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Google+ Hangouts - Office Hours - 24 April 2015

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JOHN MUELLER: All right, welcome everyone to today's Google Webmaster Central Office Hours Hangout. 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 make sure that any open questions can be answered and also bring the feedback back to the engineering team internally here at Google to make sure that we're doing things that help you make better websites too. As always, if any of you want to ask a question in the beginning, feel free to go ahead and jump on in now.

MIHAI APERGHIS: I have one, of course. So one of our clients is a US-based e-commerce website. And their target audience is basically any English-speaking user. So country-wise-- it's the United States, Australia, Canada, UK. And I noticed recently that their Webmaster Tools account is actually geo-targeted to the United States. Somebody probably made a mistake one day for the account-- not sure how long ago. And obviously, this is not what they really want because their audience is not just in the United States. And this obviously has an effect because 80% of the traffic is from the United States and from other English-speaking countries is almost none. And my recommendation was to actually remove the geotargeting option. But they're kind of worried that just like a website redirect or migration, they might see a loss of traffic before Google picks up this change. And they won't show up as well as far as the United States until they get the other traffic from the other countries. Is that something they should worry about?

JOHN MUELLER: Usually not so much. So I guess there's one thing worth mentioning here with that in general is that there are two ways that we've seen people kind of take out the geo-targeting. And one is just by removing the checkbox above the setting. And if you do that, essentially our systems will try to figure out where you're trying to do geo-target and do that automatically for you. So in a case where a website is really focused on the US primarily, then we'll probably just say, well, the user didn't specify anything, but we see they are focused on the US. So we'll geo-target them automatically for the US. So that's kind of-- if you just deselect that checkbox on top, that's probably not what you want to do. What you can do is leave the check box selected, but choose I think it's unlisted in the list or no-entry or something like that in that list of countries where essentially you're telling us explicitly you don't want to have geo-targeting applied for this website. It should really be global.

MIHAI APERGHIS: Oh, I didn't know about this, I think.

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, it's something obscure almost. That's something you could do if you really wanted to say this is a global website that shouldn't be geo-targeted at all. Whether or not they'll see a change in traffic, I expect that they would see a change. But it's hard to say in advance if maybe this drop of traffic from the US-- because it's not explicitly targeting the US anymore-- is compensated directly with additional traffic from other countries. That's really, I guess, impossible to say in advance. But the good thing is this setting gets picked up relatively quickly. So after a week or so, you should see kind of the effects of what changed here.

MIHAI APERGHIS: Yeah, that's very interesting. Thanks [INAUDIBLE].




JOSHUA BERG: People who are tracking with bated breath the mobile-friendly algorithm updates are saying that they're seeing very a small change now into the third day-- nothing unusual. Is that just because it's expected to be slowly rolling out? Or is it just not going into effect yet?

JOHN MUELLER: It's definitely rolling out. I know in some of the data centers it's already rolled out completely. So that's something where I think you'll probably see this change over the course a week-- or maybe a week and a half-- something like that. So from the first day to the next day, I don't think you'd see a big change. But if you compare last week to maybe next week, then you should be able to see a change there. And I've seen some blog posts out there that have noticed this difference and tried to document a difference between the desktop results and the new mobile results. So there are definitely people that are noticing it as well.

JOSHUA BERG: So there is usually a several day difference with a lot of updates between the data centers?

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, I don't know if I could say usually or if that's something that always happens that it really depends on the way that it's rolled out. But in this case, it's something that does take about a week-- a week and a half to be displayed.

JOSHUA BERG: OK, and since people have also noticed that about 70% of search results or at least a lot of the top queries are mobile-friendly. I don't know if that's an accurate number or not. But doesn't that mean that within all of those top queries, we wouldn't necessarily see that big a difference.

JOHN MUELLER: Well I mean, there are more and more sites that are mobile friendly. So that's something where those sites will probably see a positive advantage there. And I think it's pretty rare that you'd find the search results where all of the top 10 results are already mobile-friendly. Obviously, that would be awesome. But I think at the moment, that's still pretty rare. So in those cases where really all of the top 10 results are mobile-friendly already, I don't think you'd see much of a change there. But in situations where some of them are mobile-friendly, but some of them aren't, then, of course, you'll see some shuffling around.

