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Showing posts from September, 2012

Does 404 / 410 Errors Affect Website Ranking in Google

So there you are, minding your own business, using Webmaster Tools to check out how awesome your site is... but, wait! The  Crawl errors  page is full of  404 (Not found)  errors !  Is disaster imminent?? Fear not, my young padawan. Let’s take a look at 404s and how they do (or do not) affect your site: Q: Do the 404 errors reported in Webmaster Tools affect my site’s ranking? A:  404s are a perfectly normal part of the web; the Internet is always changing, new content is born, old content dies, and when it dies it (ideally) returns a 404 HTTP response code. Search engines are aware of this; we have 404 errors on our own sites, as you can see above, and we find them all over the web. In fact, we actually  prefer  that, when you get rid of a page on your site, you make sure that it returns a proper 404 or 410 response code (rather than a “soft 404”). Keep in mind that in order for our crawler to see the HTTP response code of a URL, it has to be able to crawl that URL—if the URL is blo

Structured Data Dashboard in Google Webmaster Tools

Structured data is becoming an increasingly important part of the web ecosystem. Google makes use of structured data in a number of ways including  rich snippets  which allow websites to highlight specific types of content in search results. Websites participate by marking up their content using industry-standard formats and schemas. To provide webmasters with greater visibility into the structured data that Google knows about for their website, we’re introducing today a new feature in Webmaster Tools - the Structured Data Dashboard. The Structured Data Dashboard has three views: site, item type and page-level.  Site-level view   At the top level, the Structured Data Dashboard, which is under Optimization, aggregates this data (by root item type and vocabulary schema).  Root item type means an item that is not an attribute of another on the same page.  For example, the site below has about 2 million Schema.Org annotations for Books (“ http://schema.org/Book ”)  Itemtype-level view   I

Keyword Alerts in Google Webmaster Tools

Many of you check Webmaster Tools daily (thank you!), but not everybody has the time to monitor the health of their site 24/7. It can be time consuming to analyze all the data and identify the most important issues. To make it a little bit easier we’ve been incorporating alerts into Webmaster Tools. We process the data for your site and try to detect the events that could be most interesting for you. Recently we rolled out alerts for Crawl Errors and today we’re introducing  alerts for Search Queries data. The Search Queries feature in Webmaster Tools shows, among other things, impressions and clicks for your top pages over time. For most sites, these numbers follow regular patterns, so when sudden spikes or drops occur, it can make sense to look into what caused them. Some changes are due to differing demand for your content, other times they may be due to technical issues that need to be resolved, such as broken redirects. For example, a steady stream of clicks which suddenly dro

GEO Content Similarity & SEO - rel="alternate" hreflang="x"

Many websites serve users from around the world, with content that's translated, or targeted to users in a certain region. The  rel="alternate" hreflang="x"  annotations help Google serve the correct language or regional URL to searchers.  More information about multi-regional and multilingual sites. Some example scenarios where  rel="alternate" hreflang="x"  is recommended: You  translate only the template of your page , such as the navigation and footer, and keep the main content in a single language. This is common on pages that feature user-generated content, like a forum post. Your pages have  broadly similar content within a single language , but the content has small regional variations. For example, you might have English-language content targeted at readers in the US, GB, and Ireland. Your site content is  fully translated . For example, you have both German and English versions of each page. Using rel="alternate" hrefl

Blocking Pages from being Crawled and Indexed in Google - The Methods

A  robots.txt file  restricts access to your site by search engine robots that crawl the web. These bots are automated, and before they access pages of a site, they check to see if a robots.txt file exists that prevents them from accessing certain pages. (All respectable robots will respect the directives in a robots.txt file, although some may interpret them differently. However, a robots.txt is not enforceable, and some spammers and other troublemakers may ignore it. For this reason, we recommend password protecting confidential information.) To see which URLs Google has been blocked from crawling, visit the  Blocked URLs  page of the  Health section of Webmaster Tools. You need a robots.txt file only if your site includes content that you don't want search engines to index. If you want search engines to index everything in your site, you don't need a robots.txt file (not even an empty one). While Google won't crawl or index the content of pages blocked by robots.txt, w