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August 2020 Newsletter


Introducing our new indexing manager, we’d appreciate your input to our results page redesign, and a few friendly reminders.

Team Announcement

We Welcome Our New Indexing Manager

Carter Baxter, who has been serving as Chief of Practices for 18F, has joined the team as its Indexing Manager on detail. Carter has extensive experience as a developer and will support our customers with all indexing related inquiries and requests. Welcome Carter!

Your Input Requested

Search Results Page Redesign : We Need Your Help

As part of the work we are doing to redesign our search results pages, we are trying to survey how many sites use the two different USWDS header options. And for this part, we need your help! Please respond to this two-question survey to share which header option you’re using for your site. Thank you in advance for your time and help with this request!

Header Design Survey

Not able to use Google Forms? Email us at

Friendly Reminder

Tell Us about Upcoming Site Redesigns

Do you have a site redesign in the works? Congrats! Please give us advance notice so we can make sure your results are ready at relaunch: there are a number of back-end tasks we’ll need to do with you, such as reindexing your previous content and getting the new results ready to go at launch time.

Best - tell us a month or more ahead of launch

Good - tell us two weeks ahead of launch

OK but not great - tell us a few days ahead of launch

We will definitely still help you - it slips your mind and you remember after launch when you see the results are still from the old website.

Read through our Checklist for a Successful Website Redesign and let us know if you have any questions, or an upcoming launch!

SEO Pro Tip

Encode Your URLs

In order for URLs to be properly handled, they must use only ASCII characters. This means that special characters and non-ASCII characters must be transformed, or encoded. Currently we see about 5% of domains are including unencoded characters in some of their sitemap URLs. Here are some examples of the kinds of characters that can cause errors, and the proper way each should be written in a URL:

Character UTF-8 Encoded version
ñ %C3%B1
] %5D
“ “ (Space character) %20

Read more on ASCII encoding of characters

Read more details from the XML Sitemaps Protocol

Release Notes

Want to learn about the latest features, fixes, and focuses of the Search team? We post monthly Release Notes on our website.

Read the Latest Notes

August 01, 2020