JOSHUA BERG: All right, thanks.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, let's jump through the questions here. What do we have? "About duplicate content-- if an e-commerce company is legally bound to share an identical official brand product description with other big e-commerce sites and the brand itself is the site going to be penalized? How to avoid being hidden in organic search?" So first of all, we don't have a duplicate content penalty. So it's not something where I'd say there's something specific that you have to watch out for that we're going to penalize the site because it has some of the product descriptions that are similar to others. That's definitely not the case. So there are things you can obviously do to make your site more relevant or more-- provide more or slightly different information and that always helps. That includes things like having your address on your pages, having additional information about these products, allowing your customers to review those products directly so that they-- all of this additional information that you provide on your pages is something that isn't available everywhere else. And that definitely helps make it a little bit easier for us to rank your site appropriately. So that's something that you can definitely always do, even if you have to use the same product descriptions as other sites so that the more you can differentiate yourself, your site, from all the others that are out there, the easier it really is for us to understand what makes your site special and what we need to show your site for. And that's not something we penalize the site for. Like I mentioned before, even if you do use exactly the same product descriptions as other sites, that's not something where we'd say, well, this is spam because we know that this is something that happens on the web. And we have to handle it. But, again, the easier we can understand what makes your site special and the clearer, of course, users understand that, the more we'll be able to take that into account. All right, these traditional questions about hidden content. "You said Google algorithm may view tabbed content as less important as initially hidden from the user. Will the same apply to content below the fold? For example, if we had a title that had little at the top and main content below, would this be considered thin content?" No, not necessarily. So we do have one algorithm that might apply in cases like that is where we see that they're just a lot of ads above the fold where essentially where the user opens the page, they get bombarded with a lot of information that's totally irrelevant for them-- for this page-- for what they're searching for. And that's something we would algorithmically try to recognize and take action on that. But if it's just a matter that you have a nice layout and you have a nice image on top and the image matches it, the article or the content that you're writing about and you have a lot of content below the fold because it's a really long article, then that's perfectly fine. That's not something I'd worry about. That's not something where we'd say, well, we have to discount this because it's not immediately visible. Essentially, if the site uses a normal how can I say-- normal site structure where you have normal content that you can scroll through, that's something that we can see. It's visible immediately. Users understand that they can scroll through large piece of text and we show that appropriately. "I once asked about the mobile versions of a site-- how I need to do the robots.txt because I have two versions of a site and in that Do I need to close for Googlebot and just open it for Googlebot mobile?" No, we recommend that you make both of these versions available to Googlebot so that we can crawl both of these versions and recognize what they are. So if Googlebot-- normal Googlebot can crawl the mobile version and see that this is a mobile site, we can automatically taken that into account as a mobile site. On the other hand, if Googlebot can't crawl the mobile site. then it won't really know what kind of content is there and if that's really a mobile version of the site-- if that's a desktop version-- if that's something that shouldn't be indexed at all-- it's really hard to say. So as much as possible, I'd recommend using the same or very similar robots.txt directives for the desktop and the mobile site. "Before, you said you may look at this later. Many are confused between the landing and doorway pages. Is this a doorway page? It fits into a doorway page in many ways." I probably need to take a look at that page in detail. If that's your website, I'd also recommend posting in the help forum to get some feedback from other people who have similar pages like that. But it's kind of hard to look at pages on the fly during the Hangout. "How does Google protect sites that are producing unique and compelling content? Content that's so very unique and its continuously copied and used to market other sites. Thus, the rankings just keep falling as duplicate content penalty." As I mentioned before, we don't have a duplicate content penalty. It's not something where we'd say if there's content duplicated, that this page is automatically spammy. Oftentimes there are very technical reasons for content being duplicated. And sometimes you have situations like this perhaps where other people are copying your content. And just because it's the same as what other people have, doesn't mean that your version is less valuable. So we do try to recognize the original versions of the content and treat that appropriately. So that's something where it's not the case that you have to do anything artificial to keep changing your content to try to prevent it from being the same as other people have copied from your site. It's really the case that I'd recommend focusing on your website and making it just the best that it could possibly be. "Some of the content of my website on their domain and iframe. What are the implications? And you have any advice on what to do?" Essentially, this is something that's kind of up to you what you want to do there. One thing that you can do from a technical point of view if that's something you want to block is there's a special header that you can add to your pages to prevent them from being used in an iframe. So that's something from a technical point of view that you could put on your pages if you saw this happening and you really wanted to prevent that from being done. From a search point of view, this isn't something I'd really worry about. We do look at the pages that are embedding their iframe. We do try to look at the content within the iframe. But we recognize this kind of situation fairly quickly. Because, of course, it's embedded in the original source. And we already had the original source indexed as well. So that's not something where you need to do anything from a search point of view. But maybe you want to do something from a user experience point of view or from the point of view that maybe you are trying to block people from using your pages for phishing or something like that. So that's kind of up to you what you'd like to do there from a search point of view. It's not something you need to block. "I don't understand when I should and shouldn't use a no-follow. If we write news and blog posts on our site, all are written in-house. We never link to anyone that's not for genuine reasons. And I've kept them all no-follow and wonder if that's correct." Essentially a no-follow on a link on a website tells us that you don't want to pass page rank for that link. And that's something that you can legitimately use if there is, for example, a commercial relationship between these sites-- if the other site is paying you for advertising or paying you for linking to your site, then that's something where you could put a no-follow there and let us know about that so that we don't take that into account in our link graph. On the other hand, if this is a natural link that you've placed on your website because you think this is just a great resource or if this is maybe additional documentation or an additional reference that users might use-- and there's really no commercial version relationship there-- then that's something where you don't really need to put a no-follow on those. It's really for us more a problem if there's this unnatural relationship between the website that's linking out and the site that's being linked to. And that link is only there because of this kind of commercial relationship that's happening there. "I see a new trend when sites are creating white-label versions of their product and getting do-follow links on their site like the homepage--, for example. Is this allowed. I see it abused a lot recently." I'd have to take a look at some of these examples. I don't know. Essentially if you're just generating different variations of your website or your product pages, and to some extent, that's essentially OK because sometimes it does make sense to have different web pages for slight variations of a product or for a business. For example, maybe you have a consumer branch where you're selling things directly to consumers. And you also have variation where you're doing more business to business sales. Then maybe it makes sense to have two websites for something like that. It's essentially the same product. But you're targeting a very different audience. And for that, maybe it makes sense. On the other hand, if you have dozens and dozens of different variations, you're just saying, well, I want to make a website for wooden garden furniture because I know that's a very special user group. But I also want to make a website for aluminum garden furniture because they want something different too. And you start building this out. And you add more and more variations. And that's something that quickly looks like a collection of doorway pages where you're essentially just generating these sites to target very niche keywords. And that generally doesn't make sense from a search point of view-- from a technical point of view because you're creating all of this additional work that has to be crawled and indexed and ranked appropriately. And it also starts looking very spammy from our point of view. So that's something that I'd avoid. On the other hand, if you're really looking into two or three variations where you're saying these are really clearly separated user groups. And these users really want to be targeted individually, then maybe that makes sense.

