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Q&A With Google’s Martin Splitt


How does Google Search Console use product schema markup?

Does semantic HTML make it easier for search engines to understand your website?

Competition is fierce, and you need every easy win, but is semantic HTML worth your time?

On Feb 23, I moderated a webinar with Google’s very own Martin Splitt, who shared his opinions, thoughts, and insights on various technical SEO topics, including semantic HTML, Google Search Console, indexing, client- and server-side rendering, and more.

Here is a summary of the webinar. To access the entire Q&A, complete the form.

What Are The Best Practices For Error Handling With SPAs?

“My client has a single-page application; SPA HTTP status codes that are 400 or 500 are not handled correctly by the server.

What are the best practices for error handling when working with SPAs?”

Martin Splitt Says:

“There are ways to deal with that. I know exactly what you’re dealing with because what happens is that pretty much the server doesn’t do much in terms of handling requests.

It just gives out a 200 request for whatever URL you handle. Then, the client-side JavaScript decides this is an error, leading to software force and potentially gnarly situations.

Same with, more or less, 500 error codes and single-page applications. Similar story.

What you can do, however, is if you understand that it’s a 404, you have two options because two things can happen that you don’t want to happen.

  • One is an error page that gets indexed and appears in search results where it shouldn’t.
  • The other thing is that you are creating 404s in the search console and probably muddling with your data.”

[Discover how to avoid these two things] Instantly access the webinar →

How Does Google Prioritize Header Structure?

“If two H1s on a page have different content, are the H1s fighting over which one has the most weight or value for Google to crawl?

Also, how is Google prioritizing the header structure within that content?”

Martin Splitt Says:

“It’s about structure. I can’t emphasize this enough, if you choose to have H1s as your top-level structure of the content, that’s fine.

It just means that the top level of the content is structured along the H1s.

If you have one H1 and nothing else under it except for H2s and then content H2 and then content H2, that doesn’t change anything.

That means you structured your content differently. You didn’t structure it better. You didn’t structure it worse. You just structured it differently.

But both of these structures make sense. If you choose H1 to be your overall title, that doesn’t mean that it’s valued more or means more to anyone – search users, whoever.

It just means introducing a different level and then other sub-levels. It doesn’t matter.

It does not make a difference if you have an H1 and then H2, H2, H2, H2, H2, or if you have H1 content, H1 content, and H1 content.

This means there is not this overall document level H1 heading, but that one we get from the title already.

So fundamentally, it doesn’t make that much of a difference.

[Get the rest of the conversation] Instantly access the webinar →

For SEO In 2023, Where Should You Focus?

“What should folks be focusing on right now?

[Any] points that you may feel that SEOs or developers are overlooking?”

Martin Splitt Says:

“I would say make sure that you are focusing on the content quality and that you are focusing on delivering value to your users.

Those have been, will always be, and are the most important things right now. Everything else should follow from that.

Suppose you are spending time fine-tuning technical details or fine-tuning your website’s structure or markup. In that case, you are likely missing out on the more significant opportunities of asking yourself what people need from our website.

What do they expect from our website, and how can we deliver that better, faster, and more pleasantly?”

[Get the whole Q&A] Instantly access the webinar →

Other Technical SEO Questions Answered In The On-Demand Webinar

Check out the following list of additional questions that Martin Splitt addresses during this on-demand webinar:

  • Why is semantic SEO important?
  • Is there anything that can be done within semantic HTML to better communicate with Google?
  • Should schema markup information match what’s in the document?
  • What parts of semantic search does Google need the most help with?
  • What is Martin Splitt’s opinion on header tags?
  • Is the responsibility of the implementation of semantic HTML on the SEO professional or the developer?
  • How accessible is semantic HTML within a WordPress or Gutenberg-style environment?
  • How compatible is semantic HTML with WCAG?
  • What is the relationship of semantic HTML to the overall concept of the semantic web RDF, etc?
  • Can the wrong thumbnails be rectified utilizing semantic HTML?

[Get all the answers] Instantly access the webinar →

  • Is there another type of schema markup that can still refer to the organization as well as IDs on article pages?
  • Can adding schema markup to show the product category hierarchy and modifying HTML help Google better understand the relationship between the product and its category?
  • Is preserving header hierarchy more important than which header you use?
  • Is it bad practice to display different content on pages to returning users versus new users?
  • What are the best practices for error handling with SPAs?
  • What is the best way to deal with search query parameters being indexed in Google?
  • Should you be worried about product pages not being included within the XML site map?
  • How does Google prioritize headers?
  • How important is it for developers and SEO pros to start implementing semantic HTML now?
  • What should SEO pros & developers be focusing on?

[Get all the answers] Instantly access the webinar →

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

Discover The Top 3 Ways To Build Authority By Going Beyond Just Link Building

Join Sabrina Hipps, VP of Partner Development, and Jeremy Rivera, Director of Content Analysis at CopyPress, as they share expert tips to help supercharge your marketing efforts and answer your most pressing content promotion questions.


Image Credits:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal



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