Google Webmaster Hangouts 10-20-2017

Google Webmaster Hangouts 10-20-2017

Google Webmaster Hangout 10-20-2017

High Quality Backlinks VS Low Quality Backlinks

John wasn’t willing to spend time on this topic.  It’s been covered on many different hangouts and webmaster central blogposts.  So in the spirit of saving you some time, here is a quote from a webmaster central blog post on discerning low quality links:

we recommend looking for patterns that point to general issues that are worth resolving. For example, spammy blog comments, auto generated forum posts or text advertisements with links that pass PageRank are likely to be seen as unnatural links and would violate Google’s quality guidelines.

A Brand is a Ranking Factor (Sometimes Indirectly)

This topic is a bit controversial.  Big brands can be tough to compete with in the SERPs.  Brands of all sizes have a natural advantage when it comes to ranking for their brand related terms.  This just makes sense.  However, despite John mentioning that they are treated the same algorithmically for generic terms – they still have a bit of an advantage.  For example, some brand sites tend to have more trust value in Google’s eyes.  Some are known to have very high quality content.  Big brands also acquire enormous amounts of high quality natural links as well.

Use Keywords When Linking (Especially Internally)

Again, this is a very popular topic.  You’d think that SEO’s would do this naturally.  Doing so makes it more clear for Google to understand.  In the video someone asks which is better:

“For more info on SEO updates visit my post VS SEO updates”

John says that both of these work for Google.  What is less helpful is using “click here” as your anchor.  Take caution – this is highly suggested when linking internally.  Over using keyword anchors in your backlinks can lead to trouble however.

Google Differentiates Between Very Slow & Normal Range Load Times

If you’re focused on increasing your load time by mili-seconds you’re most likely in the normal load class.  It’s well known that site load time is a ranking factor.  Fast sites rank well.  Obviously the faster your site ranks the better user experience you’ll serve (and likely impact conversion rates).  However, at this time it may not have the biggest impact on rankings.

Content In Tabs is OK For Mobile-First Indexing – But…

Putting your content in tabs on the mobile version of your site is a common tactic.  It condenses the page and makes the user experience better in some cases.  There is a caveat though.  You MUST make sure that the content in the tabs loads when your page loads.  If tabbed content only loads when clicked on Google will not be able to use it for indexing.

Social Pages Rank The Same Way as Normal Web Pages

Are your social pages not ranking on the first page of Google for your brand name?  It’s a pretty straight forward process to get them to rank.  Simply optimize (on-page & off-page) them as you would any other web page.

Not All Links Show In Search Console

Google attempts to pick the most relevant links to show in Search Console.  You can see this in practice if you find sitewide links in your report.  That link may say 1K+ instances.  However, when you click on that link only 5 are shown.  Google is simply telling you that the rest are not important in their view.

Your Sitemap Should Contain Links To All Pages

Sometimes webmasters will use high level category links in their sitemaps.  The reasoning being that these are top level and will lead Google bot to all of the other pages.  In theory it’s true.  But it’s not optimal.  For best indexing practices be sure Google can see all of your content in your sitemap.


Search Console is a powerful tool for SEO.  Google offers incredible insight into how well your site is working, indexed, and more.  It’s shocking how many webmasters are reluctant to use SC (or simply haven’t taken the time).  If you haven’t set this up go do it now.  It may take a few days before you start seeing data collected.  The sooner you get this going the better.

In case you’ve missed them – check out some of our recent hangouts recaps here:

Read the Google Webmaster Hangouts 10-17-2017 recap here

Read the Google Webmaster Hangouts 10-6-2017 recap here

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Written by
Dustin Bow
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Rob Andrews

Since 2007 Rob Andrews has worked in the SEO and Content Marketing fields and is an established writer and trusted provider of thought-leadership for hundreds of SEO, advertising and marketing agencies worldwide. Read More

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