or Polish, we'd love to have you drop by the new forums yourself, perhaps there's a question or a challenge you can help with as well!

Current Webmaster Product Experts are welcome to join & keep their status in the new communities as well. If you have previously contributed and would like to start contributing again, you can start posting again, and feel free to ask others in the community if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Przywracamy społeczność dla właścicieli witryn z Polski i Turcji

Fora pomocy dotyczące usług Google dla webmasterów są miejscem, w którym właściciele witryn mogą pomagać sobie nawzajem, dołączać do dyskusji i poznawać wskazówki Ekspertów Produktowych. Obecnie nasze fora działają w 12 językach.

Cieszymy się, że dzięki pomocy globalnego zespołu Specjalistów Społeczności, którzy z oddaniem wspierają Ekspertów Produktowych, możemy przywrócić społeczności webmasterów w językach polskimtureckim. Jeśli posługujesz się którymś z tych języków, zajrzyj na nasze nowe fora. Może znajdziesz tam problem, który potrafisz rozwiązać?

Zapraszamy obecnych Ekspertów Produktowych usług Google dla webmasterów do dołączenia do nowych społeczności z zachowaniem dotychczasowego statusu. Jeśli chcesz, możesz wrócić do publikowania. W razie pytań zwróć się do innych członków społeczności.

Do zobaczenia!

New reports for Special Announcements in Search Console

Last month we introduced a new way for sites to highlight COVID-19 announcements on Google Search. At first, we’re using this information to highlight announcements in Google Search from health and government agency sites, to cover important updates like school closures or stay-at-home directives.

Today we are announcing support for SpecialAnnouncement in Google Search Console, including new reports to help you find any issues with your implementation and monitor how this rich result type is performing. In addition we now also support the markup on the Rich Results Test to review your existing URLs or debug your markup code before moving it to production.

Special Announcements Enhancement report

A new report is now available in Search Console for sites that have implemented SpecialAnnouncement structured data. The report allows you to see errors, warnings, and valid pages for markup implemented on your site.

In addition, if you fix an issue, you can use the report to validate it, which will trigger a process where Google recrawls your affected pages. Learn more about the Rich result status reports.

Image: Special Announcements Enhancement report

Special Announcements appearance in Performance report

The Search Console Performance report now also allows you to see the performance of your SpecialAnnouncement marked-up pages on Google Search. This means that you can check the impressions, clicks and CTR results of your special announcement pages and check their performance to understand how they are trending for any of the dimensions available. Learn more about the Search appearance tab in the performance report.

Image: Special Announcements appearance in Performance report

Special Announcements in Rich Results Test

After adding SpecialAnnouncement structured data to your pages, you can test them using the Rich Results Test tool. If you haven’t published the markup on your site yet, you can also upload a piece of code to check the markup. The test shows any errors or suggestions for your structured data.

Image: Special Announcements in Rich Results Test
These new tools should make it easier to understand how your marked-up SpecialAnnouncement pages perform on Search and to identify and fix issues.

If you have any questions, check out the Google Webmasters community.

Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate & Moshe Samet, Search Console PM.

Showcasing the value of SEO

Each year we attend dozens of events and reach thousands of people with our keynotes, talks, and Q&As. We go to conferences and meetups, because we believe that our talks can potentially help online businesses flourish and we get to help people with their search related problems, but sometimes also listen to their success stories. It's really uplifting when we hear that, by following our advice, they achieved something great!

We want people to hear about these success stories, so we're starting a new blog post series that features case studies. They may, for example, help with convincing a boss' boss that investing in SEO or implementing structured data can be good for the business.
In this first blog post we're going to start with the overall basics of investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and how investing in it helped a company.

We hope you'll find this blog post useful. If you're interested in contributing a case study, submit a talk proposal when signing up for a Webmaster Conference near you and we will consider featuring it. For more case studies and help content, head over to our developer site, help center, or YouTube channel. If you wanna get in touch with us, find us on Twitter.

