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Transcript Of The Office Hours Hangout
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JOHN MUELLER: Welcome, everyone,
to today's Google WebmasterCentral Office Hours Hangout.My name is John Mueller.I am a webmaster trends analyst
here at Google in Switzerland.And a part of what I do is talk
with webmasters and publisherslike you all.It seems I have
some new faces herein the Hangout,
which is fantastic.Do any of you who joined
these for the first timehave any questions that
you'd like to have answeredor anything that's been unclear
that's been on your mind?
MALE SPEAKER 1: Hey,
John, I've got a question.
JOHN MUELLER: OK.
MALE SPEAKER 1:
We've got a blog.And we've got about
800 blog posts,and those are
ranking quite well.And I'm 100% sure
that those blogsdon't have any algorithmic
or manual issues with Google.So what happened was
last weekend suddenly17 of those 800 blog
posts have disappeared.So the first thing
I did was checkif those blog posts are
crawlable for Googlebot.So there's no
no-follow, no-index tag.There's nothing in
the robots tags.And I am quite confused
because those blog posts wereranking quite well and driving
quite a lot of traffic,and suddenly, it's
just disappeared.So one our developers were
mentioning about [? jQuery ?]comments and one
[? jQuery ?] comment.They just forget to close a
comment in the [? jQuery ?]in the header section.So we were just asking if
does that confuse Google bot?Do they index, so to
say, the blog posts?
JOHN MUELLER: That
shouldn't be the case.So essentially
what you're sayingis you kind of had some broken
HTML on these pages, right?It's like the plug-in
generated some HTML thatwasn't well-formed,
something around that.That shouldn't be a
reason why it wouldremove a page from the index.So usually what we'd look
for there is somethinglike a no-index robots tag, or
if it's maybe returning a 404,or maybe it's a 500 error,
or something like that.Sometimes what we've
seen is that the serverreturns this just to Googlebot
for some weird reason.So maybe they were trying
to do something elsethat was kind of special
there, and somehow that broke.And now Googlebot is seeing
an error or no-index,and normal users are
seeing the full content.So that might be something
that's happening there.I guess that's more
of a technical issue.One thing I try to
differentiate is whether or notthis page is actually completely
gone from our search results,from the index, or if
it's just not ranking.
MALE SPEAKER 1: No,
it's quite gone.So you cannot just
even find any site.You cannot find it
in a Google database,which is quite confusing.
JOHN MUELLER: So like a site
query would say no results?
MALE SPEAKER 1:
Yeah, no results.
JOHN MUELLER: OK,
in a case like that,either the Web Spam team took
action on it, which usually wesend you an email
through Webmaster Toolsso you'd see that there.That's the first thing
I'd double check there.The other thing that
might be happeningis especially if this
happened from one dayto the next, that's
something where maybe thereis a URL removal request
that was submitted.
MALE SPEAKER 1: We double
checked everything.So we don't have any
requests, URL removal requestand the manual action messages.So it's a kind of
a mysterious foe.
JOHN MUELLER: Yeah,
so one thing youneed to watch for with
the URL removal requestis we remove things regardless.So if there are kind
of like similar URLs,then we will remove that, which
means that you have the HTTP,HTTPS versions www, non-www,
and you have one site removalfor one of those versions,
then that will applyfor all of those versions.So, for example, if you try
to remove let's say the HTTPSversions from the search
results because you wantedto focus on the HTTP ones,
then the site removalrequest there would
actually applyto both of those versions.
MALE SPEAKER 1: So
we didn't actuallydo any remove requests.And as you say, if
it's a manual action,you should actually
receive an email.So the reason is--
there is no reasonto get it manually removed
by Google because that's justcompletely normal
unique blog posts.
JOHN MUELLER: One
thing you could dois maybe send me some
of those sample URLs,and I can take a
look afterwards.You can send them
to me on Google+,and I will take a
look afterwards.I can't guarantee that
there's something specificI can get back to you.Maybe what can also
happen is that there'ssome kind of a
glitch on our sidewhere, for whatever reason,
these URLs dropped out briefly,and they'll drop back in as
soon as we reprocess them.But I can double
check on our side.
MALE SPEAKER 1:
OK, that's great.
JOHN MUELLER: Sure.All right more questions?What can we start off with?
MALE SPEAKER 2: Hey,
John, can start with one?
JOHN MUELLER: All right.
MALE SPEAKER 2:
Thank you very much.A pretty short one.A product page has additional
information structured in tabs,because otherwise, we'll
render the page too long,and we'll lose the page speed.Well, I know there has been
talk a lot on this methodlike adding that
info on the same pageand transforming the tabs into
expanding menus and so on.What I'm interested
in it's what'syour latest advice on getting
that content indexed tofor adding a plus value?
JOHN MUELLER: The
latest advice is stillthe same as the previous
advice, I'd say there.So essentially if it's critical
information for your page--and make sure it's visible.If it's critical information
that isn't visible now,maybe it makes sense
to set up separate URLsfor that information where
that tab is open by default,and it's visible.If it's just
additional information,then it's fine to keep it
in a hidden tab like that.
MALE SPEAKER 2: OK, thank you.
JOHN MUELLER: All
right, I think, Darcy,you had something as well?
DARCY: Yeah, I did leave
a question in the chat.But I'll ask it anyway.Specifically to
automotive industry,I'm just wondering,
if when it makessense to combine multiple
businesses into one website.So multiple businesses
have websites.They're not exactly the same.But they want to have the
Walmart-type structure whereit's here's the brand, and then
it's your Toronto, Mississauga,whatever, your different
city-based brands.When does that make sense?What needs to happen
for that to make sensefrom an SEO standpoint?
