Reconsideration Requests
Show Video

Google+ Hangouts - Office Hours - 23 February 2016

Direct link to this YouTube Video »

Key Questions Below

All questions have Show Video links that will fast forward to the appropriate place in the video.
Transcript Of The Office Hours Hangout
Click on any line of text to go to that point in the video

JOHN MUELLER: Welcome everyone to today's Google Webmaster Central office hours Hangouts. My name is John Mueller. I am a webmaster trends analyst here at Google in Switzerland. And part of what I do is talk with webmasters and publishers like the ones here in the Hangout, and the ones that submitted a lot of questions already. In general, I let people who haven't taken part in this Hangout so often ask the first questions. Is there anyone here who wants to take a first stab? No? OK. Then maybe I'll just run through some of the questions that were submitted already . And we'll open it up for generic questions and more questions and comments from you all as we go along, and definitely towards the end again. When Google looks at what keywords to rank a page for, does it include the content within any direct links to that page, or just the contents specifically on that page? So we do take into account links to a page. And that does include the anchor tags of those links, especially the text on those links to that web page. And we take that into account certainly for ranking as well. Which HTML attributes does Google use to detect the language of a web page? It is the meta http-equiv content-language, or the meta-name get.region, or the HTML lang tag? Do I have to use all of them? So basically we use none of these. So that makes it a little bit easier in the sense that you don't have to focus on this meta tag, specifically. We try to recognize the language based on the text itself. So that's something that usually works fairly well. In particular, with the attributes that were included in the question, the problem is people copy and paste templates which are written for English, and then suddenly there's a language header on top that says oh, this page is in English. And actually the content might not be in English. So that's something where we try to focus on the text itself. The exception here if you're using hreflang. So if you have multiple pages in multiple languages and they're equivalent, then you can specify the individual languages and say, this page is in German. This is the equivalent page of this German page in English or in French. And you can connect those with the hreflang markup. But apart from that, you don't need to specify any language markup on the pages themselves. And if you do have it there, if you have it wrong for example, then we'll essentially ignore that. Other search engines might handle it differently. So if Bing, for example, says they use the lang attribute for HTML tags, then you might need to use it for them, or you might want to use it also for those devices that kind of talk the web page for you. So that's something where also sometimes the language tag is used to pick the right voice or the correct pronunciation.

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah John, regarding this [INAUDIBLE] thing was. Actually I have a website that is in English in two different countries. And I'm using hreflang also. But the main thing is that in other country, I'm [INAUDIBLE] some of the pages in English that are saying, translate into this page. But if they are in English, why is it showing us only some of that website pages, or in search result with translate this page. So in this case, what is a possible solution and which one I should go with, like HTML lang or whatsoever.

JOHN MUELLER: So the translate this page snippet in the search results comes when we recognize that at least some of the page is in a different language. And sometimes that's a bit tricky because you might have a page that's in English, but it's about vacation homes in Spain, for example. And you mention all these Spanish places and Spanish addresses, and if you look at that page overall, you might say well, there's part in English and part in Spanish, even if it's not really Spanish. So what will happen then is we'll probably show that translate link in the search results. And that's not a sign that we don't recognize the English. It's just a sign that we recognize at least some part is not in English. And to kind of suppress that, you can use, I believe the notranslate metatag. You can put that on a page to kind of suppress the translate feature. But that also suppresses the translate feature in Chrome. So if someone who doesn't speak English looks at those pages, then Chrome won't try to translate that for you. So that's something I'd use with caution. But if you really say, I have all languages covered, and Google sometimes recognizes the language wrong, then maybe the notranslate tag is an option there,

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, I agree. Actually, there are one or two words where I feel that my content team has used and that particular country language. So it means that I have to work on the content and make sure that all the content is in English only.

JOHN MUELLER: You don't have to. So it's only a sign that we recognize some words in another language. It's not a sign that the page is ranking less than it could be. So it's not something where you have to fix this page or you have to change anything, or where it's not ranking as high as it could be. It's actually just a service for the user that if they get confused by this page, they can use a Translate link to get a completely translated version too.


