Google has added a new help document named valid page metadata that talks about how Google can process invalid or inconsistent HTML with the issues around invalid markup. Google also updated its help document on title links with a new section on “no clear main headline” in the troubleshooting section.
Valid page metadata help document
The new “use valid page metadata” help document can be found here, and it reads “using valid page metadata ensures that Google can process the HTML markup of your pages.” “Google tries to understand HTML even when it is invalid or inconsistent with the HTML standard, but errors in the markup can cause problems with your website in Google Search,” the document added. For example, if you use an invalid element in the head, Google ignores any elements that appear after the invalid element.
This is more of an issue for schema or structured data but can potentially also impact other areas in which Google may not understand an element in your HTML.
Google said you should only place valid metadata inside the
<head>. Valid metadata includes the following HTML elements:
Google added not to use invalid elements in the head:
The following elements are invalid when used in the
<head>, and therefore aren’t supported by Google Search when placed in the
- Any other HTML element
Updated title link help document trouble shooting item
Google also updated its title link help document, which was originally published in October 2021. Google first renamed the sub-head from “Avoid common issues with title elements” to “Troubleshooting common issues.”
Google also added a new section named “no clear main headline” that reads:
When there’s more than one large, prominent headline, and it isn’t clear which text is the main headline for the page. For example, a page has two or more headlines that use the same styling or heading elements. If Google Search detects that there are multiple large, prominent headlines, it may use the first headline as the text for the title link. Consider ensuring that your main headline is distinctive from other text on a page and stands out as being the most prominent on the page (for example, using a larger font, putting the headline in the first visible h1 element on the page, etc).
Why we care
SEOs, in general, should be up-to-date on the Google Search developer help documentation. Many of you have already read through these documents once or twice. Learning about new documents being posted and changes to existing documents can save you time on understanding what has changed or how Google sees SEO and Google Search.
These two changes may help you communicate to your stakeholders how to build better pages that work better for Google Search.