JOSHUA BERG: John, did that new doorway page algorithm roll out about what it's going to be-- or was that an update?

JOHN MUELLER: I believe that is rolled out, yeah.


JOHN MUELLER: "Our site lists our URLs as HTTP when they are actually HTTPS. Is that going to be a problem for Google indexing those pages?" It's not a problem in the sense that it'll cause problems. But it's something that doesn't really help your site that much because the bigger issue here is you're submitting-- you're essentially giving us inconsistent signals. And when search engines run across inconsistent signals like that, they have to guess for themselves. And that's probably not what you'd like to do. So as much as possible, I'd recommend really focusing on the URLs that you actually do want to have indexed and using them consistently and using them in the sitemap file, using them internally when you link within your website, using them for hreflang annotations, if you have that, using them for any other kind of annotations where you're using them within your website or where you're kind of pointing to this URL. So that's something where if you can give us really clear and consistent signals. And if you redirect from your alternate versions, use a rel=canonical, all of that, then we can focus on that and be really certain that this is really what the webmaster wants. On the other hand, if during crawling we see HTTPS and in the sitemap it says HTTP. And some of the links go here. Some of the links go here. We kind of have to make a guess. We don't really know what you're trying to do. So our algorithms makes some kind of an educated guess about what you're trying to do and how we should index that. And maybe that's not really what you'd like. Maybe you have a strong preference. And if you want to let us know about that, then make sure that you're doing in a consistent way. "Does Google still use a supplemental index. If yes, how am I able to find out if pages are in the supplemental index and which ones are in the main index?" So we have I guess a bunch of different indexes. So it's not the case that there is just one supplemental index and one main index. We do try to split things up separately depending on various technical factors. And that's not something that you really need to worry about. That's more or less something technical internally at Google that is just a technical way that we keep track of these URLs. It doesn't mean that they are any way better or worse URLs. They are just different ways that we categorize URLs and that we keep track of them in our various indexes. So that's not something where you have to do any kind of a magical query and say, oh, my gosh. My pages are in the supplemental index. I need to run the anti-supplemental index tool because you're essentially indexed. And that's not something where you have to worry about which index you're in or which, I don't know, which ID you have in our database essentially. That's a technical element on our side that you don't really need to worry about. It doesn't have any effect on crawling, indexing, and ranking. So that's essentially not something you need to worry about. "We have running two separate domains for recipes and food-- one in the UK, the other in Australia with two different domain names. We use from time to time recipes from each domain. We use hreflang tag for country-specific duplicate page URLs. Is that good or bad for a search?" So if you're running two separate domains and you are targeting different countries, and some of the content is equivalent across these domains, then using the hreflang markup is definitely a good idea. The hreflang markup works across different domains-- works across different top-level domains. It could also be within the same domain if you want to do that within one domain. So that's something you can definitely do there, even if the pages are both in English, but one is for the UK and other one is for Australia, you can set up the hreflang markup between those pages. There are two things that we've noticed that people sometimes get wrong with the hreflang markup. One is you need to make sure that you use the URLs that are actually indexed. So if you have one version of your pages that would slash default that HTM. And we actually indexed that just with the slash-- without the default. HTM because that's kind of an unnecessary suffix-- then your hreflang markup needs to be between the pages that are actually indexed. So you kind of link from the slash version on one domain to a slash version on the other domain. And that's essentially the way that we have that set up. The other thing that you need to watch out for is the markup needs to be confirmed by both sides. So the Australian page needs to point to the UK version. And the UK page needs to point back to Australian version. That way we can kind of close this loop. And we can be certain that this markup is really used correctly and used in a way that the webmaster wanted. So those are essentially things to watch out for. Hreflang is something that's on per-page basis. So if you have some of these recipes that are only available in Australia-- some of them are only in the UK-- then you don't need to use hreflang for that. But for the recipes that are shared across the UK and the Australian pages, you can definitely use a hreflang markup between that. And another thing to maybe just know is if these recipes are essentially equivalent, but not identical, then it's still possible to use hreflang markup between those two recipes. For example, if you have the same recipe in the US with US measurements, and you have the UK version with metric measurements, then essentially it's a slightly different recipe. But it's still the US version of the same content. So you can use hreflang markup between those pages. "What does Google like more? Responsive design or its own mobile site?" We do recommend responsive web design. But we support all three variations-- so responsive, separate mobile URLs, or dynamic serving. And we treat them equivalently. So that's not something where you need to change your design from one set up to another one just to match Google's preference. They are essentially equivalent for us. They all rank the same. They are all recognized as being mobile-friendly. They would all get the mobile-friendly boost, for example. So