Google Webmaster Hangouts 5-15-2018

Don’t Target a Specific Meta Description Length

There’s been a lot of talk about Meta description length in 2018.  First it was lengthened, then shortened, and now we “should not be aiming for a specific number.  Meta descriptions are dynamic and can change daily or by device. Make sure that your description is short and to the point.  You should aim for the users to understand what your page is about.

Never Redirect From Your Mobile Site To an App

Instead users should be able to visit your site, read content, and then make the choice to go to the app.  Forcing the redirect is not user friendly. That may increase downloads but it’ll kill your rankings.  John mentioned that you can use a banner ad or something similar to get the user to the app download.

If GSC Shows SUBMITTED URL NOT SELECTED AS CANONICAL Your Page Isn’t Indexed

This is the message GSC will send you so that you know that URL is not in the index.  This is not an issue of Google not crawling the URL.  

Your Sitemap May Still Be Crawled If Taken Out of GSC

If your sitemap file shows a lot of errors and you want it fixed – you must either fix the file or remove it from your server.  If may continue to be crawled if not taken off the server.

Google Won’t Have Cached Data to Show For Error Pages

General server errors like 500 or 400 errors means GSC isn’t going to see the content.  If they cant see the content, they can’t cache the page.  They will only keep track when they can pick up the content or a 202 code.

FAQ Pages Should Be User Tested

Your users may prefer a longer FAQ vs split into individual pages.  John wouldn’t address whether one may rank better than another other than user experience.

Conclusion

Another great hangout.  These hangouts are all about technical SEO and user experience issues that are holding your site back.  It’s amazing to see how many sites still let the technical SEO side slip.  It may not always be an easy fix but it’s a fix that must happen.  If you need help prioritizing those tech issues our full scale on-site SEO audit is fantastic.  If you need help with UX side of things we’ve got a handy checklist here.

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