Google Adds Features to URL Inspection Tool; Gives Advice on Google News

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

A successful SEO marketing campaign depends on accurately monitor the links on a website and using the best practices to boost pages on search engine results. To prevent the search engine from being abused, Google keeps the algorithm that determines search results a secret. However, they do offer general advice and tools that can provide some guidance to website owners. Google recently made an update to the URL inspection tool to make it more useful and provided some guidance on ranking better on Google News.

As the name suggests, the URL Inspection Tool is something website owners can use to check the links on their site for basic SEO issues. This tool won’t provide anyone with some secret trick to ranking first on Google, but it will point out many of the issues that prevent a page from being properly indexed. Users can access the URL Inspection Tool from the Google Search Console.

The main change to the URL Inspection Tool that has been noticed is the ability to see the specific codes that Google encounters when the tool is run. This is includes seeing the HTTP response code for when everything went through correctly or the code for what specifically went wrong. This will include a JavaScript log. Similarly, the tool will now show when data couldn’t be accessed by Google. There will even be a screenshot tool that will show you how the page looks to Google.

Having access to more detailed information will help website owners find the issues on their site and address them. This is important for SEO marketing. Using the URL Inspection Tool won’t make the content more SEO-friendly, but it will ensure that all of the content is being indexed by Google.

On the subject of creating more SEO-friendly content, Google has provided some help when it comes to the Google News platform. Everyone from major news outlets to small blogs want to get picked up by Google News. It’s an instant way to get a large amount of traffic to news-related content. While the advice from Google isn’t anything new, it’s a good reminder of what search engine algorithms are paying attention to.

There is a lot of advice listed, and it’s worthwhile for website owners and bloggers to read the entire guidance. But there were a few items of note that may not be obvious to people at first. In their attempts to get ahead on Google News, websites and bloggers could be harming their own efforts.

An example of this can be seen with updating articles. If an article is updated with new information, it may be worthy of a new time and date. For example, if someone gives a new statement or their has been a major change related to the information. However, Google warns that it must be a significant update and to not change a few words and call it a new article. Similarly, don’t create a very slightly updated story from one previously published, then delete the old story and redirect to the new one. That violates Google’s article URLs guidelines.

Google has taken a strong stance against duplicate content, but that may encompass more than many people realize. For example, rewriting articles in not acceptable to Google. This is when someone takes content and changes the wording a little in an attempt to make it distinct. Automatically scraped content is also unallowed (which is good for writers, since it means it’ll take a little longer before AI takes over journalism). Google’s point has been that content must be original, or at the very least, make a significant contribution to what was there before.

As they write in the guidelines, “Google News seeks to reward independent, original journalistic content by giving credit to the originating publisher, as both users and publishers would prefer. This means we try not to allow duplicate content—which includes scraped, rewritten, or republished material—to perform better than the original content.”

The post has advice on issues involving, AMP, headline construction, HTTPS, and more. It’s something that website owners should review. Even if they aren’t trying to rank on Google News, the principles Google lays out are fairly consistent on their algorithms.

For more news about Google, read this article on recent changes to the way businesses on local search can be messaged.

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