that's not something where you need to pick the one that Google wants. I would recommend picking the one that works best for you. And if you have no idea which one you'd like to do, then we recommend using responsive web design. If you do have a strong preference already, or if you have something set up already, then clearly go with that instead. "Does the 'if modified since' header have an impact in rankings?" No, it doesn't. It does help us understand when to crawl a little bit better. So if you are giving the 'if modified since,' that's something where we'll try to crawl the URL with that additional header. We can say, yes, this page has changed or, no, this page hasn't changed. Then we can kind of simplify what we need to crawl and how much we need to crawl from your website. So it doesn't impact rankings. But it can impact how quickly we can crawl through your website and if your website is very quickly changing-- if it's a news website-- if we have a lot of new products or a lot of new articles on your website that you need to have indexed as quickly as possible, then being able to crawl efficiently can make a difference because, suddenly, that new content will be available for rankings. It's not that it'll artificially rank higher. But if you're the first one out there with this topic, we can crawl an index site content quickly. Then, of course, we'll be able to show that in search. "App indexing is now used as a ranking signal for both installed apps or non-installed apps as their relevance to users are different. Do they get a different degree of impact by the app indexing signal?" I believe at the moment this is more or less equivalent from our point of view. So there's is no tweak between those two variations. I know that this is very new and I know this is something that the team is definitely working on. So I would expect that there might be some changes there in the future. So that's not something where I'd say, well, this is the current status. And it will always be like this. We're definitely watching to see how this works and how users react to it and adjusting as we go along. "Sitemaps and have the same canonical pointing to Is it necessary to have a sitemap file for" Good question. I would say yes just from the sense that you probably want the mdot version to be crawled as well so that we can pick that up. It's kind of tricky in the sense that we recommend putting the URLs in your sitemap file that you want to have indexed. But the sitemap file doesn't affect indexing directly. It's something that primarily affects the crawling. And if you need to have these URLs crawled, then putting them in sitemap file is also a legitimate use there. For example, if you're moving from one domain to another, and you have set up all the redirects, then submitting the sitemap files for your old URLs probably helps because we'll be able to crawl those URLs a little bit faster, recognize that they redirect, and process that accordingly. So that's something where ideally you'd want to put the URLs in your sitemap file that you'd like to have indexed for the long run. For the short term, if there's something that you need to push for crawling, then that's something you can definitely do. "Do natural links to your website all have the same benefit if they link to a page with a no-index tag on it as they would linking to a regular index page?" Probably not in the sense that if the page is no-index, it won't be able to rank. Of course, if it doesn't have a no-follow on that page-- a robots no-follow tag, then it'll be able to forward that information-- that additional page ranks from those links pointing to it to the links that are linked to this page that has no index. So they kind of spread that page rank a little bit. But, of course, there is a difference between a page that can be indexed, that can be shown in search, that can rank in search, and a page that can't be shown in search at all. So obviously there's a difference there. Pages that are no-index can still forward page rank, though. "You stated that you only support rel=canonical for HTML pages, not for images of video files. I wonder what the reasoning behind this decision was." I think this is mostly a technical decision that was made at the time. And that's something where, at the moment, I believe it still makes sense there. I do know that in some situations it would be helpful to be able to specify canonical for images. But at the moment that's not possible. "I was wondering if Google is aware of the spam referral traffic issue within Google Analytics and if there's anything that can be done in the foreseeable future." I know that the Analytics team is aware of this and that they're working on finding different solutions for that. And I believe they have been following up on some of these issues. I don't know if there's an absolute solution lined up for the future. I imagine they're working on something around that. But for that, you'd probably need to ask the Analytics team. And maybe check in with them in the forum. I'm sure there are threads about this already. "Can I consider that algorithmic detection ranking change against doorways is already live? In the Japanese Hangouts the Googlers say, we've already started working on it." I believe it's live, yeah. So the Japanese Googlers probably weren't telling you anything crazy. Let me see. "We have a problem with JavaScript indexing in Scribblelink, which is a live blog tool used in reporting on events that are happening live. Sometimes Googlebot is indexing the page with all the content in the live blog, but in other articles, it doesn't index it." I'd probably have to take a look at some of those pages when they're being updated to see what exactly is happening there. I guess that one of the tricky aspects, especially with live blogs with content that's updated by JavaScript, is that we process JavaScript kind of as a second step. And that's not something that happens as quickly as being able to crawl the HTML. So if there's something really that needs to be found quickly in search, and we can just crawl a URL and find the content in the HTML, then we'll be able to pick up that HTML content very quickly. On the other hand, if we need to process JavaScript to actually see this content, that's something that probably takes another cycle or two longer for us to