JOHN MUELLER: Essentially
that's up to you.So from my point of view, if you
have more than a small numberof sites that are essentially
targeting something similar,I'd aim to combine
those more because whatwill happen there is you'll have
a much stronger central sitefor all of this
information than you wouldif you had to maintain these
individual websites, whichprobably would have trouble
ranking on their own.So that's something where if
you have different locationsor different niches
of the same businessthat you're active
in, then that'ssomething where as soon as
you go past maybe two or threesites, I'd aim to really try to
combine that into one website.And to combine that, you
essentially just redirect URLsto that central place and
see that as a site move.But essentially
it's something wherethere's no hard line on our
side where we say, well,if you have four websites,
you must do exactly this,or if you have websites that are
different in 50% of the wordson a page or some--
I don't know,some other metric,
then you must do itlike this, that's not something
where we'd have a hard line on.That's more something
where you shouldtry to think about it from
a marketing point of view,like do you want to
present your business?Is this essentially
one business that youwant to present to users
as something really strong?Or do you really, really want
to separate these essentiallyparts of your
business completelyand make sure that users really
identify them as somethingcompletely separate.So that might be if you like
targeting completely differentaudiences, if you
have something that'sfor consumers and something
for other businesses,maybe it makes sense to keep
that completely separated.
DARCY: Yeah, my concern
was just over the typesof inventory and products.One site might not carry
the same site specificto automotive, so the
same car as the other one.So that's why it's not sort
of the whole Walmart thingwhere you can say
it's out of stock.They may never even
carry that item.So that's where I
got-- I wasn't sure.Do they need to share
the same inventoryfor that to make sense?
JOHN MUELLER: That's
essentially up to you.You can do it either way.I've seen sites that focus
on specific locationswhere you say, in this location,
we have the set of inventory,and it's kind of
structured that way.And other sites take
focus on the inventoryand say this is what
we sell, and it'savailable in these
and these locations.So that's not
something where I'dsay from an SEO
point of view youneed to do it like
this or like that.It's really up to
you how you wantto present your content, your
products, your locations.
DARCY: Excellent, thank you.
BARUCH LABUNSKI: John, can
I ask you a quick questionabout server errors?
JOHN MUELLER: Sure.
So suppose there'sabout three to four servers for
a site in a period of one year.Does that have any effect
on the rankings or no?I know you were already
starting to answer this.But I just wanted to know
because it sticks therefor about a month, two months,
until it disappears backto zero.
JOHN MUELLER: That
generally wouldn'thave any effect on the
site unless those URLs wereaffected by that server error.So, of course, if an important
URL on your site has a 404,then that will
drop out of search,and that'll affect your website.On the other hand, if it's
some random URL that actuallynever existed, and
it's a 404, then thathas absolutely no effect.
BARUCH LABUNSKI: OK, thanks.
DON HALBERT: John?
JOHN MUELLER: Hi.
DON HALBERT: A question-- did
you get my message in Google+?
JOHN MUELLER: Possibly.
DON HALBERT: I sent it 15
minutes before it started.
JOHN MUELLER: Oh, then
I probably didn't .
DON HALBERT: Do
you remember-- OK,I don't know how to
get you the websitebecause I'm really, really
nervous about putting itinto the chat,
because the last timeI did that, I ended
up with an attack,and we still haven't
recovered from that.So how can we do this?Do you remember my
website by chance?The one with the
JOHN MUELLER: Historic Penguin.I don't know.
DON HALBERT: The vacations one?OK, whatever.I've been attacked enough times.I'll put it into the chat.
JOHN MUELLER: There's
also a way you can senda direct message in the chat.
DON HALBERT: Oh,
well, a little late.The cat's out of the bag.
JOHN MUELLER: Actually,
the people here are nice.
DON HALBERT: All
right, in a nutshell,the advice I've
gotten from you is A,it was a historic Penguin
that originally hit it.I had a site audit done with
the group here about a yearand a bit ago.And for the most part,
everything looked good.And some people were
suggesting, hey,you need to start over
with a new domain.But you were adamant
that the domain was fine.Since then I pay close
attention to what is told to Roband what has been
told to Gary Leebecause they seem to be in
a very similar situation.As of late, we've actually
gone down to a skeleton staff.And we lost eight more people
because we can't-- we're havinga very hard time
keeping the doors open.It's not your issue.My question is I've
done a hreflang.I've done an entire translation
of the website into Spanish.So if you go, you'll see an EN.You'll also see an ES.But now I haven't
done a Fetch as Googlesince February or whatever,
which is good product for mebecause I was doing it weekly.But I'm desperate
right now, John.I need to know--
I was anticipatinga release of something
that will at some point--algorithms hitting your website.And I'm wondering has there
been any more talk [INAUDIBLE]because right now we spent
thousands translatingit and applying the hreflang.And right now we have
a sandbox websitewith a complete
redesign of the sitebecause that
template was actuallybased on a template
design company off of oneof the major theme sites.But they're out of Moldova,
and I'm at my wit's end here.I don't know what to do.So we're actually sandboxing a
new complete different design,and maybe that'll help it.I don't know what's going
on with that website.But Google hates us.
JOHN MUELLER: We
try not to hate you.When did you put
up the new design?It looks really nice.So from my point of
view, it's not somethingwhere you're waiting
on a Penguin refreshor anything like that.It's essentially just
our normal algorithms,the way that they're
looking at the site.And I think something like a
redesign, from what I remember,it looked very
different in the past.I could imagine that
this is somethingthat would have a significant
effect on your websitewhere we look at
this, and we say,well, this looks really nice.This looks like a really
high-quality trustworthy sitethat we should be
showing more in search.So from that point of
view, it's somethingwhere if you just recently
put this redesign up,I could imagine that you
would see some changes.No?