JOHN MUELLER: Sure. If a site, for example, sold books, then decided to sell apples instead, many of the old links, anchor tags would relate to books instead of apples. What should you do in a situation like this? How long before Google recognizes that you sell apples instead? It's kind of a tricky situation, because essentially we see the old state and we see the current state, and we have to balance the two. And over time, obviously we'll see more and more information about the new products that are sold on the page. And we'll recognize that this is really what this page is about. We'll probably also see more and more people who are linking to that page regarding new products. So over time that kind of settles down into a cleaner stable state. So in general, this isn't something where I'd say you need to go out and have those links changed. Sometimes that's just what people are looking to the past, and that content no longer exists there anymore. And these kind of changes just happen naturally. We're pretty good at dealing with natural change on the web. I recently found out that our French website always had its HTML lang tag set to English. So is that a problem? That kind of goes into the previous question. Essentially we ignore that. So if you've had that set wrong, probably you don't see any effect at all by removing that in the search results. It might be different. I think Bing, for example, uses this lang attribute. So maybe you'll see changes there. But at least on Google's side, we've ignored that so far. So that's not something I'd really panic over finding like that. If there are three affiliate sites selling the same product from the same manufacturer, does Google recognize these as being linked and works out which one of the three it favors, or does the algorithm treat them all like separate sites and doesn't do any comparison? Yeah, essentially we treat them as separate sites. We try to figure out which one of these sites maybe also the original, maybe some others as well, which one is the most relevant for specific queries. And that might differ from query to query or from product to product. So these are essentially three separate sites from our point of view.

Are and just from Google's perspective duplicates?

So the :80 refers to the port that's used to access this server to get the content. And 80 is the default port that is used for HTTP. So from a technical point of view, these URLs are essentially equivalent. On the one hand, you're saying access this website on a default port. And on the other hand, you're saying, access this website on this specific port. And that port happens to be the default port. So what happens on our site is we fold these together. And we say that's exactly the same URL. They're equivalent. We'll treat them the same. It's similar with HTTPS. And I believe it's port 443 where 443 is also the default port for HTTPS. So if you specify that or if you don't specify it, it's essentially the same. I might need to double check that it's really port 443, but it's something like that. So basically the default port is the one that we'd fold together with the normal URL. And you don't need to do anything special there.

Probably if you're referring to :80 within your website, you can drop that to save three bytes. A few characters every now and then, probably something you don't need to carry along. But it definitely doesn't cause any problems. Some of our international sites sit on subdomains. If any of this subdomains are hit by a manual or algorithmic penalty, is there a risk that they will be extended to the top level domain? We generally try to recognize separate sites when they're on subdomains, even when they're on subdirectories, and treat them as separate sites. However, we also try to recognize when one website is actually uses subdomains as a way of organizing its structure. So if there are manual actions, we'll try to keep them as specific as possible, and try to focus on that specific part of your website. If we can't focus it though, then it's definitely possible that it can spread out and we can say well, everything on this domain or a lot of stuff on this domain is actually kind of spammy. We need to take a little bit broader action. And that's something where you probably want to watch out that your website doesn't run into a manual action anyway. But if you are using subdomains, if you are using subdirectories, this is something that can certainly happen. It's similar also [INAUDIBLE] malware where if we recognize that on multiple subdomains you're serving malware, then our systems might say, oh, well the general pattern for this malware is actually everything on this domain. So that's something to kind of watch out for.

MALE SPEAKER: Hi John. I had this spam related question. It's one of the questions in the queue as well, but sort of tied into some spam and malware. I have a website that is actually being impacted by hacked sites on other domains. So for example, there's actually several websites that have been hacked. And now they have, on their particular domains, they have links that are basically spam filled. They stole the content actually from [INAUDIBLE]. And those links from those hacked sites are pointing to spam type websites as well. So I actually have URLs being removed from Google because of this issue. So does that make sense to you? Or how would that work? My site has actually been cleared as being spam and hack free. There's no spam in my site at all. It's just being impacted strictly by other domains.

JOHN MUELLER: I'd probably need to see some examples to take a look at it what specifically is happening there. Usually if this is just something on an external site that's kind of hacked that's linking to your site, that shouldn't be affecting your site. But if you're seeing specific examples, I'd love to see some example URLs. If you can send them to me on my Google+ profile, I can take a look at them with the team here.

MALE SPEAKER: OK. I also did go through the Google Webmaster forum, and people on the Webmaster forum said that everything looks valid on my site and looks like that issue. And they said they were actually notifying Google engineers as well. So just to bring that to your attention. But I will send it to you too.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, great.

