Webmaster level: all
Some smartphone-optimized websites are misconfigured in that they don't show searchers the information they were seeking. For example, smartphone users are shown an error page or get redirected to an irrelevant page, but desktop users are shown the content they wanted. Some of these problems, detected by Googlebot as crawl errors, significantly hurt your website's user experience and are the basis of some of our recently-announced ranking changes for smartphone search results.
Starting today, you can use the expanded Crawl Errors feature in Webmaster Tools to help identify pages on your sites that show these types of problems. We're introducing a new Smartphone errors tab where we share pages we've identified with errors only found with Googlebot for smartphones.
Some of the errors we share include:
Server errors: A server error is when Googlebot got an HTTP error status code when it crawled the page.
Not found errors and soft 404s: A page can show a "not found" message to Googlebot, either by returning an HTTP 404 status code or when the page is detected as a soft error page.
Faulty redirects: A faulty redirect is a smartphone-specific error that occurs when a desktop page redirects smartphone users to a page that is not relevant to their query. A typical example is when all pages on the desktop site redirect smartphone users to the homepage of the smartphone-optimized site.
Blocked URLs: A blocked URL is when the site's robots.txt explicitly disallows crawling by Googlebot for smartphones. Typically, such smartphone-specific robots.txt disallow directives are erroneous. You should investigate your server configuration if you see blocked URLs reported in Webmaster Tools.
Fixing any issues shown in Webmaster Tools can make your site better for users and help our algorithms better index your content. You can learn more about how to build smartphone websites and how to fix common errors. As always, please ask in our forums if you have any questions.
Posted by Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst
Searchers on smartphones experience many speed bumps that can slow them down. For example, any time they need to change context from a web page to an app, or vice versa, users are likely to encounter redirects, pop-up dialogs, and extra swipes and taps. Wouldn't it be cool if you could give your users the choice of viewing your content either on the website or via your app, both straight from Google's search results?
Today, we’re happy to announce a new capability of Google Search, called app indexing, that uses the expertise of webmasters to help create a seamless user experience across websites and mobile apps.
Just like it crawls and indexes websites, Googlebot can now index content in your Android app. Webmasters will be able to indicate which app content you'd like Google to index in the same way you do for webpages today — through your existing Sitemap file and through Webmaster Tools. If both the webpage and the app contents are successfully indexed, Google will then try to show deep links to your app straight in our search results when we think they’re relevant for the user’s query and if the user has the app installed. When users tap on these deep links, your app will launch and take them directly to the content they need. Here’s an example of a search for home listings in Mountain View:
We’re currently testing app indexing with an initial group of developers. Deep links for these applications will start to appear in Google search results for signed-in users on Android in the US in a few weeks. If you are interested in enabling indexing for your Android app, it’s easy to get started:
- Let us know that you’re interested. We’re working hard to bring this functionality to more websites and apps in the near future.
- Enable deep linking within your app.
- Provide information about alternate app URIs, either in the Sitemaps file or in a link element in pages of your site.
Posted by Lawrence Chang, Product Manager
- Using Webmaster Central as mock company
- Building an SEO strategy
- Understand searcher persona workflow
- Determine company and website goals
- Audit your site to best reach your audience
- Execute and make improvements
We know that as a site owner, discovering your site is hacked with spam or malware is stressful, and trying to clean it up under a time constraint can be very challenging. We’ve been working to make recovery even easier and streamline the cleaning process — we notify webmasters when the software they’re running on their site is out of date, and we’ve set up a dedicated help portal for hacked sites with detailed articles explaining each step of the process to recovery, including videos.
Today, we’re happy to introduce a new feature in Webmaster Tools called Security Issues.
As a verified site owner, you’ll be able to:
- Find more information about the security issues on your site, in one place.
- Pinpoint the problem faster with detailed code snippets.
- Request review for all issues in one go through the new simpified process.