Posted by Alice Kim and The Gary

Moon Tae Sung is a SEO Manager at Saramin, one of the largest job platforms in Korea. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the effects of his team's work on Google Search after a presentation he did at a Webmaster Conference in Seoul.

Saramin offers job posting recommendations, company and salary information, AI-based interviews, and AI-based headhunting services. According to Tae Sung, "people come to the Saramin site not only to look for jobs and submit applications, but to also gain a variety of information related to job searches and receive high-quality AI-based services for interview preparation."

Saramin's SEO process started with Google Search Console. In 2015 they verified the site in the tool and spent a year identifying and fixing crawling issues. "The task was simple, but still resulted in a 15% increase in the organic traffic", Tae Sung said. The ROI prompted Saramin to invest more in SEO with the aim of even greater potential success. But first they needed to learn more about what else makes a site search engine friendly so they can better look for help resources. "We studied the Google Search developer’s guide and Help Center articles. These resources continue to provide up-to-date information for issues that we run into", he told us.

SEO is a process that may take time to bear fruit, so they "started following the SEO guidelines more closely and implemented more changes. The goal was to make changes to the site so that Google Search would better understand it", Tae Sung shared. They removed meta tags that were cluttered with unnecessary and unhelpful keywords, they used rel-canonical and removed duplicate content, and they explored the search gallery and applied applicable structured data, starting with Job Posting, Breadcrumb, and Estimated salary

In addition, they used various Google tools offered as they worked on improving their site. "Errors on our structured data are dealt with by checking URLs on the Structured Data Testing Tool. Other tools like Mobile Friendly Test, AMP Test, and PageSpeed Insight provide us valuable insights for making improvements and helping us offer a better experience for our users," said Tae Sung.

Over time, Saramin saw the red-colored errors on Search Console’s Index Coverage report gradually turning valid green, and they knew they were headed in the right direction. The incremental changes reached a tipping point and the traffic continued to rise at a more remarkable speed. In the peak hiring season of September 2019, traffic doubled compared to the previous year.

"We are very happy about the traffic increase, but what’s more exciting is it also accompanied improvement in the quality of the traffic. We saw a 93% increase in the number of new sign ups and a 9% increase on the conversion. We believe this means Saramin’s optimization work was found delightful by our users," said Tae Sung.

Saramin continues to invest in achieving their SEO goals. They're trying to enhance their users’ experience by implementing more technologies and features from Google, and Tae Sung is enthusiastic about their work ahead: "This is only the beginning of our story."

Looking back at last year’s Webmaster Conference Product Summit

As a part of the Webmaster Conference series, last fall we held a Product Summit at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. It was slightly different from our previous events, with a number of product managers and engineers from Google Search taking part. We recorded the talks held there, and are happy to be able to make these available to all of you now.

In the playlist you'll find:

  • Web deduplication - How does Google recognize duplicate content across the web? What happens once a duplicate is found? How is a canonical URL selected? How does localization play a role?
  • Google Images best practices - Take a look at how Google Images has evolved over the years, and learn about some of the best practices that you can implement on your site when it comes to images.
  • Rendering - Find out more about rendering, and what it takes to do rendering of the web at scale. Take a look behind the scenes, and learn about some things a site owner could watch out for with regards to rendering.
  • Titles, snippets, and result previews - What's the goal of titles, snippets, and previews in Search? How do Google's systems pick and generate a preview for a page? What are some of the elements that help users decide which page to click in Search?
  • Googlebot & web hosting - Starting with a look at the popularity of different web servers, and the growth of HTTPS, you'll find out more about how Google's crawling for Search works, and what you can do to control it.
  • Claim your Knowledge Panel - Knowledge Panels are a great way for people and organizations to be visible in Search. Find out more about the ways you can claim and update them for yourself or for your business.
  • Improving Search over the years - Are dogs the same as cats? Should pages about New York be shown when searching for York? How could algorithms ever figure this out? How many 😊's does it take to get Google's attention? Google's Paul Haahr takes you on a tour of some changes in Search.

