In a Reddit thread recently, a user raised concerns about whether the Google bot, the search engine’s web-crawling bot, collects content placed on the “before post content” hook as part of the post or not. John Mueller addressed the significant change in its indexing approach to answer the question, but left the general queries unanswered.
The individual who raised the concerns on Reddit uses a theme known as Salient, a popular WordPress theme that is integrated with various features, codes, or hooks. It allows users to insert promotional content ahead of the main post content or in specific sections of their choice. From making changes to a webpage structure to adding themes or plugins, these hooks help make the post more user-friendly, with no need for unnecessary fuss.
Now, coming back to the query, this user’s primary worry centered around whether Googlebot perceives these inserted banner ads as integral parts of the main post and how this might impact SEO efforts.
Image source: Reddit
Mueller’s response not only addressed the concerns of the user but also dug deeper into the underlying mechanics of website optimization. He acknowledged that it’s not feasible to directly “noindex” specific segments. But at the same time, it automatically highlighted that there are alternative tactics to manage the SEO impact of such content.
Image source: Reddit
Now the question is, can you improve search indexing accuracy while providing clear indications to Googlebot about the main content of the page? If yes, how?
The answer is as clear as it gets. You can improve your SEO with the help of semantic HTML. It helps Google understand a webpage’s content structure by using specific HTML tags that define the purpose and context of different web page sections. Using these tags can effectively communicate the hierarchy and relevance of content within the pages to the bot.
Mueller highlighted using the <main> HTML element as an important tool in the content organization in WordPress posts. If used correctly, this element designates the section enclosed within it as the webpage’s main content. It also signals Googlebot that this area holds crucial information that should be prioritized for search indexing and ranking.
For example, you can use the <aside> HTML element where banner ads are placed within the main content. According to official HTML specifications, it indicates content that is secondarily related to the main content, but at the same time, it is separate from it. It is mostly used where the inserted banner ads are considered secondary to the primary content of the post.
The implications of these insights are substantial. Webmasters and SEO practitioners can implement semantic HTML strategies to ensure that Googlebot accurately identifies the main content, differentiates it from tangential content like banner ads, and indexes the webpage more effectively. This, in turn, leads the way to improved search engine visibility and a more user-friendly experience for website visitors.
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