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Credits: Google Search Console

Search Console and more!

Hello, and welcome back to the Google Search News. I hope life is treating you reasonably well wherever you are. As a special treat, I’m reporting from in the Swiss Alps, and getting ready for the festive season. Today, we have news about structured data, search console, articles both from Google and from the outside, and a short comment on cookies. Should we start with the cookies? No. First, the news. We had some olds about structured data last time and now we have some news. 

Since then, we announced a new type for a variety of different topics, perhaps including some that are useful for sites that you work on. Here’s a brief overview. There’s course info, which helps users find your content in search with rich results. There are vehicle listings specifically for car dealerships. Then, we have learning videos specifically as a way for students and teachers to discover your content. There’s also a markup for vacation rentals and an update on the organization markup. Finally, there’s markup specific to forum discussions and user profile pages. Wow, that’s a lot. As always, keep in mind that structured data is primarily used to present more context in search, and it’s not guaranteed to be used. 

You can find more details in our developer documentation. And now, over to the news about Search Console, a tool to help your site succeed in search. First off, the Search Console has reports and tests for the previously mentioned structured data types. From course information to vacation rentals, the search console is there for you. But wait. There’s more. We also simplified the page experience report to give an overview of core web vitals and HTTPS processing. The core web vitals are a way of measuring the speed and interactivity of a web page. For robots.txt, we updated the testing tool. Robots.txt is not a messaging app. It’s a text file for robots that crawl websites. 

Search Console
Credits: Google Search Console

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The tool is under Settings and gives you an overview of all subdomains. On that note, we’re removing the crawl rate setting in Search Console because it’s no longer needed. Over the years, our systems have improved in determining a suitable and sustainable crawl rate. As before, if you find that Googlebot is crawling too much, you can use the standard 503 or 429 HTTP result codes to slow it down. Woo-hoo. Less work for everyone. 

That’s a lot of news from Google. Let’s take a quick look at some great items from the community. Over to our special correspondent, Jim. Hi, Jim. JIM MUELLER: Thanks, John. It’s sweltering here, and I’m pleased to present the Community and New Content updates. Woo-hoo. First up, we have two fantastic articles for local businesses, written by Miriam Ellis. One covers content types worth including with little extra effort. The other is a resource on how local businesses can represent themselves for health- and safety-conscious customers, particularly regarding COVID. Running a local business is hard even without making a website. So having guides like these is invaluable. Secondly, an amazing piece on Large Language Models, or LLMs, written by Britney Muller. The name LLM refers to technology used in many newer AI systems, like Bard and ChatGPT. 

The article gives a high-level overview, together with details, about how these systems work, and some of their challenges. It gets technical at times. But given how prominent AI is, it’s good reading for everyone who works online. Thank you, Britney and Miriam, for these pieces. A special mention goes out to Barry Schwartz, who recently celebrated 20 years of his website, Search Engine Roundtable. He’s been passionately and tirelessly covering search, keeping us all informed of the news. 

Thanks, Barry. Checking in, we also have news on New Content from Google. Specifically, there are two new things here on this YouTube channel. First up is a new set of videos about SafeSearch. These videos are for site owners and search users, in general. Check them out to learn more about SafeSearch. And then, there’s the new SEO Made Easy series. For this series, we’re trying out localized audio tracks that are AI-generated and reviewed. We’re starting with Chinese, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, and Portuguese for Brazil, and Spanish for Latin America. If you prefer to listen to those languages and not English like here, give them a try. And please, let us know if you find it useful or what we could be doing better. Phew. And now, back to you, John, in the Alps. I’m off to surf some waves with my friend, Oscar here. Bye. Come on, Oscar. Let’s go. Thanks, Jim. You quack me up. And now, we’re getting closer to the end, but I have a few more tidbits to share with you before we head out. Algorithms, love them or hate them, we’ve had a few updates to them since we last met. Core updates, a spam update, even a Reviews update. 

Our Blog and the Search Status Dashboard have all the details. We added Google-Extended, a new user agent for robots.txt. Web publishers can use it to manage whether their sites help improve Bard and Vertex AI generative APIs. I’ll add a link to the announcement and one to a recent presentation on AI Web Publisher Controls. Then, we launched Notes, a way of sharing knowledge right on Search. It’s currently an opt-in experiment in Search Labs, and initially available in the United States and India. If you’re in those countries and if you’re keen, give it a shot. Finally, last, but not least, let’s talk about cookies. Unfortunately, not all cookies are tasty. Who knew? Yes. Well, anyway, back to the topic. Google Chrome is slowly phasing out so-called third-party cookies. 

The change is rolling out to users globally over several months. In practice, we’ve seen some effects on e-commerce checkouts and commenting or login systems, among others. It’s possible your site won’t be affected by it, but we recommend testing to be sure. Chrome’s documentation has all the details. For extra credit, there are a few more short things, which I’ll drop into a separate video, for you to catch up on later on. Well, there you have it, the Google Search News for 2023 is complete. And we can all head out into the new year now. This year has had its ups and downs, and sometimes it took surprising detours. In any case, I’m looking forward to working together with you all in 2024 to make the web even better for everyone. Thank you for tuning in to the Google Search News. And thank you, Jim, for the special report from down under. I hope this video was useful. And please, add feedback and comments here. We read them all. If you subscribe to this channel, we’ll let you know when another episode is ready. I hope I don’t get snowed in or, worse, no internet. Cookies, cookies, cook– it doesn’t open. Oh.

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