- Using schema.org markup for organization logos
Webmaster level: all
Today, we’re launching support for the schema.org markup for organization logos, a way to connect your site with an iconic image. We want you to be able to specify which image we use as your logo in Google search results.
Using schema.org Organization markup
, you can indicate to our algorithms the location of your preferred logo. For example, a business whose homepage is www.example.com can add the following markup using visible on-page elements on their homepage:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization">
<a itemprop="url" href="http://www.example.com/">Home</a>
<img itemprop="logo" src="http://www.example.com/logo.png" />
This example indicates to Google that this image is designated as the organization’s logo image for the homepage also included in the markup, and, where possible, may be used in Google search results. Markup like this is a strong signal to our algorithms to show this image in preference over others, for example when we show Knowledge Graph on the right hand side based on users’ queries.
As always, please ask us in the Webmaster Help Forum
if you have any questions. Posted by RJ Ryan, Google Engineer
- Introducing "x-default hreflang" for international landing pages
Webmaster Level: All
The homepages of multinational and multilingual websites are sometimes configured to point visitors to localized pages, either via redirects or by changing the content to reflect the user’s language. Today we’ll introduce a new rel-alternate-hreflang annotation that the webmaster can use to specify such homepages that is supported by both Google and Yandex.
To see this in action, let’s look at an example. The website example.com has content that targets users around the world as follows:
In this case, the webmaster can annotate this cluster of pages using rel-alternate-hreflang using Sitemaps or using HTML link tags like this:
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en-gb" hreflang="en-gb" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en-us" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en-au" hreflang="en-au" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/" hreflang="x-default" />
The new x-default hreflang attribute value signals to our algorithms that this page doesn’t target any specific language or locale and is the default page when no other page is better suited. For example, it would be the page our algorithms try to show French-speaking searchers worldwide or English-speaking searchers on google.ca.
The same annotation applies for homepages that dynamically alter their contents based on a user’s perceived geolocation or the Accept-Language headers. The x-default hreflang value signals to our algorithms that such a page doesn’t target a specific language or locale.
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please tell us in the Internationalization Webmaster Help Forum.
Posted by Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst
- 5 common mistakes with rel=canonical
Webmaster Level: Intermediate to AdvancedIncluding a rel=canonical link in your webpage is a strong hint to search engines your preferred version to index among duplicate pages on the web. It’s supported by several search engines, including Yahoo!, Bing, and Google. The rel=canonical link consolidates indexing properties from the duplicates, like their inbound links, as well as specifies which URL you’d like displayed in search results. However, rel=canonical can be a bit tricky because it’s not very obvious when there’s a misconfiguration.
While the webmaster sees the “red velvet” page on the left in their browser, search engines notice on the webmaster’s unintended “blue velvet” rel=canonical on the right. We recommend the following best practices for using rel=canonical:
Mistake 1: rel=canonical to the first page of a paginated series Imagine that you have an article that spans several pages:
- A large portion of the duplicate page’s content should be present on the canonical version.
One test is to imagine you don’t understand the language of the content—if you placed the duplicate side-by-side with the canonical, does a very large percentage of the words of the duplicate page appear on the canonical page? If you need to speak the language to understand that the pages are similar; for example, if they’re only topically similar but not extremely close in exact words, the canonical designation might be disregarded by search engines.
- Double-check that your rel=canonical target exists (it’s not an error or “soft 404”)
- Verify the rel=canonical target doesn’t contain a noindex robots meta tag
- Make sure you’d prefer the rel=canonical URL to be displayed in search results (rather than the duplicate URL)
- Include the rel=canonical link in either the <head> of the page or the HTTP header
- Specify no more than one rel=canonical for a page. When more than one is specified, all rel=canonicals will be ignored.
Specifying a rel=canonical from page 2 (or any later page) to page 1 is not correct use of rel=canonical, as these are not duplicate pages. Using rel=canonical in this instance would result in the content on pages 2 and beyond not being indexed at all.