actually process all of the JavaScript and make sure we have the JavaScript files-- make sure none of embedded content is blocked by robots.txt, and then figure out what this JavaScript is actually producing. So that's something where I imagine in a situation where you're live blogging something and you want your news visible as quickly as possible, you probably want to make sure that you're using more HTML pages-- static HTML pages to push those updates-- then just to rely only on JavaScript. We'll definitely pick it up afterwards. Like after we've been able to reprocess these pages for JavaScript. But that's probably not as quick as something that really needs to be updated just now and we need to have that visible in search immediately-- something that you would be able to do with HTML pages. "We've not been crawled now for a week from Googlebot because of fetch error and unreachable DNS. We've checked everything. We can't find a solution." So there is a thread on the mailing list called public DNS discuss, which is for Google's public DNS servers. And apparently there were some issues there that they ran across where we weren't able to really get a clear DNS response for some kind of DNS servers. So I double checked that thread. I can try-- I can add a link to it afterwards to the event entry. And from there, I believe you can post there. And they will put you on a temporary list to make sure that it's definitely crawlable. And otherwise, this issue should be resolved fairly quickly as well. But this is something that we're definitely aware of and we should be able to handle it fairly quickly. Let's see. "We have a site, which has been in the top three all the times. We're redesigning it now and building a mobile site. But we can't make it before the 21st, which was a couple of days ago, I guess. What will happen with SEO ranking and mobile. Will the desktop site be penalized because of this?" We did a short, FAQ blog post as well about some of these questions. So if you haven't seen that, I'd double check the "Webmasters Central" blog. In general the ranking affects only mobile search results. So only people searching on mobile will see this change. The desktop site, or the desktop search results, won't be affected by this. If you start putting your mobile-friendly site up. I don't know-- at some point. Then as we re-crawl those pages-- as we re-crawl the pages from your website and see that they are mobile-friendly, we'll be able to take that into account fairly quickly. So I saw someone posted saying that it was 12 to 18 hours after they updated it. They got the mobile friendly badge. And as soon as you have the mobile-friendly badge, then we're treating this as a mobile-friendly page. And we'll be able to rank it accordingly. So that's something where if you start now and make your website mobile friendly, as soon as we're able to crawl those pages, within a day or so, you should be able to see those results as well. "Any suggestions for when an old page is split into two new pages? Presumably you cannot add canonicals to both of the pages from the old page." If you're splitting one page into two pages, that's I guess always kind of a tricky situation. One thing I will do there is try to make sure that there's at least the connection to one of these pages-- maybe the first page or the first part of the page to the new pages. So that could be either that you use the same URL as the old page for the first version of the page or the first part of the page. Or that you redirect from the existing URL to the first part of the page so that we can at least understand that there's this relationship between the old URL and one of the new URLs. And that's I think a really important part because that way we can kind of move on continuously understanding the pages, understanding its context and don't have to relearn everything about this page. So that's really something that helps. If you're splitting off part of the content into a new page, then I think that's something. Sometimes you just have to do that. And I'd just make sure that you have a link from the existing page to the new page as well so that there's this clear connection. If you're essentially turning this into paginated content where you say this is part one, this is part two, or maybe there's a part three, or maybe part three is coming at some point later, you could also start looking into the rel=next and rel=previous link attributes, which let us know about paginated content so that we understand its context a little bit better. So that's something you could also look into, especially if you're splitting these pages up into more than just one or two parts. "I have used a data highlighter in Webmaster Tools for several of my client's website to promote upcoming events and products. How long does it take for the results to show up in Google Search?" It's different. It really depends on the website and what kind of markup you used there. I know the events markups sometimes takes a little bit longer because we really have to be sure that this is a proper use of the event markup. Product markup usually gets picked up fairly quickly. The same applies if you're doing this on the page itself or if you're using a data highlighter. So you'll probably see product markup a little bit more visible or visible faster than events markup. But essentially they are different ways just of marking things up on your pages. "Due to Google Webmaster policy on mobile-friendly pages, I've recently moved and redesigned my site to a new host. So the Webmaster Tools-- I submitted a new sitemap. Was that the correct thing to do? And how long will that take for Google to recognize?" If you've redesigned your website, one thing I'd recommend looking at is the Webmaster Central Help Center on moving sites. So if you're saying that you move to a new host-- if you've redesigned your pages, then that's something you might want to look into what all is involved there. If you're moving from one domain to another, then obviously you need to set up the redirect as easily as possible. If you're changing the URLs in your website, that's something where you also need to set up redirects-- also the sitemap file, of course, to let us know about that change. One of things probably worth watching out for is if you are redesigning your website and keeping the same