MALE SPEAKER: Thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: I want to show the manufacturer's product videos on my product pages as I think this would be useful for the user. My competitors don't do that. Am I right in thinking that this is a positive effect for my website? If you think this makes sense for your users, by all means go ahead and do that. Put the content on your pages. If you have additional content about those videos, additional information about specific problems that you have, maybe data sheets, maybe documentation and PDFs, all of these things, that can add value to your website and can make it more interesting for people to go to your page and not some random other competitor. So that's something where if you can add value to your pages by including more types of content, I'd definitely go for that. I try to report spammers, but it looks like no success. If you search for this keyword, then there are many top ranked sites with thousands of paid links. How does Google tackle them? My website is far better and would love to know your feedback. This, I guess, always a tricky topic, specifically around spam reports in a sense that we do take spam reports into account. But it's not the case that we'll be able to manually act upon every single spam report that we get. Sometimes what we'll do is we'll collect spam reports and use them to improve our algorithms instead. So instead of taking action on a handful of existing sites, we try to find something that works across thousands or millions of websites to make sure that we're handling that kind of spam a little bit better. So that's something where it can be a bit frustrating for a while, I guess. If you'd like, you're welcome to send me a copy of what you're reported there so I can take a look and see what the team-- kind of make sure that they're looking into that kind of issue as well. But there is always, I guess, this aspect of also needing to rank for your content as well, in the sense that just because other sites are doing some spammy things doesn't mean that they'll automatically be removed from the search results completely. There's still this amount of competition that's out there where you need to provide something that's really valuable and unique, as well, to make sure that we have something to actually show there. So for example, what's also worth keeping in mind is that we don't remove sites completely for all types of spam. So what will often happen is we'll take manual action on a website. We'll kind of extract that spammy thing that they're doing and we'll kind of lock that out so it doesn't have any effect in the search results. But that site might still be ranking for other reasons. So just because there's some amount of time or associated with that site doesn't mean that we'll remove it completely from the search results. But again, you're welcome to send me a note so I can take a look with the team to see what roughly is happening there. And maybe there is something, some kind of feedback I can give you about that.

MALE SPEAKER: Sure John. Actually from last almost one year, I've seen different websites ranking on the top position. It's not about my website. I don't [INAUDIBLE]. But still, I feel because I check them, some of them actually building continuously with hundreds of links every month. So I don't want to go into that stuff. So can you please check, fix this thing. Because this is really depressing me to work more on my side.

JOHN MUELLER: I can't promise you that we can fix everything. But I'd definitely be willing to take a look at that with the team to see what's kind of happening there. But in general, just because they're doing some spammy things doesn't mean that we'd remove the sites completely. So I don't know what these sites specifically are doing. But that's something to keep in mind. Sometimes, for example, we'll see reports saying, my competitor's ranking above me, and they're using keyword stuffing, and they're getting away with it. And from our point of view, our algorithms look at that and they recognize keyword stuffing fairly well, and they can ignore that. So that site is probably just ranking for other reasons. And those might be normal legitimate reasons. And that's something where we wouldn't remove that site completely from the search results just because it's doing something like keyword stuffing. But I'd really need to take a look at the specifics to kind of see what actually is happening in your specific case.