DON HALBERT: No that's--
the sandbox site is stillin the sandbox.I have not even come
close to finishing it.But before I invest another
$10,000 in the redesign,I wanted you to look.That's the same design
[INAUDIBLE] and an ES version.And the canonical is applied.
JOHN MUELLER: I'd probably have
to take a look at the detailsthere to see what's happening.But in general, it's not that
there's something specificthat we're waiting for for your
website where we're saying,well, you need to
do this, or you needto wait this algorithm out.It's essentially our
normal algorithms,the way they'd look at the site
to try to make sure that we'reshowing something that's
really high quality that peopleactually want to see.And I probably would have to
take a look at your newer siteif that's not the current
one that's live there.
DON HALBERT: Would you
be so kind as to tell mewhether or not I still
have a historic Penguinon my back on this website?
JOHN MUELLER: You
don't have anythingwhere I would say you'd need
to focus on links there.So that's something
where if you'vebeen focusing on links for
Penguin or other web spamissues, that's not something
where at the momentI'd say you have to
worry about that.
DON HALBERT: Thank
you very much.That's very helpful.
MALE SPEAKER 3: John,
is it a good time for meto ask for any kind of
update as well then?Since I haven't asked
you for about six months,I've laid off for a while.And we have just finished
in the last two weeks.
JOHN MUELLER: But can you
copy and paste your URLinto the chat or somewhere?
MALE SPEAKER 3:
Well, this is the onethat we're currently on.This was-- that was the old.We have just changed, as
you said, the entire HTML.It's completely responsive.It's new.It looks similar.But now it's 100% different.The content and the products and
everything is still the same.But this site is now
different to the old one.So the old one is the X.
JOHN MUELLER: I don't
see anything holding backyour new site.So I think that's kind of
evolving as it organicallywould be evolving.So it's not--
MALE SPEAKER 3:
There's no hreflang.There's no 301s.There's no nothing now in terms
of being officially connectedto the old.
JOHN MUELLER: It
looks like the trafficis going up as well, right?
MALE SPEAKER 3:
Yeah, but that tendsto happen whenever
we do anything.So when we-- if we
do the hreflang,it works for a week or two.If we do something else,
it works for a week or two.If we 301, it works
for a week or two.When we unwind the 301, that
works for a week or two.And then it's not
until six weeksdown the line after any
change that we actuallysee what the genuine effect
is once the whole thing's beenspidered, and it's flushed
out and essentiallybeen caught again.
JOHN MUELLER: From
what I see, I thinkyour site is headed in
the right direction.And things are looking up there.It's obviously hard to
compare to the old site.But the new site looks like
it's as it normally should.
MALE SPEAKER 3: Right, and
there's no connected penaltyor connected--
JOHN MUELLER: Not
that I see there, no.
MALE SPEAKER 3: --change that's
going to hold that one back?
JOHN MUELLER: No.
MALE SPEAKER 3: All right,
OK, I shall everyone elseget in before I pester
you with something else.
JOHN MUELLER: All right.Let me go through some of the
questions that were submitted.And we'll see how far
we can get and go backto questions from all of
you here in the Hangout."How do I deal
with content that'ssimilar for multiple products.For example, FAQ pages
for different productswhere the only change is
the title, description, H1.Will having one page limit
my ranking potential,or should I create
multiple pages?"Essentially that's up to you.I try to focus on combining
those pages as muchas possible so that you
have one really strongpage rather than essentially
a diluted set of pagesthat are attached to your site.So as much as possible,
I'd try to do somethinglike a rel canonical pointing
at your preferred versionso that we can focus
all of our signalson that canonical version so
that we can really show that ashighly as possible in search.What will happen otherwise is
we will index these separately.We'll crawl them separately.And we'll try to figure
out which one of theseis most relevant in search.We won't show all of them.We'll pick one of them
and show it in searchbecause it's essentially
very similar to the rest.And that might not be the
one that you want us to show.And it might not
be as strong as youwant us to show it
because we essentiallyhave to balance between all
these different versions.So if you know that this content
is essentially identical,use ta rel canonical.Point at the one that
you want to have indexed,and we'll pick it up from there."We're under manual action
for unnatural links.We eliminated 96% of
all unnatural linksand disavowed the remaining 4%.Google rejected our last
request and provided usthree links whose domains
were already disavowed.What's up there?"I don't know.I'd have to take a look.So if you want, you
can send me that URL.And I can take a look
with the Web Spam teamto see if there's
anything specific that wecan let you know about.It's really hard to say without
taking a look at the detailsthere.It might also be that you're
looking at the 100% unnaturallinks that you
found are actuallyjust a part of the
unnatural linksthat we consider
to be unnatural.So that's something
where maybe itmakes sense to give
you some other exampleURLs that you can focus on.Maybe there's an
issue on our sidethat we can pick up as well.So having that URL
would really help.'When optimizing for speed
and using PageSpeed Insights,is there a number for
mobile and desktopthat we know we're good?It's hard to get 100% on
both mobile and desktop.What are the ranking
effects there?"Essentially, we look at
mostly mobile friendlinesswhich is part of that--
what you can testwith the mobile-friendly test.And past that, the
numbers that yousee there are essentially more
of a guidance for you withregards to what you
could be focusing on,where you should be
focusing your energies,where we or our systems
see some issues that youmight be able to resolve.It's not the case that you need
to get 100% for some sites.It doesn't even make
sense to get 100 therebecause you know you might
have a perfectly fast site.But it's doing something
that our systems arepicking up and saying,
well, theoreticallythis could be a bad practice.Maybe you should consider
doing it in a different way.But if you really
know that you'redoing it the right
way or in a way that'smore efficient for your
website, then maybe that's fine.So I'd focus on the
mobile-friendly test primarily,which tells you if it's
mobile-friendly or not.And the rest is
essentially just workingto make sure that you have
a really high-quality,fast, and efficient website.