URLs, but you have things like embedded content. You have a lot of images on your website. Then also make sure that those images try to use the same URLs as much as possible or at least that the image URLs also redirct. So one case I ran across recently was a site that did a redesign that kept all the same URLs. But they had a lot of traffic through image search. And all of the image URLs changed. And the old image URLs went 404. And the new one showed the new images. And essentially what happened there is from an image search point of view, the old image URLs returning 404. So we dropped them out fairly quickly, but it takes quite a bit of time for new image URLs to get shown in image search and to be picked up, crawled, and processed appropriately. So this is something that generally takes longer than normal HTML pages. So what happened there is the site was suddenly almost not visible at all in image search anymore. And it can take a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months for those images to start showing up in image search again. So that's something where if you're doing a redesign-- if you're working to keep the same HTML URLs and really also work to keep the same embedded content URLs, especially the image URLs as much as possible. And if you do have to change the embedded content URLs, also make sure that you have 301s set up for those URLs. So for the images-- even if you have CSS and JavaScript files, and you change those URLs, and make sure that you have redirect set up for those so that we can follow along and use them appropriately. I guess the other part of the question was about how long it takes to be recognized as mobile-friendly. As I mentioned before, this is on a per-page basis. If we recognize that during crawl, then usually fairly quickly we'll be able to take that into account for ranking for the mobile-friendly label as well. "An app on Google Play with a deep app indexing is a ranking signal now. What about people who don't have an app on Google Play because of a similar business store of free apps and games. It seems wrong. We're a recognized store. We have better capabilities for our users." Obviously, If you don't have an app, then that's essentially up to you. That's something that is not something that we're saying everyone should have an app. But it is something that users, for example, on Android smartphone-- they might be interested in seeing. And sometimes these apps provide really good user experience, which is why we're showing them in the search results as well. So that's something where it's not that we're forcing websites to have an app. It's just that having an app and linking that app with your website is sometimes similarly interesting for users as having a mobile-friendly page. So we try to treat those kind of similarly. "Does Google have a special focus on SEO agencies besides the typical black hat forms. If yes, in which way?" I am not really sure what the question is. I guess one thing to mention here is that SEO agencies per se aren't bad. I know a lot of SEOs do really, really well-- good things. And there are lots of technical things that have to be done to make a website that works really well in search. And these are all things that normal webmasters often don't know about. And that's something where an SEO and SEO agency has a lot of experience understanding what search engines are looking for, how search engines work. And that's really valuable information. That's a lot of really valuable work. That's important for the website. But it's also important for us as Google because if we can't crawl and index content normally, then it'll be really hard for us to show that in search. And it will be really hard for us to give users really representative, relevant search results if we can't crawl and index that content. So it's not that SEO is bad or that SEO is something that's going to go away. There's just lots of things that SEOs do which are really really useful for us. So equating the average SEO with a black hat, I don't think that really make sense. And I don't think that's fair at all. So from that point of view, I think working together with SEOs is a great thing. And they do a lot of really important work. "I plan to move one folder of my site to a new domain. How to do it correctly? For example, now I want to get a separate domain for that folder-- how to avoid getting lots of 404s after removing the content?" So I wouldn't remove the content. I'd redirect the content. So you can change the content of that folder, put it on your new domain, and then redirect from that folder to your new domain so that if a user has bookmarked your old content in the browser, and click on that bookmark, they'll see that redirect be sent to your new domain. And they'll be able to find all of your content there. So that's something that search engines do similarly. If we know about your old content in this folder, we can follow that redirect when we see it. And we can go to your new domain. And we can forward all the information we have about that folder to your new domain. This is something that sometimes takes a little bit longer than just a normal move where you're moving everything one-to-one. But this is a good thing to do if you think it makes sense to split up your content. Similarly, you can do it the same way the other way around. If you have one domain, and you want to put that into a folder on your website, make sure you have the redirect set up there so that we can follow from the domain to the new folder. Let's see. "How to avoid the duplicate content for that new domain? How to keep all the links for the folder after migration to a new domain?" Again, if you have a redirect from the old version to the new version, then you don't have to worry about the duplicate content. Also, we don't have a duplicate content penalty. So if you can't set up a redirect for technical reasons perhaps, that's also something we can live with and something that won't cause your site to disappear from Google Search. If you do set up redirects, we'll be able to forward the links as well. So content within that folder has received a lot of links from external websites. And we'll, of course, forward all of that information that we have to your new domain. Let's see. Maybe I can open it up for questions from you will in the meantime?

