Pubcon 2019 is well underway, and Tuesday’s day of sessions started with a keynote from Gary Illyes, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google. At his Pubcon keynote, Gary discussed some of the newest changes in search along with the reasoning behind some of these changes. As digital marketers, we had a lot to learn from Gary’s Pubcon keynote.
Googlebot Is Growing Up
Googlebot, the infamous crawler used by the world’s biggest search engine, has undergone some upgrades this year. At his keynote, Gary from Google discussed the newest evolution of the SEO spider we all know and love.
Compared to its previous version, Googlebot now supports 1000+ features, meaning Googlebot can crawl sites more efficiently and interact with them to identify, crawl, and index a greater array of site components. A smarter Googlebot can bring greater ranking success to your site because the bot will be able to access and interact with more of your content.
Noindex is No More
While Gary discussed new updates for Googlebot, robots.txt has also gone through some changes. Mainly, robots.txt has been trimmed down. Noindex has been removed, but not just due to random reasoning.
As Gary explained during his Pubcon Keynote, this was done because out of all the sites using noindex, only <0.001% were using noindex correctly, the rest of the sites using noindex robots were harming themselves by using the tag incorrectly. Rather than allowing sites to continue inadvertently harming themselves through inadequate noindex and nofollow tags, these types of tags are understood as suggestions rather than rules to Google.
Understanding Google Core Algorithm Updates
While Google algorithm updates can be frightening for your site, they’re not a signal that something is wrong with your site. As Gary explained in his keynote, updates that result in a drop of your organic traffic indicate that there are things you can change on your site, but not it’s not necessarily a signal that your site is broken.
Instead, if you’re facing drops in traffic due to an update, it’s important to see what top-ranking pages are doing differently.