BARUCH LABUNSKI: But passing
the 80s is a good idea, right?Because it was--
JOHN MUELLER: As high
as you can get, yeah.It's always a good
idea to aim high.With these kind of
tests, I wouldn'ttry to be a minimalist.If you're going to work on
this, there a lot of thingsthat give you a big
jump in those metricswithout actually
requiring a lot of work.So maybe you can just copy
and paste some cache and codeinto your HT access file.And it'll
automatically take careof a lot of server-side
caching for youwith maybe 10 minutes of work.So that's something
where I wouldn'taim at a specific number,
but rather figure outwhat works well for
site, where you can go,how far you can take it with
a relevant amount of work.
BARUCH LABUNSKI: OK, thanks.
JOHN MUELLER: It's also worth
mentioning that PageSpeedInsights has an API.So if you want to check
your client sites,for example, you
could probably set upin a small script that actually
go through all of those sitesand tests them for you so that
you know which clients youshould be focusing on more
and where you could see,well, I put them on
this cheap server,and now the test says that
the website is really slow.Maybe I should I talk to them
about moving to better serverpr a different host or whatever."If from one domain
going only a single linkfrom a full article,
but Googlebotfinds this link on
a couple of subpagesfrom the original article and
tags sub pages, for example,does the algorithm
count this as one linkonly in the calculations?"So in Webmaster Tools, we would
show that as multiple linksso that we would probably
give you one of those linksas a sample in Webmaster Tools.But we count all of the
ones that we actually find.The thing to keep in mind there
just because it's from-- it'scounted as multiple
links doesn'tmean that it's
automatically seen as higherquality or higher value.We'll try to figure out
how we need to evaluatethose links individually.It's not that we
would say, well, thisis three links
from this website,therefore, it's three
times as strong."Are you working on a Panda
update or a data refresh?It's been a long time.Everyone's frustrated."We are working on updates there.I don't have any time
frames at the moment.But I know the team
is working on that.I know it's
frustrating if you'veworked a lot on your website to
actually clean up these issues.The same applies to Penguin
as well where maybe you'vecleaned up a lot
of web spam issues,and you're just waiting for
things to open up again.And that's something
we're definitelyworking on to update
that again and to makeit a little bit faster.
BARUCH LABUNSKI: So when
that update happens,it's going to be a manual like
everybody is saying, right?I mean, everybody knows that.It's going to be a
manual update, notan algorithm update.But at the same
time, everybody'sthinking it's
running-- it's runningwith all the other stuff.
JOHN MUELLER: Yeah,
I think that wasa bit confusing from our side.So it's definitely an algorithm
that runs all the time.But we have to update the
data for this specific case.So that's something where it's
kind of a mixture of both.And I think we
probably explainedthat in a little bit
of a confusing way,an people picked that up
and thought that, oh, it'scompletely like this or it's
completely like that whenactually it's a mixture.And we just want to
apologize for-- Idon't know-- confusing
people about something."How can I filter queries
by multiple words, phrasesin Webmaster Tools,
search analytics?Also, are key words from
the secure Google searchincluded in those reports?"So, first of all,
the easy questionis, yes, keywords from
the secure Google searchare included in those
search query reports.It also includes things that
Analytics wouldn't be showing.Where you'd see the "not
provided in Google Analytics,"that would also be included in
the search analytics reports.Filtering queries
by multiple phrases,I think that's something
you'd have to do individually.So if you have
multiple phrases, you'dhave to test them
individually and maybedownload the data as a CSV
file or for Google Spreadsheetsand combine it on your side.It's not something
that we would sayyou would be able to search
for this word or this wordor this word and just giving
one aggregated table, at leastnot at the moment.
Gotcha, thanks, John.I was actually reading one of
the help texts on your site,and it said it was plural
so that confused me.I thought maybe there was
just something I was missing.But I appreciate
JOHN MUELLER: Glad
to help there.
DON HALBERT: John, on
that same note [INAUDIBLE]or I don't think it
was overly top secret.You just said it that in the
search analytics [INAUDIBLE]consideration local [INAUDIBLE].
JOHN MUELLER: I can hardly hear
you, Don, you keep breaking up.Or maybe you can
type it in the chat.
DON HALBERT: Can you hear me?
JOHN MUELLER: Every now and
then I hear individual words.
DON HALBERT: It
should be working now.
JOHN MUELLER: OK.
DON HALBERT: OK, in
Search Analytics,if it includes local [INAUDIBLE]
page one-- page one for 20--the term "exact match" receives
22,000 searches per day.So if you're on
page one, you wouldexpect that if Google
[INAUDIBLE] zero.And when I talked to you
before, you said that it is trueif a site is punished
by an algorithm,it can still rank in
the local results.And I've seen that.It pops up into
the local results,which screws up my average.But if you go over
the last 90 days,it still shows an
average of page one.And I get almost
no traffic from it.So if that data is
accurate, what's happening?