MIHAI APERGHIS: I'll go ahead with another one.


MIHAI APERGHIS: This one is actually regarding content syndication mostly. I don't know if that's the right way to put it. Basically we focused on building really quality, informative content for our users. That also has a small book for the media to pick it up and increase our exposure. So, for example, we did a guide on how to prevent and treat allergies-- spring allergies-- since it's the spring season and everything. And we approached some journalist. And asked them if they were interested in this material. And they gave us two options usually. They came to just pick it up one on one and mention us as an original source. Or they can show us a small summary-- maybe we can summarize that for them and do like a 'read more here' or something like that. What do you think is the best option that we could have allowed them to do?

JOHN MUELLER: I think both of these are sometimes valuable, correct options. So it's hard to say which one would be better. I think sometimes you don't really have a choice. Sometimes these sites essentially just do it on their own. A lot of times what we see when sites reuse content. Usually, they'll just use a snippet of the content or a section of the content and have the rest of their article around this content. So that's something that I think is traditionally done. But essentially both of these are valid choices. I've also seen situations where maybe you have a newspaper network where one newspaper site publishes the content first as a primary source. And the other sites also to republish content. In a case like that, if it's more of a network situation, I'd just make sure that you have a rel=canonical set up properly so that we can focus on that one version that you think is the most authoritative for that individual article. I realize if this is other people's websites and reusing your content, that's not something you can easily force. Maybe they're technical reasons that they can't just put a rel=canonical on an individual article. So that's something where I think working together with them to see what makes sense is probably a good idea.