Find more information about the security issues on your site, in one place
Now, when we’ve detected your site may have been hacked with spam or with malware, we’ll show you everything in the same place for easy reference. Information that was previously available in the Malware section of Webmaster Tools, as well as new information about spam inserted by hackers, is now available in Security Issues. On the Security Issues main page, you’ll see the type of hacking, sample URLs if available, and the date when we last detected the issue.
Pinpoint the problem faster with detailed code snippets
Request review for all issues in one go
We’ve also simplified requesting a review. Once you’ve cleaned your site and closed the security holes, you can request a review for all issues with one click of a button straight from the Security Issues page.
If you need more help, our updated and expanded help for hacked sites portal is now available in 22 languages. Let us know what you think in the comments here or at the Webmaster Help Forum.
Posted by Meenali Rungta, Webspam Team and Hadas Fester, Webmaster Tools Team
- Potential search issues with international sites
- Questions to ask within your company before beginning international expansion
- International site use cases
- rel=”alternate” hreflang and hreflang=”x-default”: details and implementation
- Best practices
- Webmaster Help Center article on rel=”alternate” hreflang and hreflang=”x-default”
- More blog posts
- Working with multilingual sites
- Working with multiregional sites
- New markup for multilingual content
- Introducing "x-default hreflang” for international landing pages"
- Webmaster discussion forum FAQ on internationalization
- Webmaster discussion forum for internationalization (review answers or post your own question!)
In recent years, our free Webmaster Tools product has provided roughly 100,000 backlinks when you click the "Download more sample links" button. Until now, we've selected those links primarily by lexicographical order. That meant that for some sites, you didn't get as complete of a picture of the site's backlinks because the link data skewed toward the beginning of the alphabet.
Based on feedback from the webmaster community, we're improving how we select these backlinks to give sites a fuller picture of their backlink profile. The most significant improvement you'll see is that most of the links are now sampled uniformly from the full spectrum of backlinks rather than alphabetically. You're also more likely to get example links from different top-level domains (TLDs) as well as from different domain names. The new links you see will still be sorted alphabetically.
Starting soon, when you download your data, you'll notice a much broader, more diverse cross-section of links. Site owners looking for insights into who recommends their content will now have a better overview of those links, and those working on cleaning up any bad linking practices will find it easier to see where to spend their time and effort.
Thanks for the feedback, and we'll keep working to provide helpful data and resources in Webmaster Tools. As always, please ask in our forums if you have any questions.
Posted by Yinnon Haviv, Software Engineer, Webmaster Tools Team
If Google understands your website’s content in a structured way, we can present that content more accurately and more attractively to Google users. For example, our algorithms can enhance your search results with “rich snippets” when we understand that your page is a structured product listing, event, recipe, review, or similar. We can also feature your data in Knowledge Graph panels or in Google Now cards, helping to spread the word about your content.
Today we’re excited to announce two features that make it simpler than ever before to participate in structured data features. The first is an expansion of Data Highlighter to seven new types of structured data. The second is a brand new tool, the Structured Data Markup Helper.
Support for Products, Businesses, Reviews and more in Data HighlighterData Highlighter launched in December 2012 as a point-and-click tool for teaching Google the pattern of structured data about events on your website — without even having to edit your site’s HTML. Now, you can also use Data Highlighter to teach us about many other kinds of structured data on your site: products, local businesses, articles, software applications, movies, restaurants, and TV episodes. Update: You can see the full list of schemas supported in Data Highlighter here.
To get started, visit Webmaster Tools, select your site, click the "Optimization" link in the left sidebar, and click "Data Highlighter". You’ll be prompted to enter the URL of a typically structured page on your site (for example, a product or event’s detail page) and “tag” its key fields with your mouse.
The tagging process takes about 5 minutes for a single page, or about 15 minutes for a pattern of consistently formatted pages. At the end of the process, you’ll have the chance to verify Google’s understanding of your structured data and, if it’s correct, “publish” it to Google. Then, as your site is recrawled over time, your site will become eligible for enhanced displays of information like prices, reviews, and ratings right in the Google search results.
New Structured Data Markup Helper toolWhile Data Highlighter is a great way to quickly teach Google about your site’s structured data without having to edit your HTML, it’s ultimately preferable to embed structured data markup directly into your web pages, so your structured content is available to everyone. To assist web authors with that task, we’re happy to announce a new tool: the Structured Data Markup Helper.
Like in Data Highlighter, you start by submitting a web page (URL or HTML source) and using your mouse to “tag” the key properties of the relevant data type. When you’re done, the Structured Data Markup Helper generates sample HTML code with microdata markup included. This code can be downloaded and used as a guide as you implement structured data on your website.
The Structured Data Markup Helper supports a subset of data types, including all the types supported by Data Highlighter as well as several types used for embedding structured data in Gmail. Consult schema.org for complete schema documentation.
We hope these two tools make it easier for all websites to participate in Google’s growing suite of structured data features! As always, please post in our forums if you have any questions or feedback.
Posted by Justin Boyan, Product Manager
Using authorship helps searchers discover great information by highlighting content from authors who they might find interesting. If you’re an author, signing up for authorship will help users recognize content that you’ve written. Additionally, searchers can click the byline to see more articles you’ve authored or to follow you on Google+. It’s that simple! Well, except for several advanced questions that we’d like to help answer...
Authorship featured in search results from one of my favorite authors, John Mueller
Clicking the author’s byline in search results can reveal more articles and a Google+ profile
Recent authorship questions
1. What kind of pages can be used with authorship? Good question! You can increase the likelihood that we show authorship for your site by only using authorship markup on pages that meet these criteria:
- The URL/page contains a single article (or subsequent versions of the article) or single piece of content, by the same author. This means that the page isn’t a list of articles or an updating feed. If the author frequently switches on the page, then the annotation is no longer helpful to searchers and is less likely to be featured.
- The URL/page consists primarily of content written by the author.
- Showing a clear byline on the page, stating the author wrote the article and using the same name as used on their Google+ profile.
You’re free to write articles in the manner you prefer -- your users may really like the Pied Piper idea. However, for authorship annotation in search results, Google prefers to feature a human who wrote the content. By doing so, authorship annotation better indicates that a search result is the perspective of a person, and this helps add credibility for searchers.
Again, because currently we want to feature people, link authorship markup to an individual’s profile rather than linking to a company’s Google+ Page.3. If I use authorship on articles available in different languages, such as
example.com/en/article1.html for English and
example.com/fr/article1.html for the French translation,
should I link to two separate author/Google+ profiles written in each language?
In your scenario, both articles:
should link to the same Google+ profile in the author’s language of choice.4. Is it possible to add two authors for one article?
In the current search user interface, we only support one author per article, blog post, etc. We’re still experimenting to find the optimal outcome for searchers when more than one author is specified.5. How can I prevent Google from showing authorship? The fastest way to prevent authorship annotation is to make the author’s Google+ profile not discoverable in search results. Otherwise, if you still want to keep your profile in search results, then you can remove any profile or contributor links to the website, or remove the markup so that it no longer connects with your profile.6. What’s the difference between rel=author vs rel=publisher? rel=publisher helps a business create a shared identity by linking the business’ website (often from the homepage) to the business’ Google+ Page. rel=author helps individuals (authors!) associate their individual articles from a URL or website to their Google+ profile. While rel=author and rel=publisher are both link relationships, they’re actually completely independent of one another.7. Can I use authorship on my site’s property listings or product pages since one of my employees has customized the description?
Authorship annotation is useful to searchers because it signals that a page conveys a real person’s perspective or analysis on a topic. Since property listings and product pages are less perspective/analysis oriented, we discourage using authorship in these cases. However, an article about products that provides helpful commentary, such as, “Camera X vs. Camera Y: Faceoff in the Arizona Desert” could have authorship.If you have additional questions, don’t forget to check out (and even post your question if you don’t see it covered :) in the Webmaster Forum.
Written by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead