Google Webmaster Central Hangout for May 5, 2014

My apologies for being so far behind on transcribing the office hours hangouts!  Hopefully I will get up to date soon.  In this hangout from early May, John Mueller from Google gives us some really good information.  Here is the video:

And here are the important points:

Is there a limit to how many press releases you can do?

When a link is disavowed, does just the homepage of that site need to be crawled in order for the disavow to work?

Having duplicate content may be ok

Negative Seo – Disavow?

Disavow links from m.biz?

When is the next Penguin refresh?

What is the difference between a 301, 303 and 307 redirect?

Should footer links be nofollowed?

Do internal links affect Penguin?

Does disavowing the domain also disavow all subdomains?

Is there such a thing as a “dofollow” tag?


 

Is there a limit to how many press releases you can do?

There is no hard limit but if you’re creating content and just copy it over and over again then it’s not useful to users.  If a press release site is publishing a bunch of near duplicate press releases then they probably want to re-evaluate their publishing practices.

 

4:21 – When disavowing a domain does only the home page of the domain need to be recrawled for the disavow to take effect?

The individual page needs to be recrawled.

 

4:50 – Is this site still being held back by Penguin?

A question about a site that shows some type of recovery with each Penguin update.  Does it still have an anchor holding it back?  John couldn’t really answer without a url, but it sounds like things are improving.

 

6:30 – Having duplicate pages on your site *can* be ok.

(My note:  We’re fairly certain that if you have a LOT of duplication it can indicate low quality and cause Panda to affect your site.) If duplication happens across multiple sites then usually the algorithms pick up on that.  The question is whether syndicating content can hurt your ranking.  John says that if people are linking to the duplicated content rather than yours then it dilutes your content and some of the duplicate sites can rank for the content rather than your main site.  It’s ok to syndicate content (assuming you use nofollowed links) but ideally it’s best to keep your content on your own site.

 

11:39 – A site is under negative SEO with lots of pingbacks that are mostly nofollowed.

Should they disavow the links that are followed?  John said that usually Google can pick this up and just discount it, but if you want to be absolutely sure then disavow.

 

14:00 – Question about the structured data tool.

Can it be changed to show multi-type?  John will have the team look into it.

 

14:29 – Links from m.biz and similar duplicate search pages.

Lots of links are appearing from sites that are duplicates of m.biz, a spammy directory.  Should they be disavowed?  Usually Google can just discount these, but there’s no harm in disavowing.

 

15:48 – A real estate sites have listings that get syndicated to Zillow and Trulia and then those sites rank higher.

John said that even though these sites are duplicates of yours, it’s possible that users want to see those sites rather than yours.  If you can get them to put a rel=canonical on then that would be good.  (My note: It’s pretty unlikely that that would happen with Zillow or Trulia!)

 

18:50 – Will GWT ever show how your search results are seen?

(ie. knowledge graph, image, etc.).  Not likely.

 

23:28 – When will the next Penguin refresh happen?

“We don’t preannounce these.  It’s been a while since the last one but I wouldn’t be surprised if one happens soon.”

 

24:40 – A question about a site that got a penalty lifted and is still not ranking.

John said to keep in mind that sometimes a manual action will coincide with an algorithmic issue (i.e. Penguin)

 

27:15 – What is the difference between a 301, 303 and a 307 redirect?

Google tries to differentiate between permanent and temporary redirects.  If the redirect happens consistently over time then they’ll probably treat it like a regular permanent redirect.Google makes a decision on whether or not to index the redirecting page or the target page.  If it stays in place for a long time then they’ll probably index the target.  But they may make decisions based on which url is the most popular page or the “nicest” page even if you are using a permanent redirect!  An example of using a 307 or a 302 (both temporary redirects) would be if you had a product that was temporarily out of stock.  But, if the 307 or 302 stays there for a long time then Google will treat it as a 301.

 

32:40 – Should footer links be nofollowed?

(Note:  I have written an entire post about everything John Mueller has said in hangouts about links in footers.)

A large firm has a footer link on all of their client’s sites that say, “Web design by [company name]”.  Should they nofollow the link?  John says, “If it’s not something like a keyword rich anchor, where you’re saying “web design” as a footer link, then generally that’s less of a problem for us.  If it’s a keyword rich anchor then that’s something where maybe the webspam team would take a look at that and say, ‘This looks like they’re just trying to manipulate the search results.  It’s not something that the client can choose to do.’ The other part also from the webspam team’s point of view is whether or not this is something that the website’s owner has a say in or not.  Are they consciously linking to this other website?  Or is this something that’s essentially forced on them that may be a part of the package in the sense that ‘You’ll get this website cheaper but you have to include this link on the bottom.’  At that point it starts looking a little bit more iffy and something where you’d definitely want to put a nofollow on there.

 

Barry Schwartz then said that Google would not explicitly know if having the link was a requirement as part of the package.  If a company is producing 5-10 websites a day with followed brand anchored links back, would this look bad to the webspam team.  John said, “It kind of depends on the overall picture.  If they’re doing 5-10 of these websites a day then it probably gets a little bit trickier and they’d want to look into the details a little bit more.  It’s probably not something where they’d say, ‘Oh. I see 500 links so this is good or this is bad.  They’d probably look into the details there to try to figure out what exactly is happening there and whether or not this is causing any problems on our side…..From a webmaster point of view what’s probably the easiest thing to do there is to just put a nofollow on those links and say I’m using this as a way to advertise my services…I don’t think you’d see a big problem in search if you went with a nofollow in a case like that.

 

John offered to take a look and show the webspam team and he said, “I’ll try to make sure they don’t just push the red button when they see it.

 

Another user asked whether having a large number of branded anchors would cause a problem.  John said you don’t *need* to have branded anchors to look natural.  Don’t worry about that unless your brand is a variation of your keyword.

 

39:40 – Do internal backlinks affect Penguin?

No, internal anchors are not used for webspam algorithms. But be sure that you’re not keyword stuffing.


41:20 – Does disavowing the domain disavow all subdomains?

Yes.  John said that if you disavow blogspot.com, it will also disavow example.blogspot.com and all other sites on blogspot.

 

50:22 – Is there such a thing as a “dofollow” tag?

No.  Google just ignores it if you use it.  John also commented on other things that don’t really exist such as the meta-revisit-after tag.  He doesn’t believe any search engines obey this.

 

53:35 – You can have a separate robots.txt for http vs https.

An example would be to tell Google not to crawl the https version of your site.  But there are better ways to do this other than robots.txt.

 

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Marie Haynes is the founder of HIS Web Marketing, formerly at www.HISWebMarketing.com. In 2015, she rebranded the company to Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.
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