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Newsfeeds from around the industry
Google Webmaster Central Blog
Official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index.

  • An update to the Webmaster Tools API

    Webmaster level: advanced

    Over the summer the Webmaster Tools team has been cooking up an update to the Webmaster Tools API. The new API is consistent with other Google APIs, makes it easier to authenticate for apps or web-services, and provides access to some of the main features of Webmaster Tools.

    If you've used other Google APIs, getting started with the new Webmaster Tools API will be easy! We have examples for Python, Java, as well as OACurl (for fans of command lines).

    This API allows you to:

    • list, add, or remove sites from your account (you can currently have up to 500 sites in your account)
    • list, add, or remove sitemaps for your websites
    • get warning, error, and indexed counts for individual sitemaps
    • get a time-series of all kinds of crawl errors for your site
    • list crawl error samples for specific types of errors
    • mark individual crawl errors as "fixed" (this doesn't change how they're processed, but can help simplify the UI for you)

    We'd love to see what you're building with our APIs! Feel free to link to your projects in the comments below. Should you have any questions about the usage of the API, feel free to post in our help forum as well.


    Posted by John Mueller, fan of long command lines, Google Zürich


  • Webmaster Academy now available in 22 languages
    Webmaster level: Beginner

    Today, the new Webmaster Academy goes live in 22 languages! New or beginner webmasters speaking a multitude of languages can now learn the fundamentals of making a great site, providing an enjoyable user experience, and ranking well in search results. And if you think you’re already familiar with these topics, take the quizzes at the end of each module to prove it :).

    So give Webmaster Academy a read in your preferred language and let us know in the comments or help forum what you think. We’ve gotten such great and helpful feedback after the English version launched this past March so we hope this straightforward and easy-to-read guide can be helpful (and fun!) to everyone.

    Let’s get great sites and searchable content up and running around the world.

    Posted by Mary Chen, Webmaster Outreach


  • An improved search box within the search results
    Webmaster level: All
    Today you’ll see a new and improved sitelinks search box. When shown, it will make it easier for users to reach specific content on your site, directly through your own site-search pages.

    What’s this search box and when does it appear for my site?

    When users search for a company by name—for example, [Megadodo Publications] or [Dunder Mifflin]—they may actually be looking for something specific on that website. In the past, when our algorithms recognized this, they'd display a larger set of sitelinks and an additional search box below that search result, which let users do site: searches over the site straight from the results, for example [site:example.com hitchhiker guides].
    This search box is now more prominent (above the sitelinks), supports Autocomplete, and—if you use the right markup—will send the user directly to your website's own search pages.

    How can I mark up my site?

    You need to have a working site-specific search engine for your site. If you already have one, you can let us know by marking up your homepage as a schema.org/WebSite entity with the potentialAction property of the schema.org/SearchAction markup. You can use JSON-LD, microdata, or RDFa to do this; check out the full implementation details on our developer site.
    If you implement the markup on your site, users will have the ability to jump directly from the sitelinks search box to your site’s search results page. If we don’t find any markup, we’ll show them a Google search results page for the corresponding site: query, as we’ve done until now.
    As always, if you have questions, feel free to ask in our Webmaster Help forum.

    Update (16:30h CET, September 12th): We're noticing an enthusiastic uptick in the markup implementation after the initial announcement last week! Here are the two main issues we've observed so far, and what you need to do to fix them:

    1. Make sure that when you replace the curly braces and all that's inside of it with a search term it leads to a valid URL on your site.
      For example: if your "target" value is "http://www.example.com/search?q={searchTerm}", ensure that "http://www.example.com/search?q=foo" and "http://www.example.com/search?q=bar" both lead to search result pages about "foo" and "bar".
    2. Make sure that the "query-input" field points to the same string that's inside the curly braces in the "target" field.
      For example: if your "target" value is "http://www.example.com/search?q={searchTerm}", you must use "searchTerm" as the "name" within "query-input".
    Posted by Mariya Moeva, Webmaster Trends Analyst, and Kaylin Spitz, Software Engineer


  • Optimizing for Bandwidth on Apache and Nginx

    Webmaster level: advanced

    Everyone wants to use less bandwidth: hosts want lower bills, mobile users want to stay under their limits, and no one wants to wait for unnecessary bytes. The web is full of opportunities to save bandwidth: pages served without gzip, stylesheets and JavaScript served unminified, and unoptimized images, just to name a few.

    So why isn't the web already optimized for bandwidth? If these savings are good for everyone then why haven't they been fixed yet? Mostly it's just been too much hassle. Web designers are encouraged to "save for web" when exporting their artwork, but they don't always remember.  JavaScript programmers don't like working with minified code because it makes debugging harder. You can set up a custom pipeline that makes sure each of these optimizations is applied to your site every time as part of your development or deployment process, but that's a lot of work.

    An easy solution for web users is to use an optimizing proxy, like Chrome's. When users opt into this service their HTTP traffic goes via Google's proxy, which optimizes their page loads and cuts bandwidth usage by 50%.  While this is great for these users, it's limited to people using Chrome who turn the feature on and it can't optimize HTTPS traffic.

    With Optimize for Bandwidth, the PageSpeed team is bringing this same technology to webmasters so that everyone can benefit: users of other browsers, secure sites, desktop users, and site owners who want to bring down their outbound traffic bills. Just install the PageSpeed module on your Apache or Nginx server [1], turn on Optimize for Bandwidth in your configuration, and PageSpeed will do the rest.

    If you later decide you're interested in PageSpeed's more advanced optimizations, from cache extension and inlining to the more aggressive image lazyloading and defer JavaScript, it's just a matter of enabling them in your PageSpeed configuration.

    Learn more about installing PageSpeed or enabling Optimize for Bandwidth.


    Posted by Jeff Kaufman, Make the Web Fast


    [1] If you're using a different web server, consider running PageSpeed on an Apache or Nginx proxy.  And it's all open source, with porting efforts underway for IIS, ATS, and others.


  • #NoHacked: a global campaign to spread hacking awareness
    Webmaster level: All

    This June, we introduced a weeklong social campaign called #NoHacked. The goals for #NoHacked are to bring awareness to hacking attacks and offer tips on how to keep your sites safe from hackers.

    We held the campaign in 11 languages on multiple channels including Google+, Twitter and Weibo. About 1 million people viewed our tips and hundreds of users used the hashtag #NoHacked to spread awareness and to share their own tips. Check them out below!

    Posts we shared during the campaign:


    Some of the many tips shared by users across the globe:
    • Pablo Silvio Esquivel from Brazil recommends users not to use pirated software (source)
    • Rens Blom from the Netherlands suggests using different passwords for your accounts, changing them regularly, and using an extra layer of security such as two-step authentication (source)
    • Дмитрий Комягин from Russia says to regularly monitor traffic sources, search queries and landing pages, and to look out for spikes in traffic (source)
    • 工務店コンサルタント from Japan advises everyone to choose a good hosting company that's knowledgeable in hacking issues and to set email forwarding in Webmaster Tools (source)
    • Kamil Guzdek from Poland advocates changing the default table prefix in wp-config to a custom one when installing a new WordPress to lower the risk of the database from being hacked (source)

    Hacking is still a surprisingly common issue around the world so we highly encourage all webmasters to follow these useful tips. Feel free to continue using the hashtag #NoHacked to share your own tips or experiences around hacking prevention and awareness. Thanks for supporting the #NoHacked campaign!

    And in the unfortunate event that your site gets hacked, we’ll help you toward a speedy and thorough recovery:

    Posted by your friendly #NoHacked helpers


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