JOHN MUELLER: So
probably what's happeningis we're not showing
your site often.But when we are showing it,
we're showing it on page one.And people maybe
aren't clicking throughto page three, or four,
or five or whereveryour site is showing up.So we're not counting
those views as somethinginto the average.So essentially we're
only counting the onesthat we actually show in search.And if these are just individual
users who maybe are localor have your site ranking
number one for other reasonsfor personalization,
for example,then that's something
where we count those onesbecause that's-- page one is
where we're seeing your site.And we wouldn't count the places
where theoretically your sitewould also be ranking because
nobody's really lookingthat far into the search
results to actually find those.So from that point
of view, it's trickybecause we're showing
you what we actuallyshowed in search, which is I
think the most correct thing.But it doesn't mean that this
is where your site is alwaysranking.So what I'd look at there is the
number of impressions and usethat as kind of a
qualifier for the actualrankings that you're seeing.So if you're seeing the
number of impressionsis really, really low and the
rankings is really, reallyhigh, then chances
are we're justoccasionally showing your site.But showing it in the higher
search results, but essentiallynot a lot of people
are seeing that.So we had that, I believe, on
our blog a couple weeks backwhere we would rank for the
query 'Google.' And we would beshowing up for the query
'Google' for the blog,which obviously is kind of
specific and not something thatpeople would generally want to
look at when they're lookingfor the query 'Google.' And
that kind of made those SearchAnalytics numbers look
really weird in that we hadto interpret what does
this actually mean?We see a ton of impressions.Nobody is clicking
on our blog anymore.The clickthrough rate
overall is really miserable.But when you look
at the details,you see, well, this is because
our site was ranking whereit shouldn't be
ranking or accidentallyranking in some way that
skews the numbers there.So you have to work on
interpreting those numbers aswell instead of just taking
down as they show up.
DON HALBERT: OK,
thank you very much.
MIHAI APERGHIS: John,
I think Don was alsoasking if like a website is
showing up in local results,but not in the organic search
because it has been penalizedor whatever, would
that still showin Webmaster Tools as
being on the first pagebecause local results are
just on the first page?
JOHN MUELLER: As far as
I know, they would, yes.I would have to double check.But as far as I know,
I think the last timeI checked with the team, they
definitely are included there.
That's interesting.So that means that
for certain queries,page one might mean 15, 17
results because you havethe seven local and the 10.
JOHN MUELLER: It's
MIHAI APERGHIS: And
what if a websiteappears both in
local and in organic?
JOHN MUELLER: We take
the-- what is it?The average top position.So if you appear once-- like
if your website appears oncewith one URL at number
two and another timewith a different URL at number
seven or something like that,we take the top URL
and average thatacross the different queries.
MIHAI APERGHIS: What
if it's the main pageand you appear with the
main page in organicand with the main page in local?
JOHN MUELLER: We take
the top ranking one.
MIHAI APERGHIS: OK.That's interesting.Have you always done that?I don't think before Search
Analytics was launchedyou were counting the local.
JOHN MUELLER: We we were
doing it different before.But I think we changed,
not for Search Analytics,but sometime before that where
in the way they were getting,we would take the average
of the search resultsand use that as
the ranking number.And now we take the top one.The main thing that changed
with Search Analyticsis on the impression side, where
previously if you were rankingwith two URLs on one
search results page,we would count that
as two impressions.And now with Search Analytics,
we count that as one impressionbecause your site is
showing one-- essentiallyin one search query.And that might be multiple URLs,
but it's one search query, soone impression.
MIHAI APERGHIS: And is
there any possibilitythat you would be able to
add a local filter sometimein the future just
to see local results?
JOHN MUELLER: There's lots
of possibilities, sure.I can definitely pass
that onto our teamto see what we can do there.I think at the moment they
have some other things theyare working on.So I'm sure you'll see some
interesting things coming outin the near future.We're also working on an API for
the Search Analytics feature.So if any of you are interested
in giving that a spin,then signing an NDA with us
and trying things out with API,feel free to contact me as well.I see someone waving.
How big is the NDA?
MIHAI APERGHIS: I worked
at using the Google AppsScript to kind of parse the
data automatically usingall [INAUDIBLE].So using the API will
be pretty interesting.
JOHN MUELLER: OK, yeah,
send me a quick note,and I can put you on the list.I don't know how soon that
will be ready for testing.But I know they're
feverishly working on itto make that more available.
MIHAI APERGHIS: Cool.
JOHN MUELLER: "We recently got
hit with your so-called PhantomII update.Our traffic went down.We would like to ask
some help and advicewhy our site got hit.I started asking other
webmasters in the forum.It didn't bring much help.Our site is this URL."So essentially this is something
where we're not-- I don't know,calling this anything specific.This is essentially just
a normal algorithm updateas we make them all the time.And sometimes this is something
that affects more sites.Sometimes it's something
that affects fewer sites.But essentially, we're
working on tryingto increase the relevance and
the quality of search results,and that's essentially
just a normal updatethat was happening there,
nothing really specific.So if you're seeing changes
within your site's traffic,within the impressions that
are coming from Search,I think that's something
where you can workon your website in general.For most cases,
it's not somethingwhere there's any
technical issuethat you need to focus on.You would see that in
Webmaster Tools, obviously.But it's not the case that
there's this one line of HTMLthat you need to swap
out these two letters,and then suddenly, it'll
rank much higher again.We do these algorithm
updates all the time.And for some sites, it goes up.For the other
sites, it goes down.Our general goal is to make sure
that the quality of the searchresults is really
as high as possible.So if you would like to be
more visible in these kindof updates, focusing on
your site, making it reallyas best as it could possibly
be is always a good strategy.I realize that's not an easy
answer and not somethingthat you can just
say-- take backand say, OK, I will increase
the quality of my website by 10%by Friday and hope
that'll change things.It's more something
