Google announces ‘Virtual Webmaster Unconference’

Google announced this year’s Google Webmaster Conference will be held virtually, and there won’t be any formal presentations.

Googlers have proposed 18 different topics. While there won’t be formal presentations, Google said there will be a “series of interactive discussions.”

“In this event, you decide what sessions will happen and will actively shape the content in them, by taking part in discussions, feedback sessions, and similar formats that need your input,” Google wrote. That means you are expected “to actively participate in the sessions you’re interested in via voice and/or video call through Google Meet,” Google said.

How to register. You can register here before August 19. Google will let you know about your status for the conference by August 20.

When is the conference? The conference takes place on August 26th, starting at 8:00 a.m. PDT.

What are the sessions? Here is a list of sessions as Google posted them:

  • Ads and SEO Mythbusting: How can ads impact or not your SEO? We’d like to hear about your experience with Ads and SEO.
  • Tips to get your content displayed in Discover feed: Google recently updated the help document on Google Discover. In this session, attendees can learn about tips to increase their presence in Discover.
  • Approches to improve Core Web Vitals for non tech-savvy webmasters: There are many ways to improve CWV. Some of them are easy to implement but some of them aren’t. In this session, attendees can learn about the optimization of CWV that is relatively easy to implement while showing noticeable improvements.
  • Web performance, what metrics are important, how to measure, how to spot what is a priority: What ways are there to gather details? How do you access them currently? What do the metrics mean for you / your site? What aspects confuse you or don’t work for your situation? Target: mid to advanced users.
  • Mobile/desktop diffing – parity findings: Why is it important to find the gaps? What’s truly at risk? Prioritizing fixes.
  • Helping you (or your clients) understand how their WordPress site is doing on the web with Site Kit. Come ready to discuss topics such as: How do you combine information from different Google products to understand how your site is doing? How do you set goals for your site and translate them to specific metrics to track? If you maintain sites for clients, what key metrics are they interested in and how do you share those with them?
  • Common JavaScript issues: Attendees to this session will share the roadblocks they’re finding when using JavaScript. This is a great opportunity to share your experience as well as hear from other members of the community.
  • Brainstorming session: how can Search Console team further help publishing on the open-web?: The Search Console team invites you to a brainstorming session where we want to hear about your day-to-day challenges with publishing on the open web and try to think together of additional tools we can provide to help with these challenges.
  • E-Commerce SEO 101: Best Practices for Optimizing Online Stores: E-commerce stores come in all shapes and sizes -from commercial platforms such as Magento, Prestashop or WooCommerce, to custom-built and enterprise ones, online shops often face challenges coming up with the right SEO setup. This session will cover common issues, solutions and best practices that developers, webmasters and SEOs should keep in mind when building and optimizing e-commerce sites.
  • CrUX Show and Tell: Bring your CrUX tools and show off how you use the dataset to understand real-user experiences. For any custom solutions, describe how you built it and what your feature wishlist looks like.
  • Accessibility & JS: This session covers: – Ramifications of neglecting accessibility – Testing at-scale – Prioritizing fixes
  • Hreflang: how to implement, when to implement: Taking a look at the different approaches to specifying hreflang (tag, header, sitemaps) When should you use it? When shouldn’t you? What issues do you face?
  • Improving Search documentation: How can we improve documentation to help from SEOs to beginners, or developers? Bring examples and suggestions! Are case studies are also helpful – how do you use them?
  • Mobile first indexing and how to prepare for it: Are you confused on what mobile first indexing is? Do you feel lost on how to prepare your site for it? Bring your questions! We’ll help to address your confusion around this topic.
  • Talking about talking about SEO: We think Google’s messages & information about SEO are getting better & clearer, but we often get flak for being vague. How can we improve in ways that help the average person? Bring examples & suggestions!
  • Communicating Google publisher policies and monetized updates: How do monetized policy updates change the publisher experience? Our policies are constantly evolving. How can Google convey updates to publishers in a clearer way? How can we make your life easier as a partner? How clear are our policy documentation / training materials?
  • Fun with scripts!: Robots.txt diff checker – automated! Mixed content warnings – identifying assets per page.
  • Common issues with Structured Data for Rich Snippets: Google documents guidelines for a gallery of rich results that you can obtain via structured data. This is an opportunity to talk about your struggles to enable those sought after enhancements and to discuss possible improvements.

More details. Googlers and Webmaster Product Experts from the community have proposed the following sessions. Google said, “Depending on your feedback during registration, some of these sessions may not take place and we will group the sessions into two blocks.” Here is a quick video from Aurora Morales and Martin Splitt on this unconference.

Why we care. Generally it is hard to get a spot at these Google webmaster conferences. But now that this is virtual, this may be your best way to get a ticket to this event. It will be interesting to see how this conference is handled over the day and how the community is able to interact live.

You may have a chance to ask Googlers your burning SEO questions.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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