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Google Talks: Improving Content Focus

From Proper Use of Headings to Interstitials – Google Talks Improving Content Focus

As what we can only assume is an early Christmas present, Google has offered up some sound advice for improving web content.

During a recent Webmaster Hangout this week, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, was asked how content marketers can go about improving page content focus.

More specifically, Mueller was asked about poorly indexed Product Description Pages and whether making content more prominent would help with this.

Mueller responded that no, he did not believe this to be the case. “Just shifting the location of content within an HTML page, I don’t think that plays a big role at all. So, in that regard, I wouldn’t really worry about this,” he said.

As a bonus, Mueller also offered up two key pieces of content advice.

Content Tip #1: Proper Use of Headings

A common misconception is that headings are considered important ranking factors. Because of this misconception, important keywords are often added to headings when they don’t need to be.

So, while heading tags are important, they aren’t a tool for telling Google which keywords you’re looking to rank for.

So, what are they useful for? “Headings are useful in that we can take a heading and see what images and which text kind of apply to that heading,” said Mueller, reiterating that moving text around to make it more prominent over images will not help to get content properly indexed.

Tip #2: Interstitials Can Block Indexing

Another interesting nugget of wisdom provided by Mueller is that an improperly deployed interstitial can interfere with content indexing.

When provided with a link to a particular website as an example, Mueller noticed an interstitial for picking a country that might block Google from properly indexing content.

“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.”

As for what he would recommend, Mueller suggested using a banner or other user interface object for site visitors to select the country they are in.

“Because if you’re using a banner, 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. 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 page for indexing,” he added.

So, there you have it. While this may not be the secret to cracking BERT, Mueller’s words do still provide some interesting insight from a content marketing and SEO perspective.