JOSHUA BERG: A few weeks ago I had noticed that I wasn't seein-- couldn't find any in-depth articles when searching through international proxies. Was I mistaken in thinking that had already rolled out-- that there were in-depth articles appearing internationally?

JOHN MUELLER: I think that's just individual countries. I think that's just individual countries. I don't think that's really globally for everyone yet.

JOSHUA BERG: OK, but for example, within the UK for another local search.

JOHN MUELLER: I don't know. I don't know which countries specifically it rolled out in. So I do think it's not completely global at this point-- in-depth articles. But it's more countries than just the US. But I don't have the full list in my head at the moment.

JOSHUA BERG: OK, do you think the adoption has not been as wide as would have been hoped?

JOHN MUELLER: I don't know. I don't know. I know they've made some changes there recently. So it's not that it's completely abandoned and running by itself. But I also don't know what the future plans are there. So that's really hard to say. I think-- I find it personally really useful because it does give some background information on some of these queries. But I don't know what the full plans are there or if that's something that we'd even be able to discuss if we did have them.

JOSHUA BERG: All right. Thanks.

JOHN MUELLER: All right. For some of you new here in the Hangout, is anything specific that I can help with? Is there something that's been on your mind that you've been wanting to ask? Not really. Let me run through the submitted questions briefly to see what we have here. "Does the disavow file take redirect into account? Getting a bunch of spam-- the links want to disavow the domain. But the top page of the domain redirects to Can it happen if disavowing spam is recognized as disavowing" If it's just one URL within that site that's redirecting somewhere else, I wouldn't worry about if you want to disavow all the content-- all of the links from that domain, then by all means, go ahead and do that. It's not the case that we would follow this one individual redirect and say, well, Yahoo is also being found here. Therefore, the webmaster probably wants to disavow all of Yahoo. That's not what we're doing there. Essentially what we're looking at is where we find the individual links coming from, where they're going to, and if the site that these links are going to has a disavow file for those links from that domain, then we'll disavow those specific links an d not anything else that's kind of around that domain or that's connected with individual URLs from that domain. "Google says add schema organization markup to your official website that identifies the location of your logo, whether [INAUDIBLE] JSON or logo schema markup is used to link to an image file hosted off the website's main domain?" Yes, that should work as well. It doesn't have to be an image that's directly on the main domain or on the same host name. It can be somewhere else. All right, with that , we're just about out of time. Thank you all for joining. Lots of questions again. It looks like mobile questions are going down, which I take as a good sign that people know what to do or have done it already. So hopefully that trend continues a bit. I wish you guys a great weekend. And hopefully I will see you again in one of the future Hangouts.

JOSHUA BERG: Bye, John. Bye everyone. | Copyright 2019