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Google Answers If Meta Robots Tags Affect Search Rankings
Google Search Advocate John Mueller explains whether the use of meta robots tags can affect webpage rankings in search results.
This topic is addressed in the latest installment of the Ask Googlebot series on YouTube.
Mueller answers the following question submitted on Twitter:
“If a site does not have a robots meta tag, does this affect the ranking negatively?”
Websites can use meta robots tags to customize the appearance of search snippets, so it’s common to ask if they impact search rankings.
The short answer is no; meta robots tags aren’t ranking signals.
The longer answer is they can influence click-through rate.
Read Mueller’s full answer in the following section.Google’s John Mueller On Meta Robots Tags
Answering the question regarding meta robots tags and their effect on search rankings, Mueller says:
“We talk about some of these SEO elements so often that it’s easy to assume that they’re required. In this case, no. A meta robots tag is not required for ranking.
The robots meta tag can specify how a specific page should be shown in search, or if it shouldn’t be shown at all. This metatag is only necessary if you want to change the default appearance of a page in the search results.
For example, if you want to limit how long the snippet can be, then you can use the max snippet robot metatag. If you don’t have any preferences regarding how a page is to be shown in search then not having a robots metatag on a page at all is also perfectly fine.
If you’re curious about the options, I’d check out our documentation on both the robots meta tags as well as on other tags that Google supports.”
Google supports over a dozen meta robots tags that publishers can use to customize everything from the text in a search snippet to the sizes of images and video previews.
The tags affect what people see in search results, but they won’t positively or negatively impact search rankings.
Meta robots tags don’t communicate any signals or information that Google can use to understand where to rank a page in search results.
Therefore, a page with meta robots tags doesn’t have an inherent advantage over a page without them.
That doesn’t mean they’re not helpful, however. Meta robots tags are worth using when you’re unhappy with how Google displays your pages in search results.
You may find that Google gives away too much of a page’s primary content in the search snippet, in which case you can limit the number of characters with the max-snippet tag.
If you feel a search snippet would look better without a sitselinks search box, you can use the nositelinkssearchbox tag. That’s a use case that could impact click-through rate, but it won’t affect how Google ranks the page.
For more information about the meta robots tags Google supports, see the official help page.
Source: Google Search Central
Featured Image: Screenshot from YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral, September 2022.source
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Google Announces 5 Changes Coming To Mobile Search
At today’s Google’s Search On conference, the company announced it’s rolling out five significant changes to how people search on mobile.
Starting today on the Google app for iOS, you’ll see shortcuts to various actions you can perform other than typing in a traditional search query.
In the coming months, Google is upgrading the mobile search bar with features that will help users find more relevant resultHowway Google displays results on mobile is about to change, becoming more visual with a greater focus on images and video.
Here’s more information on the updates rolling out today and in the near future.2. Google Search Shortcuts
There are many ways to search Google beyond typing in a text query.
You can find products by uploading screenshots, translate text with Google Lens, or even find songs by humming into the microphone.
Now, on the Google app for iOS, all the advanced methods of searching Google will be more apparent with tappable shortcuts.
See an example below of what they look like:Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022. 2. Results In The Search Bar
Google is making finding things in mobile search even faster by displaying links to results in the search bar.
When you start typing, Google will begin populating results before you submit the query
In the example below, you can see Google displaying a link to a location page in the search bar:Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
This feature is scheduled to roll out in the coming months.3. Enhanced Query Refinements
Google is making it easier to find the most relevant results by displaying an assortment of query refinements.
As you type a query into the mobile search bar, Google will offer ideas to make your question more specific.
In the example below, you can see Google suggesting different ways to expand on the query “best Mexico cities”:Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022. 4. Google Web Stories
Google is making mobile search more visual with deeper integration of Google Web Stories
Google states in an announcement:
“So we’re also making it easier to explore a subject by highlighting the most relevant and helpful information, including content from creators on the open web. For topics like cities, you may see visual stories and short videos from people who have visited, tips on how to explore the city, things to do, how to get there and other important aspects you might want to know about as you plan your travels.”
Here’s an example of what the new layout will look like.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
The way content is displayed almost looks like iOS widgets.
You can tap on the story to open it in full-screen mode.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022. 5. Combining Text, Images, & Video
Google is turning mobile search results pages into an endless feed of discovery.
You’ll no longer have to toggle between the Web, Images, and Video tabs, as Google will display it all on the front page.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
Google describes this combination of text, images, and video on the same page as a “reimagining” of the way it delivers search results:
“We’re also reimagining the way we display results to better reflect the ways people explore topics. You’ll see the most relevant content, from a variety of sources, no matter what format the information comes in — whether that’s text, images or video.”
Additionally, you’ll have the option to continue scrolling to explore related queries.
The example below shows the bottom of a search page where you can choose to get more results for your query by tapping “More search results.” Or you explore the query “historic sites in Oaxaca” by scrolling vertically.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
These new ways to explore information in mobile search are rolling out in the next few months.
Featured Image: Thaspol Sangsee/Shutterstocksource