where you haveto take the long-term
approach and lookat for maybe a little bit,
take a little bit of distanceto look at your
site and figure outwhat you could be doing
in general to increasethe quality overall.Maybe there are things you
could do with your users, chatwith them to figure out where
maybe they're getting stuck,what you could be doing in
general to really increasethe quality of your website."Does there exist
another algorithmsimilar to Panda
or Penguin whichonly works all the time now?If yes, is there any possibility
to refresh before the big--to recover before
the big refresh?"So we have lots and
lots of algorithmsthat are running all the time.And some of them run frequently.Some of them run
less frequently.So I guess the answer is yes.There are lots of
algorithms thatare similar to the existing
ones that are known.And, yes, of course, you
can recover from algorithmswhen they run again.So it's-- I don't know.There's nothing
exotic essentiallythat I can announce to
you and say, well, wehave a new animal in
our farm that we'dlike to announce to
you at the moment."Having added the rel canonical
tag to some potential duplicatepages that are now
pointing at a primary URL,I've noticed that these two
pages are still indexed.How long should I wait before
these pages are de-indexed.Will they ever get de-indexed?"The rel canonical
tag is somethingthat's on the page
itself, which meanswe have to crawl and index those
pages to actually process that.So in a sense, in
order for us to keepusing that rel
canonical tag, we haveto have that page on our index.We have to know about that page.We have to crawl it
from time to timeto see what's
actually on that page.So if you do something
like a site query,it's very possible
that you'll stillcontinue to see
these pages thereeven though we're essentially
passing all the signals thatgo to these pages to
your preferred canonical.So this is something
where I wouldn'tfocus on things like a
site query or blindly focuson these individual
URLs, but instead assumethat when these pages crawled
and processed for indexingand have a rel canonical,
then those signals actuallydo get forwarded,
even if we stillindex those pages individually.So I wouldn't assume that
they'll drop out of the indexcompletely.It's not something
that you artificiallyneed to push out of a index
by putting a no-index on itor something like that.They essentially won't show
up in normal search resultsbecause we have
passed everythingto your preferred canonical.But they might still show
up in something artificiallike a site query.
MALE SPEAKER 4: John,
I have a quick questionabout disavowing.
JOHN MUELLER: Sure.
MALE SPEAKER 4: We've been hit,
as you know, multiple timesby negative SEO link attacks.Do we need to ever
disavow a no-follow link?
JOHN MUELLER: No.
MALE SPEAKER 4: So
then, in other words,no-follow links cannot hurt
us or any site in any way?
JOHN MUELLER: They don't
pass any page rank.They don't pass
any signals there.So you can essentially
ignore those completely.
MALE SPEAKER 4: Easy answer.Thank you.
JOHN MUELLER: "How
can we help algorithmto link brand mentions
with the domain?"I think this goes back to the
question of if someone randomlymentions your brand
in a text somewhere,is that's something
we'd pick up as a link?And the answer there is, no, we
don't pick that up as a link.We don't pass any kind
of page rank to a websitejust because someone
mentions your brand.If you have a URL,
of course, that'ssomething that people can link
to if they want to do that.But if someone has just
mentioned your brand,that's not something we'd
pick up on as a link.I imagine there might be
indirect effects whereif people are talking
about your brand,then that's something that
might bring traffic indirectlyto your website, which
indirectly could bringmore links to your website.But it's not the
case that we woulduse that as a primary ranking
factor in saying peopleare talking about this brand.Therefore, it must
be a fantastic brandto rank it number one.
By the way, John,do you still use that
maybe to understand moreabout that specific website
because you associate the brandwith a certain website.You see the brand mentioned
together with a certain topicand maybe you use it
to understand that,OK, so this brand is-- or this
website is about this or that?Maybe, OK.
JOHN MUELLER: I could
imagine that maybe thereare some algorithms that do
something exotic like that.But I don't think
that's anythingyou would see any
kind of visible changein search results from that.It might help us to understand
things a little bit more.But you're talking about
this tiny little thingwhere we can't
really say this islike a primary ranking
factor because it's sucha vague element around that.It's like what do they mean
by mentioning your brand.Are they saying that this
is a terrible website?Are they saying this
is a great website?How should we take
that into account?It's really tricky to kind of--
BARUCH LABUNSKI: I was
listening to Mihai's question.Are you guys taking
any from whatYandex has done from
their experimenting,removing the links and
bringing the links back.I think we had a
really-- I don'tknow if you remember
when [? Spock ?] was hereat that Hangout.Yeah, so regarding
the links, are youtaking that as a
learning experiencefor what they've done?I mean, they brought
the links backbecause the results
were not that great.Does that help you guys?
JOHN MUELLER: I think they just
have a different search engine.So it's not something
where we could say, well,what they did in our
search results is somethingthat we need to do or
we need to learn from.It's very different
search engines.It's really hard for us to take
that as something-- some kindof useful feedback for
algorithms for our engineerswhere essentially what you're
saying is some other companytried this specific setup.And it didn't work for them.So they went back
to a different one.Does that mean no company
should try that specific set?Probably not.I mean, maybe there are ways
that it can be made to work.Maybe there are
different configurationswhere it does make sense.I imagine if it didn't
make sense at all for them,they wouldn't have tried it
out for such a long time.So, obviously, some part had
some positive impact there.But it's-- I don't know--
I think you can assume thatour engineers in the
Search Quality team,they're not all playing pool.They are actually trying
new stuff out all the timeand working on
improving the algorithm.So some of that is
probably around linksand trying to understand links
better and thinking about wayswe can pick that up without
it easily being gamedor without causing any
problems if someonedoes accidentally game
it or game it on purpose.I would totally expect
changes to keep happening.Otherwise, if I was the
only person working hereat this company, that
would be awkward, I guess.
BARUCH LABUNSKI: But it was
a good learning experience,I guess, for anyone that it's--
without links it cannot work,right?I mean, to really
deliver the 100%.
JOHN MUELLER: I don't know
if you could say that.It's really hard to say.I don't know what
specifically they changedand what specifically
they were looking at.From what I heard, it was just
a part of the search results.It wasn't even the case
that they removed itfrom all of the search results.So I don't know.It's always
interesting to see whatother people are doing there.
MALE SPEAKER 2: John, can
I ask you another question?
JOHN MUELLER: Sure.
MALE SPEAKER 2: We have
URL column followed by an HTTPand so on.Google finds that
on PageScriptand tries to use the
get method to crawl itwhich returns a lot
of server errorsas we use the parse
method to render it.How can we block specific
are not separate resourcefiles to be blocked
through robots.txt there,but they are their
own page elements?
JOHN MUELLER: You can't.So essentially we'll
try to crawl these URLsif we find them.But if we see errors or any
problems from those URLs,that's completely fine for us.So that's something where in
general that's not somethingyou need to worry
about that our bot runsacross a bunch of things in
that's completely fine.That's not something
you need to block.That's not something you need
problematic in that they causeproblems on your server,
recognize that makes sense.Maybe using robots.txt
makes sense,but essentially it's not
something where in generalif we run across any random
URL, we try it and see an error,that that would be anything
that you'd need to worry about.
MALE SPEAKER 2: OK,
because the only waywe worried about eating
up our resources,not because of the errors,
because Google doesn'tshow them in Webmaster Tools.But we have a bunch of
them, because in each page,Google tries to do the same.So it's eating up
of our resources.So we will try to
rewrite that syntax.
JOHN MUELLER: That's
something thatoften helps because
we try to lookfor these links in various ways.We probably have like
these very simple linksearchers that essentially
look for anythingthat looks like a URL
and try to crawl that.And that's probably what
we're picking up on there.And the more complicated ones
is, what the links are actuallybeing shown to the user, that's
probably working out wellbecause it's leading to links
that are actually working.So if you essentially
just obfuscatethat link a little
pick up somethingmaybe slightly different
and try to crawl that.But if it's something that
leads to an obvious 404and doesn't cause
problems on your side,maybe that's preferred for you.
MALE SPEAKER 2: OK,
thank you very much.
JOHN MUELLER: All
right, let's grabsome more of the questions that
were submitted since peopletook time to send those in."Some of our mobile pages
have an accordion menu,and the content appears when
you press the accordion menu.Is that an OK practice?Or is that similar to
hidden text on the desktop?"That's essentially fine.A lot of sites use this as
a way to make their contentmobile-friendly or make
the menu mobile-friendly.That's definitely not
something I'd worry about."This may have been
answered already.But is it possible
to set up filtersto only show user
sessions and page viewsfrom Google image results?"So the sessions will be
something you probablysee more in Analytics.In Webmaster Tools,
you can limitit to get results if you want
to look at those specifically.And that you should be
able to see the queriesyou should be able to see the
pages from image search resultsseparately in Webmaster
Tools in the Search Analyticsfeature at least."I have added a new client
to my Webmaster Tools pageand immediately got flagged
for security issues.I've gone through the server,
and everything looks good.I clicked Security Issues.And it all looks good.Now, how can I remove the flag?"If this is something that's
visible in Webmaster Tools,then generally that
would be either malwareor your site got hacked
in a specific way.And if you cleaned
that up, then youcan send a review request in
general in Webmaster Tools.But there are other issues
that we essentially justpick up when we
recrawl the pagesand we see, well, this
hacking is removed now.So we can essentially
remove that.And sometimes there's
just a lag between whatwe remove in search
for where we say, well,this is no longer hacked.This is normal.And what we show
in Webmaster Toolswhere maybe there's a delay
of a day or so at most.So that's something where maybe
you're just seeing that delay,and essentially
everything is OK now.If you're seeing this for a
longer time where WebmasterTools is flagging something
as a security issuethat you can't actually
request a review for,then maybe that'd
be something youcould post about in the forum.And we can pick it up
from there and see whatactually is happening there.Maybe there's something
else on your sitethat's still being
flagged that you couldwork on cleaning up as well."Will Google take manual
or algorithmic penaltyfor links acquiring only for
brand or brandless keywords,assume all branded links
are follow attributesand follow-- and links from
sites, nature of content,or similar to the main site."We try to recognize
unnatural linksregardless of the anchor text.So that's something
where just because it'sbranded anchor text,
it doesn't necessarilymake that link natural, right?So we try to apply a
variety of different methodsto figure out which
ones are natural,which ones are unnatural links."Does Googlebot understand
and index web pagesbuilt with Polymer
without any issues?"I'd say without any issues
is probably exaggerating.But we are pretty good
pages set up in a waythat there are URLs that
we can pick up for indexingand the content is crawlable,
responses are crawlable,then we do a pretty good
I think on "Search Engine Land"that reviewed a bunch of
ended up pretty good,I imagine it'll
continue to get better.So if you're using Polymer or
that's something whereyou can test that out on your
site to see how far we can go.And if you're
still seeing issuesthat we're not
picking up everything,I'd love to get feedback
in the Help forums.And what you can
also do, of course,is the Java Ajax crawling scheme
to make those pages crawlableby default if you
wanted to do that."Since March 25th, our search
traffic has dropped by 70%.We have lots of pages
indexed in Google.And I'm sure users like them.We tried several actions to
solve this without success.Can you tell us what's wrong?"I probably would have to take
a look at this in detail.My recommendation in general
for something like thisis to also get help
in the Help Forum.So kind of make sure
that you're coveringall the technical issues by
double checking with peersin the Help forums.But also make sure that
the quality of your siteis really the highest
it can possibly be.And get feedback from peers,
even if it's harsh feedback,even if it's something
you don't necessarilywant to hear because sometimes
that's really good feedback.So that's kind of
direction I'd head there."Here's something specific
to a set of sites.When searching for
a site in Google IE,we see a lot of
our UK page titles.And the company's also called Le
Boat in the UK and Emerald Starin Ireland.Why does Google use UK
titles for IE domain?The IE page titles should
just say Emerald Star."In a case like
that, where you'reseeing a mix-up between
different versions,I'd definitely take a look
at the hreflang markupso that you can really tell
us which version of your pageis relevant in which
locales and letus know that this is different
content, not exactly the same.So if we can really crawl
these pages and index themseparately, we'll try to show
the right titles, right pages.And with the hreflang markup,
we can get that betterfor individual
countries as well.So that's something
I'd definitelytake a look at there."Is there any difference
ratios if we usecapital letters in the URLs?"Which is better?Small letters or
capital letters?"You can use whatever you want.Keep in mind that most of the
internet is case sensitive.So we're also case sensitive
on our site with Googlebot.So if you pick one upper or
lowercase version for a URL,make sure you use
it consistentlywithin your website and
not that you link oncewith a capitalized version
once with a lowercase version.Really pick one
of those versionsand stay with it so
that we can consistentlycall, crawl and index the
same URL over and over.All right, just a few
minutes left so that.let's switch back to you all.