MALE SPEAKER: Sure. I'll send you the note. Thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, thanks. How long until the Panda algorithm finishes its slow rollout? How often do you update the Panda score? Is the user satisfaction with a query in the search results the ultimate ranking signal for that page and the site? Overall, will Panda update happen before Penguin? So from what I'm aware of, the Panda algorithm is essentially something that's rolling more or less continuously in the sense that one update rolls out, and then the next update gets prepared and starts rolling out as well. So it's not that you'd see this discrete point in time where you'd say well, this was that update. This was the next update. It's kind of rolling continuous. So from there, it doesn't really make sense to look at specific dates. I can't get a lot of my PDFs indexed on my problem pages. Should I just add the content on the product tab so that it's in both places? So will that cause duplication issues, and any idea why they won't index? So in general, we index PDF files like we would normal other pages on a website. What probably will happen with PDFs is that we don't refresh them as quickly as normal HTML pages because we assume that a PDF file generally kind of stays stable. But that doesn't sound like your problem there. With regards to the indexing of PDF files, if we see links to those pages, we will try to index those pages to get that into the search results. So if we're not able to index those pages, then either we're having trouble finding the links to those PDF files, which might be because they're hard to find on your website, or maybe they're not in static HTML, or they have a nofollow link, or something like that. Or it might just be that we're saying well, we have enough content indexed from your website already. We're not ready yet to add a significant batch of more content. So we can't guarantee that we index all content from a website. Which means that for some websites in some situations, we might have a cut off and say well, we've indexed a lot of content from this site already. We'll keep crawling more content from this website. When we find something really compelling, we'll include that in the index as well. So maybe these PDFs are kind of like content that we've looked at, or we haven't even looked look and had time to look at from the website. If there's important content in those PDFs that you do need to have indexed, maybe it's worth putting them directly on the product page directly, because that way people also don't have to download a PDF to actually see that content. So if it's important, maybe put it directly on the pages. If it's more auxiliary content, more like reference material that people might want to look at but which doesn't mean to rank separately, then maybe it's fine just linking it from your product pages. We have one website for each country, one's CCTLD per country. Sometimes the wrong page appears in the search results. For example, the French shop ranks before the Belgium shot on Is there a way to avoid those? We can't add hreflang tags. And country targeting was set in Search Console. So hreflang is essentially the right way to set this up. So that's essentially the exact problem that hreflang was created to solve in the sense that if you have multiple copies of your content for different countries or different languages and we're showing the wrong version in the search results, hreflang tells us that we can swap out those URLs and show your right version instead. So that's really what I'd try to focus on there. Country targeting alone won't necessarily help there, because we'll be able to kind of index these multiple copies. And one of these will be shown in the search results. And it might not be the one that you actually want. So with the hreflang tag, we're really more able to actually swap out those URLs against the ones that you've told us are the right ones. So that's what I'd try to figure out how to do. You mentioned you can't add hreflang tags, but maybe there's a way that it's possible after all. Maybe that's something you could even add with JavaScript in the worst case. Because as we render pages now, we'd probably be able to pick up the hreflang tags added like that as well.

MIHAI APERGHIS: Also with the option of using them in the site maps, if they cannot add it [INAUDIBLE].

JOHN MUELLER: Oh yeah, of course. Why didn't I think of this? We should have you do this Hangout. Yeah, if you can't add it to your pages directly, you can probably put it in your sitemap file. And we'll be able to pick it up from there as well. So that's something where the sitemap file could even be on a different host name. If you have a link from your robots.txt file to that sitemap file, then we'll try to pick that up and use that for hreflang as well. My bounce rate in the UK is nearly 50%. But when I exclude foreign countries so it only shows UK only, it's down to 35%. Does Google use a 35% or 50% figure in rankings? I only sell to the UK. So should I exclude foreign visitors from an SEO point of view? From our side, we don't use anything from analytics for search anyways. So this is something where you can optimize it on your side. With regards to individual countries, if for example you were to block users from some countries, from our point of view, that's up to you, provided you don't block Googlebot. Because if you block Googlebot, then of course we can't index you content at all. So that's something that sometimes comes out. People will want to block users in different countries, or block everyone except from the users in that country. And from our point of view, the most important thing is, on the one hand that Googlebot is able to crawl so we can actually pick up this content and show it in search. And on other hand, that you test Googlebot like any other user from the country where Googlebot is crawling from. So that's something to kind of keep in mind with regards to individual countries. As you recommended, we changed our entire site to HTTPS. Ever since, our positions, clicks, and impressions have gone down. Any advice? I'd probably need to take a look at the site to kind of see what's happening there. A really common issue that we see when sites move to HTTPS is that they don't verify the HTTPS version in Search Console. And with that, they don't actually see the full data. So that's something where, if you move a site to HTTPS and you don't have HTTPS verified in Search Console, you will see this drop in clicks and impressions in Search Analytics. But that's only because we're showing the HTTPS URLS instead. So it's not that your site overall is getting less traffic or fewer visitors. It's essentially just that specific part of the site, the non-HTTPS version is not getting as much traffic, which makes sense because you're moving to HTTPS instead. If you're seeing other issues, I'd love to take a look at a URL to kind of see what specifically might be happening there. Sometimes there are things that are just kind of lost when moving a site. And these might be simple things like having the wrong canonical set up, having the redirect set up incorrectly, blocking some URLs from redirecting, those kind of things. So those are some of the commoner issues that can pop up. And if you post in the help forum, I'm sure people can double check to see what's actually happening. If a link is nofollow, does Google ignore it completely, or does it still try to check it out? So from our point of view, we ignore it completely. We don't use it in our calculations for Page Rank. It might happen that we still crawl that URL to see what's actually there. But we wouldn't use it to pass any Page Rank. There wouldn't be any signals that would be forwarded from that page to the other page. And perhaps important to mention here is also that just because a link to that page is nofollow doesn't mean that we won't index that specifically page. Because maybe we'll see other links to that page will pick that up and show it in search results, and kind of show it based on that. So if this is something you don't want to have indexed, then I'd make sure that you put a noindex tag on that page itself, and don't rely on the links to that page being nofollow. Google says affiliate sites need to offer something of added value. I was thinking of doing price comparisons [INAUDIBLE] showing my products and delivery fees against my competitors. Is this what you're looking for? If not, what sorts of things? Essentially, anything that adds value to a page. So that's something that might be something like cross-checking the same product across multiple suppliers might be an idea. Anything essentially where you as a user would say, well, I want this product, and I'll go to your specific site to actually get information about this, to buy that product, and none of these other sites because this site has something unique and compelling that I personally am looking for. So that's something-- that's the kind of thing we're looking for, something that differentiates you from all the rest. In particular, when we, for example, when we escalate issues to the Search Quality team and say oh, this webmaster is complaining about their ranking on page two of the search results for their most important query, are we doing anything wrong? And if the Search Quality team comes to us and says well, all of these other sites are kind of the same. Why should we show this specific website on page one as well when we already have essentially the same content here already? Then that's the kind of situation where, if you have something really unique and compelling, and we can go back to our team and say well, actually, this site offers something that none of the other sites offers. It has something that's clearly much, much higher of value than anything else in the search results for this query. Then that's something where they'll kind of take a look at that and say, well, OK, maybe we need to figure out how to actually show this site in the search results properly. So essentially going from just being like the others or just aggregating a little bit more information automatically like others might do to actually providing something of really high value to users, something that you're creating, something that you're in a unique position to provide, is kind of what we're looking for there. And of course that's what users want as well.