- and so on
Good content (e.g., “cookies are superior nutrition” and “to vegetables”) is lost when specifying rel=canonical from component pages to the first page of a series.In cases of paginated content, we recommend either a rel=canonical from component pages to a single-page version of the article, or to use rel=”prev” and rel=”next” pagination markup. rel=canonical from component pages to the view-all page If rel=canonical to a view-all page isn’t designated, paginated content can use rel=”prev” and rel=”next” markup. Mistake 2: Absolute URLs mistakenly written as relative URLs The <link> tag, like many HTML tags, accepts both relative and absolute URLs. Relative URLs include a path “relative” to the current page. For example, “images/cupcake.png” means “from the current directory go to the “images” subdirectory, then to cupcake.png.” Absolute URLs specify the full path—including the scheme like http://.Specifying <link rel=canonical href=“example.com/cupcake.html” /> (a relative URL since there’s no “http://”) implies that the desired canonical URL is http://example.com/example.com/cupcake.html even though that is almost certainly not what was intended. In these cases, our algorithms may ignore the specified rel=canonical. Ultimately this means that whatever you had hoped to accomplish with this rel=canonical will not come to fruition. Mistake 3: Unintended or multiple declarations of rel=canonical Occasionally, we see rel=canonical designations that we believe are unintentional. In very rare circumstances we see simple typos, but more commonly a busy webmaster copies a page template without thinking to change the target of the rel=canonical. Now the site owner’s pages specify a rel=canonical to the template author’s site. If you use a template, check that you didn’t also copy the rel=canonical specification. Another issue is when pages include multiple rel=canonical links to different URLs. This happens frequently in conjunction with SEO plugins that often insert a default rel=canonical link, possibly unbeknownst to the webmaster who installed the plugin. In cases of multiple declarations of rel=canonical, Google will likely ignore all the rel=canonical hints. Any benefit that a legitimate rel=canonical might have offered will be lost. In both these types of cases, double-checking the page’s source code will help correct the issue. Be sure to check the entire <head> section as the rel=canonical links may be spread apart. Check the behavior of plugins by looking at the page’s source code. Mistake 4: Category or landing page specifies rel=canonical to a featured article Let’s say you run a site about desserts. Your dessert site has useful category pages like “pastry” and “gelato.” Each day the category pages feature a unique article. For instance, your pastry landing page might feature “red velvet cupcakes.” Because the “pastry” category page has nearly all the same content as the “red velvet cupcake” page, you add a rel=canonical from the category page to the featured individual article. If we were to accept this rel=canonical, then your pastry category page would not appear in search results. That’s because the rel=canonical signals that you would prefer search engines display the canonical URL in place of the duplicate. However, if you want users to be able to find both the category page and featured article, it’s best to only have a self-referential rel=canonical on the category page, or none at all. Remember that the canonical designation also implies the preferred display URL. Avoid adding a rel=canonical from a category or landing page to a featured article. Mistake 5: rel=canonical in the <body> The rel=canonical link tag should only appear in the <head> of an HTML document. Additionally, to avoid HTML parsing issues, it’s good to include the rel=canonical as early as possible in the <head>. When we encounter a rel=canonical designation in the <body>, it’s disregarded. This is an easy mistake to correct. Simply double-check that your rel=canonical links are always in the <head> of your page, and as early as possible if you can. rel=canonical designations in the <head> are processed, not the <body>. Conclusion To create valuable rel=canonical designations:
And, as always, please ask any questions in our Webmaster Help forum. Written by Allan Scott, Software Engineer, Indexing Team
- Verify that most of the main text content of a duplicate page also appears in the canonical page.
- Check that rel=canonical is only specified once (if at all) and in the <head> of the page.
- Check that rel=canonical points to an existent URL with good content (i.e., not a 404, or worse, a soft 404).
- Avoid specifying rel=canonical from landing or category pages to featured articles as that will make the featured article the preferred URL in search results.
- The Webmaster Academy goes international
Webmaster level: All
Since we launched the Webmaster Academy in English back in May 2012, its educational content has been viewed well over 1 million times.
The Webmaster Academy was built to guide webmasters in creating great sites that perform well in Google search results. It is an ideal guide for beginner webmasters but also a recommended read for experienced users who wish to learn more about advanced topics.
To support webmasters across the globe, we’re happy to announce that we’re launching the Webmaster Academy in 20 languages. So whether you speak Japanese or Italian, we hope we can help you to make even better websites! You can easily access it through Webmaster Central.
We’d love to read your comments here and invite you to join the discussion in the help forums.
Posted by Giacomo Gnecchi Ruscone, Search Quality
- A new opt-out tool
Webmasters have several ways to keep their sites' content out of Google's search results. Today, as promised, we're providing a way for websites to opt out of having their content that Google has crawled appear on Google Shopping, Advisor, Flights, Hotels, and Google+ Local search.
Webmasters can now choose this option through our Webmaster Tools, and crawled content currently being displayed on Shopping, Advisor, Flights, Hotels, or Google+ Local search pages will be removed within 30 days.
Posted by Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer