Knowledge

5 hot topics from the Google Webmaster Conference Product Summit

3-MINUTE READ - 6th November 2019

Marc Swann
Marc SwannSearch Director

On 4 November 2019, the first ever Google Webmaster Conference Product Summit (GWCPS) was held at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. The event was designed to “facilitate an open dialog between the webmaster and SEO community and Search product teams”.

We’ve gone through the #GWCPS tweets to bring you what we consider to be the biggest takeaways from the event.

1. Deduplication


Having duplicate or near-duplicate content on your site creates internal competition, making it harder for Google to identify the most relevant result. And that affects your rankings. Deduplication means taking steps to ensure only unique pages are indexed.

TIP: Consolidate duplicate pages and implement 301 redirects wherever possible. Signals such as canonical, noindex and hreflang tags can also be used to help Google identify your preferred page.

2. Robots.txt

26% of robots.txt are unreachable. And when Googlebot can’t reach your robots.txt, it won’t crawl your whole site.

TIP: Make sure your robots.txt delivers a 200 or 404 code β€” 5xx codes are ok temporarily, but indicate you have a webserver issue that needs to be addressed.

3. HTTPS

At the moment, HTTPS URLs receive approximately 75% of traffic, indicating that Google’s efforts to promote and reward secure protocols are working. But it wants the number to be even higher.

TIP: Β If you haven’t switched to HTTPS, do it. As soon as possible. Check out Google’s guidance here.

4. URL history

At the event, Google confirmed that site/page history can affect rankings. This suggests that improving your content is unlikely to deliver instantaneous results, so you’ll need to give changes time to work.

TIP: When replacing poor-quality content, consider publishing on a new URL and redirecting the old one. And do your homework before purchasing a domain.

5. Image optimisation

Images can help you secure valuable exposure through Google Images and rich results. So, it’s well worth investing time into optimising them.

TIP: Incorporate well-optimised, high-quality images into your content wherever suitable, keeping the file size as small as possible for speed’s sake. Take a look at Google’s image optimisation guide.

Don’t forget that you can keep up with the biggest digital marketing updates by following us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.