MALE SPEAKER: Really you should approach it from the other direction, in my experience, as much as you create something of value and then find affiliates that fit in with your content rather than deciding, I'm going to be an affiliate, now how can I create something around that.

JOHN MUELLER: Sure. I mean, it's essentially a business decision, right? It's like, how do you create something that other people want to go to your site, specifically, for, which isn't easy.

MALE SPEAKER: We see it from the other side. We have affiliates, and I have to keep telling that, if you're just going to publish the same discount codes as everyone else, then there's no point. We don't even accept those in the program anymore because it's just a waste of theirs and our time.

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, that's a good way to look at it too. If we had a couple of bad links on our website, is it possible for this affecting the rankings of the whole site as opposed to just those pages? So our website algorithm does take a look at the site overall. And that's something where maybe-- like if there is specific sections on your site that are very problematic, that could have an effect over the rest of your website as well. If you're talking about just a couple of bad links, then that's probably not relevant enough in the context of your whole website. But if this is a significant chunk of your links or significant chunk of your website that's doing these kind of problematic things, then that could affect the rest of your website as well. So there's no absolute count that we'd say oh, it's more than five links from a bad site, then you're in trouble. We really try to look at the whole website overall and see how the complete picture looks.

MALE SPEAKER: John, are they asking about links going out from their website or coming in?

JOHN MUELLER: Couple of bad links on our website. So that's outbound, or maybe in. Could be both I guess. But essentially, it's kind of the same, right? If this is a significant part of your website that's doing this problematic stuff, be it buying links or selling links, or just having spammy links on the website, then that's something I'd definitely take a look at and try to clean up. If it's like weird outliers that you found while looking through your website for a week and you found five pages that are problematic out of a million, then I don't know if that's really worth the trouble of taking care of that manually. Of course, if you find something problematic, cleaning it up is always a good idea.

MALE SPEAKER: But is Penguin concerned with your site if the links on your site, say in the forum, going out, or only where they end up?

JOHN MUELLER: Penguin is kind of a [INAUDIBLE] algorithm. And it usually looks at more the inbound links. Of course we have other algorithms, other manual actions that look at things like spamming user generated content. That might pick up things like a forum that's been spammed, those kind of things. Is it possible that Google trusts your site more if you belong to a respected trade party linked to your industry, et cetera? Should your outbound link to I assume that trade body be follow or nofollow? How should you go about proving to Google that your business is OK? As far as I know, we don't take that into account at all. So that's not something where we'd say oh, you have a link on your website claiming that, I don't know, you're within this association. And we'll take that into account and rank your website higher. It's essentially something where we'd expect, at least to some extent, to indirectly to able to figure that out a little bit better. So we wouldn't directly trust your website by saying, well, I am, I don't know, in this specific association. But rather we'd look at it indirectly and kind of see, well, lots of people are saying this is a great website. Therefore, maybe it is a great website. And it happens to be in this association. We probably wouldn't see that as an association between those websites. But we might see that there's a link from this well respected association website to your website And maybe that's a good sign. But it's not the case that we have any catalog of good trade bodies or good associations. And if you're in those groups, then you're doing OK.

