Webmaster Hangouts often bring solid gold nuggets of information into play. None more so than when Google’s John Mueller takes part. In this instance, the Google guru shared two important tips for better web content in 2020.
Specifically, a webmaster posed the question regarding the indexation of Product Description Pages:
“Do you think moving the images down and the relevant text up would help Google better interpret the focus of each of these pages?”
To which, Mueller stated quite clearly that content focus cannot be improved with such simple adjustments.
“Just shifting the location of content within an HTML page I don’t think that plays a big role at all,” he wrote.
Instead, he went into a little more detail by way of two major tips for better web content. One of which involved the appropriate use of headings, the other focusing on the potential problems posed by interstitials:
Web Content Tip 1 – Better Use of Headings
According to Mueller, one of the biggest mistakes webmasters can make is placing too heavy emphasis on keywords in headings. A popular and effective tactic almost two decades ago, Google has evolved to place increasingly lower emphasis on keyword use in headings.
Heading tags still play a critical role in quality content creation, but don’t instruct Google on the keywords your website should rank for.
Instead, heading tags should be used primarily for providing indications as to the content of the section that follows. All sections of a page should cover a relevant sub-topic of the wider page topic – their headers reflecting this subject matter accordingly.
“Headings are useful in that we can take a heading and see what images and which text kind of apply to that heading,” advised Mueller.
Roughly translated, headings come together with images and text to form a unified ‘piece’ of content, which must be cohesive and consistent. In the event that a heading does not directly relate to the text below, it may adversely affect the page’s ranking score. The same also applies to images, for which positioning alone isn’t a major factor:
“But just shifting around things with HTML or with CSS I don’t see that playing a big role there at all. So in that regard, I wouldn’t really worry about this,” he said.
Web Content Tip 2 – Careful Use of Interstitials
The second of these tips concerned interstitials – popular tools used to display content before the expected web page appears. Though useful in a variety of ways, interstitials that are displayed improperly can actually interfere with content indexing.
Mueller stated that he had picked up on an example of a country selection interstitial that could affect Google’s capacity to effectively and accurately index the content of the page beyond.
“One thing I did notice when looking at that example page that you link to is that when I loaded up, after a certain period of time it switches to… a country picker interstitial,” he said.
I don’t know how you’re …triggering this and if you trigger this in all locations but for example if you were to trigger this when Googlebot crawls and renders your pages that might also result in Googlebot not being able to index your pages properly. So that’s one thing you might want to double check.”
He also stated that an alternative interface object such as a banner could be a better choice as a country selection of feature for visitors.
“Because if you’re using a banner then even if that does end up being rendered in Google’s systems then it wouldn’t block the indexing of the rest of your content,” he said.
Whereas if you have an interstitial that in the worst case… takes out all of the old content and replaces it with this… country or language picker, then we might not have that much content left on the that page for indexing.”