- Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
- Affects search results in all languages globally
- Applies to individual pages, not entire websites
Posted by Takaki Makino and Doantam Phan
1. Will desktop and/or tablet ranking also be affected by this change?
2. Is it a page-level or site-level mobile ranking boost?
It’s a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site’s pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren’t, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.
3. How do I know if Google thinks a page on my site is mobile-friendly?
Individual pages can be tested for “mobile-friendliness” using the Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Check if the Mobile-Friendly Test shows blocked resources (often accompanied with a partially rendered image).
- Allow Googlebot to crawl the necessary files.
- Double-check that your page passes the Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Use Fetch as Google with Submit to Index and submit your updated robots.txt to Google to expedite the re-processing of the updated page (or just wait for Google to naturally re-crawl and index).
Written by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead.
Structured data site names and URLs
As part of this launch, we’re also introducing support for schema.org structured data for websites to signal to our algorithms:
- The website name to be used instead of the domain name
- The URL structure of the URL as breadcrumbs
These changes are rolling out gradually and affect only mobile results. The site name change is US-only for now and breadcrumbs are rolling out worldwide.
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please ask in the Webmaster Help Forum.
Posted by Bartlomiej Niechwiej, Software Engineer, and Rob Ennals, Product Manager
With the addition of these install links, we are starting to use App Indexing as a ranking signal for all users on Android, regardless of whether they have your app installed or not. We hope that Search will now help you acquire new users, as well as re-engage your existing ones. To get started, visit g.co/AppIndexing and to learn more about the other ways you can integrate with Google Search, visit g.co/DeveloperSearch.
Posted by Lawrence Chang, Product Manager
A lot of websites rely on forms for important goals completion, such as completing a transaction on a shopping site or registering on a news site. For many users, online forms mean repeatedly typing common information like their names, emails, phone numbers or addresses, on different sites across the web. In addition to being tedious, this task is also error-prone, which can lead many users to abandon the flow entirely. In a world where users browse the internet using their mobile devices more than their laptops or desktops, having forms that are easy and quick to fill out is crucial! Three years ago, we announced the support for a new “autocomplete” attribute in Chrome, to make form-filling faster, easier and smarter. Now, Chrome fully supports the "autocomplete" attribute for form fields according to the current WHATWG HTML Standard. This allows webmasters and web developers to label input element fields with common data types, such as ‘name’ or ‘street-address’, without changing the user interface or the backend. Numerous webmasters have increased the rate of form completions on their sites by marking up their forms for auto-completion.
For example, marking up an email address field on a form to allow auto-completion would look like this (with a full sample form available):
<input type="text" name="customerEmail" autocomplete="email"/>
Making websites friendly and easy to browse for users on mobile devices is very important. We hope to see many forms marked up with the “autocomplete” attribute in the future. For more information, you can check out our specifications about Label and name inputs in Web Fundamentals. And as usual, if you have any questions, please post in our Webmasters Help Forums.
Posted by Mathieu Perreault, Chrome Software Engineer, and Zineb Ait Bahajji, Webmaster Trends Analyst
We have a long-standing view that doorway pages that created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the user’s search experience.
- Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?
- Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
- Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
- Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
- Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?
Posted by Brian White, Google Webspam Team
Last fall we announced the new Webmaster Tools API, which helps you to automate a number of important aspects using code. With the pending shutdown of ClientLogin, we're going to turn down the old Webmaster Tools API on April 20, 2015.
If you're still using the old API, getting started with the new one is fairly easy. The new API covers everything from the old version except for messages and keywords. We have examples in Python, Java, as well as OACurl (for command-line fans & quick testing). Additionally, there's the Site Verification API to add sites programmatically to your account. The Python search query data download will continue to be available for the moment, and replaced by an API in the upcoming quarters.
As always, should you have any questions, feel free to comment here, or post in our Webmaster Help Forum.
Posted by John Mueller, fan of command lines & APIs, Google Zuerich
An update to Fetch and Render shows how these blocked resources matter. When you request a URL be fetched and rendered, it now shows screenshots rendered both as Googlebot and as a typical user. This makes it easier to recognize the issues that significantly influence why your pages are seen differently by Googlebot.
Webmaster Tools attempts to show you only the hosts that you might have influence over, so at the moment, we won't show hosts that are used by many different sites (such as popular analytics services). Because it can be time-consuming (usually not for technical reasons!) to update all robots.txt files, we recommend starting with the resources that make the most important visual difference when blocked. Our Help Center article has more information on the steps involved.
We hope this new feature makes it easier for you to spot and then unblock resources used by your website! Should you have any questions, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forums.
Posted by John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google Switzerland
JSON-LD is a JSON-based data format that can be used to implement structured data describing content on your site to Google and other search engines. For example, if you have a list of events, cafes, people or more, you can include this data in your pages in a structured way using the schema.org vocabulary embedded in webpages as a JSON-LD snippet. The structured data helps Google understand your pages better and highlight your content in search features, such events in the Knowledge Graph and rich snippets.
Web Components are a nascent set of technologies to define custom, reusable user interface widgets and their behavior. Any web developer can build a Web Component. You start by defining a template for a distinct part of the user interface, which you import into the pages on which you want to use the Web Component. A Custom Element is used to define the behavior of the Web Component. Because you’re bundling the display and logic for part of the user interface into the Web Component, you can share and reuse the bundle on other pages and with other developers, thus simplifying web development.
JSON-LD and Web Components work really well together. The Custom Element functions as the presentation layer and the JSON-LD functions as the data layer that the custom element and search engines consume. This means you can build custom elements for any schema.org type, such as schema.org/Event and schema.org/LocalBusiness.
Your architecture would then look like this. Your structured data is stored in your database, for example, the store locations in your chain. This data is embedded into your webpage as a JSON-LD snippet, which means it’s available to be consumed by the Custom Element to display to a human visitor and for Googlebot to retrieve for Google indexing.
To learn more and get started with your own custom elements, please see:
- Our latest article on HTML5 Rocks and the accompanying code examples.
- The JSON-LD website, and the W3C spec
- Web Components wiki and the Web Components community on webcomponents.org
- Google's structured data documentation
Webmaster level: all
When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. Today, we’re announcing two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:
1. More mobile-friendly websites in search results
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:
- If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
- If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.
2. More relevant app content in search results
Starting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.
If you have questions about either mobile-friendly websites or app indexing, we’re always happy to chat in our Webmaster Help Forum.
Posted by Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung, and Doantam Phan