Google Webmaster Hangouts 1-23-2018

What to do When a Competitor Links to Your Site in Order to Generate URLs that Mimic Your Own URL Patterns

Does that sound crazy or what?  Some technically savvy SEOs created thousands of duplicate content pages on this man’s site.  It’s a dirty trick that can be hard to handle appropriately.  John Mueller says to no-index these URLs through the CMS if possible.  If not, using Wildcards in the robots.txt file would be the next best option.

On another note – if you use the urgent URL removal tools in Search Console it simply hides that page from the showing in the index.  It does not actually “remove” it from the index.

Using Dynamically Refreshing Content Won’t Improve Your Rankings

You may see sites in the SERPs that rank very well using this strategy.  However, these sites rank well due to many other factors.  Not because of this.  In fact, dynamic content may actually lead to worse rankings for some.  It’s easier for Google’s algorithm to see consistency in the content than to try and figure out rapidly changing content.

You Can Use The Same Content From a 301 Redirected Page on It’s New Target Page

This is a pretty common practice when using 301 redirects.  John says that this is “perfectly fine to do.”  There’s no risk of duplicate content issues.

Location of Your Internal Links Is Much Less Important Than Crawlability

One of the Hangouts attendees asked if the location of their internal links on the page would impact ranking of their destination page.  What’s important about internal links is that a.) you use them b.) you make them descriptive and c.) you maintain them.  It’s this last point that some folks have trouble with.

You can use a tool like ScreamingFrog to test the crawlability of your site’s linking (at 12:34 in video below).  Make sure that you fix broken internal links.  This is far more important than the link location.

John Mueller’s Top 3 Areas To Focus on in 2018

He prefaced these tips with a caveat.  They’re not really secret SEO tips for success.  Instead he shared 3 things that he and his team are focusing on.

1 – Make Javascript sites work well in the search engine

More and more sites are using this “modern framework” as John mentions.  SEOs tend to shy away from these types of sites because they’ve been difficult to optimize in the past.  He says that in 2018 this may be a big opportunity.

2 – Mobile

He emphasized this topic a bit more.  The key areas to focus on are making sure all of your content and functionality exists on your mobile site completely.  This is more than just mapping your pages one to one.  You need to make sure your site’s mobile user experience is excellent.

3 – Structured Data

John feels this topic is still a bit hit or miss for many webmasters.  He recommends that you focus on marking up the correct things and use JSON-LD markup on pages where that makes sense.

What to do When Your Product is Out of Stock

If you run an ecommerce site you’ve most likely run into this problem.  The first thing to do is differentiate between the following scenarios.

a.) Is the product out of stock and never to return?

If you have a replacement product that’s mostly identical, just redirect it.

b.) Is the product temporarily out of stock?

This is up to you.  John says he might use structured data markup to indicate that this product is no longer available at the moment.  Once it’s available again you can update the markup.

c.) Is the product out of stock and never coming back BUT you want to keep something on the page for reference?

This could be moved to an archive section of your site.  It won’t remain in your normal shop.  Instead you’d redirect this page to an archival area where you have “old documentation.”

Google Doesn’t Use GPS Co-Ordinates in Structured Data

Don’t bother trying to markup your GPS data.  This isn’t something that Google will use to help your rankings.  Instead stick to the basics and markup your physical address.

When You Canonical Page A to Page B Google Will Pass The Signals To Page B

This is very helpful of Google.  However, if you were to noindex page A or have a 404 error code – you will lose the signals being passed to page B.  This could result in a negative impact on page B due to the lost signals.

Conclusion

This GWH was full of incredibly helpful technical knowledge.  SEO is a long game.  In a long game like this you must stay on top of your technical knowledge.  If you don’t you’ll find yourself and your site passed by.  We hope you enjoyed this recap and as always – let us know if you have questions in the comments below.

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