Summary of SEO 101 Episode 392

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Google causes concern for many as it turns off the indexation request tool to make infrastructure updates. John and Ross speculate the updates are partly due to some recently publicized Google bugs while sharing those details. Ross discusses WordPress automatic platform optimization (APO) and the results on his own site followed by an interesting review of Gary Illyes’s comments on how Caffeine’s indexing infrastructure works. Local SEO news follows with some significant updates followed by John Mueller’s announcement of mobile-only indexation coming in 2021.

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Google Temporarily Disables Indexation Request Tool in GSC

Listener Question: Josh Rowe
“Google confirmed the “Request Indexing” feature in Google Search Console will be down for
some time due to infrastructure changes. Does anyone have any more info on what’s being changed?“


Details On The Canonicalization & Mobile-Indexing Bugs

  • Google said the issue was two-fold Google said; one with canonicalization and the other with mobile-indexing.
  • The issues are taking some time to resolve
  • Google said the canonical issue started as early as September 20th, not September 22nd or 23rd like we thought
    • Google said it only impacted about 0.02% of its index
    • As of October 2nd, Google restored about 10% but based on what we are seeing, it has restored a lot more since October 2nd.
  • The mobile-indexing issue happened way earlier, but Google said the issue “spiked” around the middle of this past week
    • it impacted a much larger piece of the issue, around 0.2%
    • October 2nd restored 25% of it and continues to do so now.

Glenn’s write-up on the canonical issue – ‘Click here


Introducing Automatic Platform Optimization, starting with WordPress


Google’s Gary Illyes Explains What Caffeine Does

What Caffeine Does

  1. crawler information goes to protocol buffer
  2. buffer then normalizes HTML (it’s mostly broken after all) using an HTML Lexer > 
  3. Then the txt html page structure is normalized (H1, H2, H3, etc) which includes reviewing the styling to try to determine the “relative importance” (Gary Illyes) of each tag (this is also done for other formats like PDFs, spreadsheets, word docs, lotus files, etc.) > 
  4. Meta Tag examination (first the meta robots) and then others.

He also discusses how they parse PDF. Because it is a binary format that is difficult to process, they have to license the parser from Adobe to convert it from PDF to HTML. The same thing happens for other binary formats they can index. 

NOTE: if they find iframes, spam, and other out of place things in the header the HTML Lexer will close the header right before those tags and it starts the body from there on.

“Collapser” is used to verify 404 pages to see if they are valid or soft 404s. 

“For example, where you are writing an article about error pages, in general, and you can’t for your life get it indexed… and that’s sometimes because our error page handling systems misdetect your article based on the keywords that you used as a soft error page. And, basically, it prompts Caffeine to stop processing those pages.” Gary Illyes (17:30 in this episode)

LOL: they joke about the “magic PR meta tag” that will get your site ranked after Martin insists the secret meta must be the Keyword tag.





New categories added for Local Services Ads and expansion to more countries


Google testing new ‘call history’ feature for Google My Business



Mueller Files


Google: Mobile-First Indexing Should Be Mobile-Only Indexing


Google’s Change Of Address Tool Is A Setting Toggle, Not Status Check



End of Show Notes

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