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Google Webmaster Central Blog
Official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index.

  • Better presentation of URLs in search results
    Well-structured URLs offer users a quick hint about the page topic and how the page fits within the website. To help mobile searchers understand your website better when we show it in the mobile search results, today we’re updating the algorithms that display URLs in the search results to better reflect the names of websites, using the real-world name of the site instead of the domain name, and the URL structure of the sites in a breadcrumbs-like format.

    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
    For more details and code examples, please see our structured data documentation for providing site names and 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


  • Drive app installs through App Indexing
    You’ve invested time and effort into making your app an awesome experience, and we want to help people find the great content you’ve created. App Indexing has already been helping people engage with your Android app after they’ve installed it — we now have 30 billion links within apps indexed. Starting this week, people searching on Google can also discover your app if they haven’t installed it yet. If you’ve implemented App Indexing, when indexed content from your app is relevant to a search done on Google on Android devices, people may start to see app install buttons for your app in search results. Tapping these buttons will take them to the Google Play store where they can install your app, then continue straight on to the right content within it.

    App installs through app indexing


    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


  • Helping users fill out online forms

    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="email" 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



  • An update on doorway pages
    Google’s Search Quality team is continually working on ways in which to minimize the impact of webspam on users. This includes doorway pages.

    We have a long-standing view that doorway pages that are created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the user’s search experience.

    For example, searchers might get a list of results that all go to the same site. So if a user clicks on one result, doesn't like it, and then tries the next result in the search results page and is taken to that same site that they didn't like, that's a really frustrating experience.

    Over time, we've seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.

    To help webmasters better understand our guidelines, we've added clarifying examples and freshened our definition of doorway pages in our Quality Guidelines.

    Here are questions to ask of pages that could be seen as doorway pages:
    • 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?
    If you have questions or feedback about doorway pages, please visit our webmaster help forum.

    Posted by Brian White, Google Webspam Team


  • Deprecation of the old Webmaster Tools API

    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


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