MALE SPEAKER: John, would you say though that in general, to be a good resource, you have to link out to other places sooner or later? Otherwise you're-- I mean, you could be the best resource for everything. But in most cases, unless you're selling a product, you need to give people guidance or have links to other places to be a genuine resource for things. You can't be all things to all people. So having some trusted links going out surely must have some benefit. Because you look like you're not just trying to funnel people in and then keep them there, you are part of the web. Otherwise you're just a full stop.

JOHN MUELLER: It's not the case that we look at these links and say oh, you're linking to some good resources, therefore your site must be good. That's something that a lot of spammy sites did way in the beginning that they would link to, I don't know, Google and Yahoo and And they'd kind of put all their spammy content up and has this filler links on there saying well, look at us. We're a trusted website. We link to legitimate other websites. We do try to take a look at that overall. And if you're providing value with those links, then that's something that's definitely worthwhile for users and for other sites, or for us to show in the search results. But that doesn't mean that you have to link out to all of these sites. And like you mentioned for some sites, it makes more sense for other sites. It makes maybe a little bit less sense. It kind of depends on what specifically you're offering, what value you're providing to the internet. Is it possible to use x-default hreflang tag to indicate the preferred version of a website? For example, I have a page in two languages, English and Spanish. Can I x-default to indicate that the English is addressed for all non-Spanish speakers? Yes, you can definitely do that. So you can set the page to be Spanish. You can set the page to be Spanish for Spain as well, and the x-default. And in that case, if we don't find any other page within those pairs of hreflang tags that matches the user that's searching, we'll take the x-default or the most generic version that kind of fits there. So that's something you can definitely do. One page can be for both the language and the region, as well as just the language, and the x-default. There were hacked sites that impacted the search results and overwrite the URLs of nonhacked sites. Oh, I think this--

MALE SPEAKER: This is the question that I asked earlier, yes. I did send you the information a few minutes ago. So when you have a chance, I'd appreciate that. [INTERPOSING VOICES]

JOHN MUELLER: Some background noise somewhere. Let me run through a handful of more questions. And then I'll open up Barry, don't worry. We'll get to your questions too. Maybe you should submit your questions. Is punctuation important for the titles of articles. For example, how to, what, or why. Should they have a question mark if they're in the headings? I don't think our algorithms take that into account. But of course, users probably get confused by something being a question and not having a question mark. So probably a good practice to do. Am I on the right track when I focus on improving the number of returning visitors to my site, brand awareness, user engagement on my domain, writing content so that when users land on my page, they can find what they were looking for and trust it. That sounds like the good path to take. If you're providing something of value, something that people explicitly want to search for, and they're happy with what they find on your website, that sounds like a good mix. If Google replaces your meta descriptions with extracts of on page content, should this be seen as a negative sign of the page, as Google is therefore messing the potential click through rate by replacing what I want the user to see. How can we fix that? It's not a sign that your page is lower quality. We don't take into account the meta description for ranking he worries so that's something where this would be affecting the pages it does probably mean that the meta description that you provide is something that our algorithms find maybe not as relevant to the user as other stuff on your page. So sometimes that happens when it's spamming keywords, keyword stuffing in the meta description, when a meta description is very vague or very sales-y and doesn't really match the content on the page. All of these things are common reasons why our algorithms might say well, maybe the content on the page itself is more relevant to show in the snippet. So I think it's a sign for you to kind of double check to see what you have in your descriptions. But it's not a critical sign that we would demote your page or see it as being less valuable. Also keep in mind that the snippet can change depending on the query. So if you do a site query, you might see one snippet. If you search specific keywords for those pages, maybe you'll see different snippets. So we try to match that to the user's query so that they really see, this is relevant to my query. And I'll go and visit it. In case two different country websites and mobile websites use hreflang between two region alternate mobile pages-- this is a complicated question. I think in general the question is, how should I use hreflang with separate mobile URLs. And the answer is fairly simple in that the hreflang needs to be between the canonical URLs. So if you have your mobile pages set up properly, they will have a canonical back to your desktop page. And the desktop page will be the one that you have the hreflang between. That's similar also for AMP pages now in the sense that AMP pages also have a canonical back to your desktop. And with the hreflang between the desktop pages, we'd be able to swap out the AMP pages for the appropriate versions too.