MIHAI APERGHIS: I'm
going to go ahead and aska website-specific question.I talked about, I
think two Hangouts ago,of a client of mine who has
multiple websites regardingISO standards.They offer implementation and
training for any specific ISO,or at least some of them.And they have a website
for each ISO standard.And the idea is to combine
them into a single brandbecause they've already
acquired quite a few websites.So it's now time to best
combine them in a single site.The problem is that while
we can do the redirect,the new website will have
each ISO as a subdirectory.And I know that Google
doesn't-- Google Webmaster Toolsdoesn't offer on option
for change of addressto a subdirectory specifically.So what do you think how we
should deal with that best?
JOHN MUELLER: Just redirect.
MIHAI APERGHIS: Because in
the example in the Help pagefor the change of address,
they only give the example--you cannot move it
from example.comto example.com/directory.But they don't mention
example.com to anotherexample.com/directory.So I am guessing that's
not possible either.
Yeah, I don't thinkthat's possible [INAUDIBLE].I would use page-by-page
redirects for a case like that.
MIHAI APERGHIS: And just let
Google figure everything out.
JOHN MUELLER: Yeah.
MIHAI APERGHIS: OK, so Webmaster
Tools is out of the questionwhen it comes to a subdirectory.
JOHN MUELLER: Especially
when you're combining sites,that's not something where
Webmaster Tools would reallyhelp.It really makes sense
from our point of view.You're moving everything from
one side to another side.And you're essentially
replacing the destination sitewith a new one.So in those cases, the
Webmasters Tools setting helps.But for combining things,
it's not really right.
OK, and should weadd subdirectories
as new entitiesin Webmaster Tools for each?
JOHN MUELLER: If
you want to, sure.That's up to you.What you'll see is things like
Search Analytics is separatedthen, which might
make sense for you.
MIHAI APERGHIS: OK,
yeah, that would.OK , thanks.
JOHN MUELLER: Sure.
MALE SPEAKER 2: John,
another old question.How much weight,
if any, does Googleput on HTML elements which
help visually impaired visitorsnavigate the website, like
let's say link title attributes.I have posted in
the chat an example.Maybe you can take a look
to see exactly what I mean.I'm interested if Google
gives any weights to this.
JOHN MUELLER: I don't
think we use that at all.I think at the moment
we use the Alt text.But we don't use the link title.
MALE SPEAKER 2: I understand.If there are any other--
using rank, anythingwho helps visually
impaired visitors or not?
JOHN MUELLER: Well,
text on the page?I mean, if it's-- yeah,
if it's text on the page,then that's something that
works well for screen readers,and that's something we
can definitely pick up on.If it's just like a link
attribute like that,I don't think we'd pick up on
that because if the content isreally only in there,
then for the most part,users, when they
go to that page,they won't see it by default.
It'll just be visible thereif you hover over it or if
you have a screen reader thatreads that out.So that's something where
if its text on the page,we can definitely use
that for everything.
MALE SPEAKER 2: I understand.OK, thank you.
MALE SPEAKER 3: John, can I
ask one followup to ours again?
JOHN MUELLER: All right.
MALE SPEAKER 3: If we-- now that
we've safely moved and changedthe HTML and done
everything, is there any riskbased on our previous
situation to us startingto contact the old-- any
sites that are linked to usand ask to link to the new site?Or is the links the thing
that might cause an issue?
JOHN MUELLER: I think
that would be fine, yeah.
MALE SPEAKER 3:
OK, because we'vegot a load of old
very high ranking.I mean, obviously a load of
the crap we'll just ignore.It will be a natural
disavow effectively.So that's fine.
JOHN MUELLER: That sounds
like a good idea, yeah.
MALE SPEAKER 3: OK, thank you.
JOHN MUELLER: All right, with
that, let's take a break here.I'd just like to point
out the Hangout on Fridaywill be with someone
from the Webmaster teamfrom Google who has worked on
lot of the responsive siteshere.So if you have any questions
about responsive web designor if you want to talk
about responsive web design,be sure to join
that Hangout and besure to submit your
questions there.If you've submitted
questions for Friday thatare about ranking and
changes in our algorithms,then you probably
want to move thoseto one of the future Hangouts
that I'll set up as well.So I wish you all a great week.Thank you all for joining again.And thanks for all the questions
that were submitted herelive in the Hangout.Hopefully we'll see you again
in one of the future Hangouts.