We hope you find these videos insightful, useful, and a bit entertaining! And if you are not subscribed to the Webmasters Youtube channel, here’s your chance!

Introducing a new way for sites to highlight COVID-19 announcements on Google Search

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations and groups are publishing important coronavirus-related announcements that affect our everyday lives.

In response, we're introducing a new way for these special announcements to be highlighted on Google Search. Sites can add SpecialAnnouncement structured data to their web pages or submit a COVID-19 announcement in Search Console.

At first, we’re using this information to highlight announcements in Google Search from health and government agency sites, to cover important updates like school closures or stay-at-home directives.
We are actively developing this feature, and we hope to expand it to include more sites. While we might not immediately show announcements from other types of sites, seeing the markup will help us better understand how to expand this feature.

Please note: beyond special announcements, there are a range of other options that sites can use to highlight information such as canceled events or changes to business hours. You can learn more about these at the end of this post.

How COVID-19 announcements appear in Search 

When SpecialAnnouncement structured data is added to a page, that content can be eligible to appear with a COVID-19 announcement rich result, in addition to the page’s regular snippet description. A COVID-19 announcement rich result can contain a short summary that can be expanded to view more more. Please note that the format may change over time, and you may not see results in Google Search right away.

How to implement your COVID-19 announcements

There are two ways that you can implement your COVID-19 announcements.

RECOMMENDED: Add structured data to your web page

Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. We recommend using this method because it is the easiest way for us to take in this information, it enables reporting through Search Console in the future, and enables you to make updates. Learn how to add structured data to COVID-19 announcements.

ALTERNATIVE: Submit announcements in Search Console

If you don't have the technical ability or support to implement structured data, you can submit a COVID-19 announcement in Search Console. This tool is still in beta testing, and you may see changes.

This method is not preferred and is intended only as a short-term solution. With structured data, your announcement highlights can automatically update when your pages change. With the tool, you’ll have to manually update announcements. Also, announcements made this way cannot be monitored through special reporting that will be made available through Search Console in the future.

If you do need to submit this way, you'll need to first be verified in Search Console. Then you can submit a COVID-19 announcement:

More COVID-19 resources for sites from Google Search

Beyond special announcements markup, there are other ways you can highlight other types of activities that may be impacted because of COVID-19:

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know on Twitter.

Helping health organizations make COVID-19 information more accessible

Health organizations are busier than ever providing information to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. To better assist them, Google has created a best practices article to guide health organizations to make COVID-19 information more accessible on Search. We’ve also created a new technical support group for eligible health organizations.

Best practices for search visibility

By default, Google tries to show the most relevant, authoritative information in response to any search. This process is more effective when content owners help Google understand their content in appropriate ways.

To better guide health-related organizations in this process (known as SEO, for "search engine optimization"), we have produced a new help center article with some important best practices, with emphasis on health information sites, including:
  • How to help users access your content on the go
  • The importance of good page content and titles
  • Ways to check how your site appears for coronavirus-related queries
  • How to analyze the top coronavirus related user queries
  • How to add structured data for FAQ content

New support group for health organizations

In addition to our best practices help page, health organizations can take part in our new technical support group that's focused on helping health organizations who publish COVID-19 information with Search related questions.

We’ll be approving requests for access on a case-by-case basis. At first we’ll be accepting only domains under national health ministries and US state level agencies. We'll inform of future expansions here in this blog post, and on our Twitter account. You’ll need to register using either an email under those domains (e.g. [email protected]) or have access to the website Search Console account.

Fill this form to request access to the COVID-19 Google Search group 

The group was created to respond to the current needs of health organizations, and we intend to deprecate the group as soon as COVID-19 is no longer considered a Public Health Emergency by WHO or some similar deescalation is widely in place.

Everyone is welcome to use our existing webmaster help forum, and if you have any questions or comments, please let us know on Twitter.

Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate & Ofir Roval, Search Console Lead PM