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Jun162018

Google Search Console Adds New Filter for Web Light Search Results

Google has updated its Performance report in the Search Console to now include filters that show webmasters about how many of their visitors are accessing their web sites via the Web Light version served to them by Google Search.

Web Light, as Google explains, is when they “transcode (convert) web pages on the fly into a version optimized for slow mobile networks connections,” so that these pages load faster while saving data.

Google shows faster, lighter pages to people searching on slow mobile connections.

Adding, Google says, Web Light pages “preserve a majority of the relevant content” while providing “a link for users to view the original page.”

Furthermore, these optimized pages not only load four times faster, but also uses 80% fewer bytes than the original page, said Google. Because these pages load so much faster, “we also saw a 50% increase in traffic to these pages.”

Here is a screen shot of the Web Light filter shared by Google:

Google Search Console Web Light Filter

This data can be found in the “search appearance” report in Google Search Console, where users will now see a filter for Web Light results.

To preview a Web Light version of a non-AMP webpage, on your mobile you can enter the following URL in the address bar followed by the site URL to visit: http://googleweblight.com/i?u=[your_website_URL]

To avoid getting your pages transcoded into Web Light, you can set the HTTP header “Cache-Control: no-transform” to page response.

In other related news, a series of Google tweets cleared the confusion surrounding mobile-first indexing.

  • URLs in search: With mobile-first indexing, Google indexes the URL of the mobile-friendly version of a site. When there are separate mobile and desktop URLs, Google shows the mobile URL to mobile users, and the desktop URL to desktop users. In both cases, the indexed content will be the mobile version.
  • Crawled counts: The total number of crawled URLs per day generally won’t change. However, the balance will shift from mostly-desktop to mostly-mobile crawls. During a switch-over to mobile-first indexing Google may temporarily crawl more as it re indexes everything.
  • Cached page: Google is not showing a cached page for many mobile-first indexed sites. This is a bug and should eventually get resolved. It’s just a UI bug. Crawling, indexing, and ranking is not affected by this bug.
  • Speed update: The mobile speed update coming in July is not related to mobile-first indexing.
  • Mobile website UIs: Using “hamburger-menus” and “accordions” on mobile websites is fine.
  • On requirements: Mobile-friendliness and mobile-responsive layouts are not requirements for mobile-first indexing. Pages without mobile versions still work on mobile, and therefore are eligible for indexing.
  • On ranking: The mobile-first index doesn’t change anything in terms of ranking positions. The only thing that changes is Google is now indexing the mobile content only. While mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor on mobile, being in the mobile-first index is not.

Update 06/21: Google has extended its Search Console Search Analytics API to now support 16 months’ of data. This means, using Google Search Console API webmasters and developers can now query the 16 months worth of the data and get the same within the Search Analytics report.

The announcement was made on Twitter:

In a tweet Google revealing how much time it takes to remove requested URLs from the search results after a removal request is made in Google Search Console said, “the removal process completes in less than a day.”

Site owners can request to have specific URLs removed from search results using Google Search Console tool.

Google is also said to be testing a new feature that would simplify the process of adding multiple site properties to Search Console.

Currently, webmasters are required to add multiple versions of their same domain, like adding WWW, non-WWW, HTTP, and HTTPS and verifying each one.

With the new simplified process, all it require is to add just the root of a site to Search Console, and Google would then automatically add all different variations, revealed Google’s John Mueller. You can see Mueller stating this in the following Webmaster Office-hours Hangouts video:

Here’s a video transcript:

“We’re currently looking into ways to make that process a little bit easier.

So we’ll probably ask around for input from, I don’t know, on Twitter or somewhere else, to see what your ideas are there. Where basically you just add the root of your website and then we automatically include the dub-dub-dub, non-dub-dub-dub, HTTP, HTTPS versions in the same listing. So that you have all of the data in one place.

Maybe it would even make sense to include subdomains there. I don’t know, we’d probably like to get your feedback on that. So probably we will ask around for more tips from your side in that regard.

But at the moment if you want to make sure you have all of the data I definitely recommend adding all of those variations, even though it clutters things up a little bit.”

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