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, right. I'm sorry I talked like that. Canonical was not sure be an hreflang. Thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: Sure All right, lets just open up for more questions from you all.

MALE SPEAKER: Hey, can I ask a question?

JOHN MUELLER: What was the question?

MALE SPEAKER: Here's my second one. So I tagged you on this back on, I don't know, a week ago. Google has this elections page. And it pretty much says Google has a partner program, and that if you want to go ahead and get your website to rank better organically and use search engine optimization, and it says contact one of our Google partners. It's causing a tremendous amount of confusion in the industry that Google is certifying, which we discussed-- or Gary discussed that Google does not certify SEOs, and they're not going to be doing that. But this language hasn't changed, which is saying-- I thought that you guys would change the language immediately when you saw it, and you haven't. It's kind of like a bold statement to not do that. I know there's two different departments there. But if this happened back in Matt Cutt's day, it would have been changed like yesterday, you know?

JOHN MUELLER: I know there are discussions around that. But I don't know what the current outcome there is. I think Gary's taking that in.

MALE SPEAKER: So could you confirm or deny that Google, 100%, doesn't have a partner program for SEOs?

JOHN MUELLER: We don't have a partner program for SEOs. I mean, SEOs can be partners in other sense, but we don't have a specific program for SEOs.

MALE SPEAKER: So it is a mistake, correct?

JOHN MUELLER: I don't know the specifics around that page, so I can't say yes or no. [INTERPOSING VOICES]

JOHN MUELLER: --from what I've seen, it's something that Gary's taking in to kind of see that we can fix it.

MALE SPEAKER: I mean, I can read it. It says, "Need help," question mark, "find a Google certified partner to help you implement a smart SEO strategy and drive more traffic to your site."

JOHN MUELLER: That sounds like something we probably wouldn't be saying.

MALE SPEAKER: All right, so you're not sure of the status, but you guys are looking into it. OK, thank you. I can keep asking questions. I don't mind.

JOHN MUELLER: Oh my gosh, [INAUDIBLE] scary. OK, go for it.

MALE SPEAKER: That will be great. So it looks like Google AMP is going live now. Seems like it's rolling out. Do you see it yourself?

JOHN MUELLER: I haven't seen it actually. People on Twitter were saying it was rolling out internationally. And I haven't seen it on my phone. I can't get it to trigger. I mean, some of these things just take a while to get rolled out completely. So we'll start small and kind of make sure that nothing goes wrong on the way. And over time it will reach 100%, or more or less 100%. I don't know what the specific timeline there is, when it will actually be 100%.

MALE SPEAKER: Cool. Couple other questions. One is, other confusion was, again, late last week Google sent out the incorrect hreflang implementation notifications, a bunch of those. And you said they looked correct. Some people were saying some were sent in error. Based on what you've looked into, are all the ones that you guys sent correct in terms of, they were incorrect implementations?

JOHN MUELLER: I can't promise that all of them were.

MALE SPEAKER: But the ones you look at.

JOHN MUELLER: The ones I looked at were correct, yes.

MALE SPEAKER: OK, thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: There's sometimes this time skew issue there in that, let's say, last week maybe your hreflang was set up incorrectly and you fixed it end of last week. And this week we send you the message. And you're like, well, I've already fixed these issues. But it's kind of the way the pipelines run in that it might flag something that was valid last week. But in general, these messages should be correct. What I've seen is a lot of sites feel they have it correct. But when they look at the details, it's actually well, not the way it should be. And that's kind of the reason why we've been sending these messages out is that a lot of people kind of go through the effort of implementing hreflang and they think oh, they have it all covered. Now this should fix all of the internationalization issues. But actually if they implement it wrong, then we ignore that markup. So they're doing all that work for nothing. And that's why we kind of want to let them know about this issue as well.

MALE SPEAKER: I feel bad hogging it, but--

MIHAI APERGHIS: I'll go for one.

MALE SPEAKER: John-- John.

MIHAI APERGHIS: Or Nirash, if he wants to go.

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, actually a small thing was I wanted to know. John, don't you think that in case of hreflang, Google should have let us know in Console that we are currently using this correctly or not. Because sometimes what happens in Search Console I am saying that there is no error. It's still in search result that prior version is not coming in that particular country. So it is just assuming or only my [INAUDIBLE] waiting time that how long I should wait whether it is correct or Google is accepting or not.

JOHN MUELLER: So how to figure out if the markup is correct. I don't have the feature live at the moment, but I believe we also show how many hreflang links we found on the page, right?

MALE SPEAKER: No. In Search Console, it is with no error. But my point was that in the results, search result Google result, their particular version is not picked up by Google.

JOHN MUELLER: I don't think you'd be able to see that directly in the search results, just because the search results aren't really made in a way for end users or webmasters to kind of diagnose why specifically we showed that specific URL in the search results. So that's something where I'd kind of double check in Search Console that we're picking up the hreflang tags properly, and that we're kind of showing them there. But I don't think you can kind of double check from the search results and go back and say well, this is being picked up properly or not. The other thing there to keep in mind is that the hreflang is information that gives us a little bit more information about the page. But it doesn't override everything that we know about the page. For example, if you flag a page as being in English, but we know it's in Spanish, then we probably won't take that hreflang tag into account. We'd probably take the part where we have more, stronger signals into account and show that in the search results. So if we're picking up the wrong page and consistently showing that in the search results, then I'd really double check, on the one hand, that the hreflang tag is technically set up properly, but also that within your website, it's very clear that the context of this page is properly kind of connected. So that it's within that language section of your website, that your website refers to that language version as well, all of these things to really show that these individual language versions are relevant on their own.

MIHAI APERGHIS: OK, I'll go quickly with mine. I found the message I sent you after the last Hangout, because about Rob's issue in Search Console, when dot, dot, dot query, and he-- or position one, he had only 10% CTR or less. So a very small amount of clicks versus a large amount of impressions, even though position was number one. And I checked with a few of my clients, and they all seemed to have 60% to 80% CTR, or like the exact URL search when they [INAUDIBLE] on their websites. So I was curious if you had any idea on why that issue might be, because it was a bit curious.

JOHN MUELLER: I have to think back. I did pass that on to the team to kind of double check to see what's happening there. But from what I heard from the team, that's essentially working as expected. It's not the case that there's anything wrong with the reporting there. Like we mentioned before, there are things like the Knowledge Graph sidebar which aren't taken into account there, which might have an effect, those kind of things. It's really hard to say.

MIHAI APERGHIS: Right. But I don't think that would account for like that much of discrepancy because it's just he only has 8% or 7% CTR for position number one, which is really, really, really low. So it seemed more like an error in report [INAUDIBLE]. But you say it's not. It's really curious.

JOHN MUELLER: I don't know. I'd have to double check.


JOHN MUELLER: I need a memory enhancement too.

MALE SPEAKER: [? Maz ?] and a bunch of webmasters are reporting significant drops in the review stars showing up in the search results as of last week, starting towards the end of last week, and dropping about 15% in terms of the queries that are showing review stars. Is it a bug? Do you aware of anything? It is a spam thing going on?

JOHN MUELLER: I'm not aware of anything specific. But these things change over time. That's something, on the hand, the algorithms, the teams running these algorithms change. On the other hand, kind of the input data into the algorithm changes as well where we might review which sites we want to show snippet for, those kind of things. But also the way that we pick sites to show snippets might also change. So these are the kind of things where I expect fluctuations.

MALE SPEAKER: Talking about fluctuations, how is Penguin doing?

JOHN MUELLER: How is Penguin doing? I don't know. I haven't seen any announcement dates go by yet.

MALE SPEAKER: OK. How are you doing?

JOHN MUELLER: Pretty good, so far.

MALE SPEAKER: Excellent. Well thank you for answering my questions, and everybody else's questions.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, I have to run from here. So it's been a great Hangout again. Thank you all for joining in. I'll copy down the rest of the questions and see if there is something I can answer maybe in the description from the Hangout. Otherwise, we have the next Hangouts set up-- actually there's one today with-- separately, happening I think, in a couple of hours. And on Friday, we should have another one in English. And I believe the AMP team is also doing another one fairly soon. So lots of stuff is happening. If you would like to ask us questions, throw comments our way. Feel free to add questions to the next Hangouts. And we'll try to get through those [INAUDIBLE]. Thank you all for joining. Have a great week. And see you at one of the future Hangouts.


MALE SPEAKER: Thank you, John. [INAUDIBLE] wanted to say thank you. | Copyright 2019