Archive for August, 2011
Andres from Boston, MA asks, “Does Google treat links in footers differently than links surrounded by text (e.g. in a paragraph)?”
Well if you go back and read the original page rank paper they said that the links were distributed completely uniformly, page rank was distributed without any regard, whether the link was at the top of the page, the bottom of the page, in the footer, in the text all that sort of stuff. In general our link analysis continues to get more and more sophisticated to the point where, what we compute today is still called page rank and still bears resemblance to the original page rank but it’s much more sophisticated than the original page rank used to be. So we do reserve the right to treat links and footers a little differently. For example if something is in the footer, it might not carry the same editorial weight so someone might have setup a single link and that might be something across the entire site, whereas something that is in actual paragraph of text is a little more likely to be in the editorial link. So we do reserve the right to treat those links differently in terms of how we consider them for relevance how we consider them for reputation, how much we trust them and all those sorts of things.
Adeel from Manchester, UK asks, “When do you reckon Rich Snippets will be made widely available? Can I suggest a tool in Google Webmaster Tools that lets you view (or preview) Rich Snippets from your site?”
It is a good suggestion. The fact is we are going to take it slowly at first to sort of make sure that people are doing good things for rich snippets for example, you can imagine going crazy with rich snippets but it actually costs a click to go down if user didn’t like those sort of rich snippets. So we’ve been relatively cautious my expectation is that we are going to check out sites and sort of white list them like, this site is the next one to receive rich snippets and this is the next one. But as we grow more confident that it doesn’t hurt the user experience and that the users like it and they expect us to continue to roll that out one more broadly. So there is documentation, you can go ahead and read up on it and a lot of rich snippets are pretty understandable type for example the number of stars on our review and things like that you can usually get a pretty good idea of what your snippets are going to look like. Just for looking at snippets from other sites already look like and that’ll give you an idea what it will look like when it goes live for your site.
Why are the UK SERPS still really poor with irrelevant non UK sites (US/Aus/NZ) ranking very high Google.co.uk since early June?
Guavarian from the UK asks, “Why are the UK SERPS still really poor with irrelevant non UK sites (US/Aus/NZ) ranking very high Google.co.uk since early June?”
And it’s absolutely true, if you do a search for car insurance on google.co.uk. You are more likely to see for example, tescofinance.com or churchil.com some sites that are definitely UK focused; they have even mentioned UK in the title but are not necessarily .co.uk. Well the short answer is that as we get better or more willing to show .coms if we think it is relevant to giving countries. So I think everybody kind of got used to the idea that if you search on google.co.uk you are only going to get .uk’s and that’s not really the right attitude because if the best result for the British searcher is something that ends in .com we still want to show that to the British searcher. So that is probably a change that we are not going to revert if you see things where it’s in relevant.com or .com that has nothing at all to do with the UK or Australia or New Zealand or whatever it is your country market is, then we’d definitely be interested in hearing about that. But as we continue to know more about which websites are associated with which countries I do expect that well startassure.com comes a little bit more often in some different countries. So that’s just something we are getting a little bit better on detecting. Tescofinance.com is still about the UK market and is still really useful to a British surfer and we are willing to show .coms a little more to people over time.
Martino in Trento, Italy asks, “Which search media does return the more reliable information: Google or Twitter?”
Now don’t go hating on Twitter, trying to make people bust heads. Twitter has many many great uses. It’s great for breaking real time sort of news, it’s fantastic in asking your friends. And Google on the other hand, we try to return really reliable, really reputable information. So if you are sorting by date Twitter is fantastic, if you want an answer to a question that’s been around for a while Google looks great for that. So try both for different situations. If you don’t have as many friends then you may not be able to get the questions that you want answered on Twitter. And I wouldn’t be surprised if spammers are eventually see traffic on Twitter and they are like muhahahaha because if you are only sorting by date then any new fad that comes along or spam will try to jump on to that. So they are different, they are good for different things. They use whatever works best for you.
Tom from Seattle asks, “”Query deserves freshness.” Fact or fiction?”
It’s a fact! They have talked it in the New York Times that we believe that there are some queries that deserve freshness. So QDF was that he talked about it in the New York Times and that is fact not fiction.
Quentin from Vancouver asks, “In the search results, Google will often display a snippet appropriate to the specific search query – often disregarding the meta description. Is Google doing away with meta description use like they did with meta keywords?”
Alright Quentin let me lay a little bit of schooling on you. It actually turns out that we used to not use that meta description at all. We would only use the snippet appropriate to the specific search query. And only in recent years have we added it where if you have a meta description we would sometimes chose that meta description over the snippet within some page. So in fact it’s moving the other direction, we started out as only having stuff from within the page and now we are little more likely to sometimes use the meta description. But we don’t use it all the time. If you think it’s useful for the query, don’t make the same meta description on every single page just as a cookie cutter because we sort of think that’s not a very useful meta description. So it’s not that we are getting away with the meta description we use it more now than we did say 7 or 8 years ago. But at the same time we think it has to be useful before we use the meta description the best thing to do is make a really useful meta description and then you are more likely to see that instead the snippet from the page. Now if you don’t want to bother that’s completely fine too. We’ll just try to do whatever we think is the smartest and the best for the users and hopefully users will click through and find your content.
Pigatto from Erechim, Brazil asks, “Will Google find text in images someday?”
Well that would be a really big undertaking. I think it would be fun, we’ve joked around the pool table about wouldn’t it be great if we crawl the web and found out all the images and ran OCR on all the images on the web, that really would be a lot of work. I think it would be a fun idea but I don’t think you should count on that for the short term from Google
Jochen from Stuttgart, Germany asks, “How do meta geo tags influence the search results?”
And the answer is that it is not something that we look at very closely at all, not meta geo tags, we tend to look at the IP address, we tend to look at the GTLD or the CCTLD that’s the country code TLD, Top Level Domain so .fr, .de. There is also something in Google’s webmaster tools, where you can say my site is not just the .com that’s about the entire world it’s a British .com or it’s a .com that really pertains to New Zealand or Australia. You can highlight and say this .com is really about Germany or Canada or whatever your country is. But typically the geo tags that are in Meta tags are not as usual and we don’t give such way if at all. So I would spend your time trying to make sure you have the right domain name, trying to make sure you have the right IP address if you can and definitely if you have content that is geo located, even if it’s a sub-domain or sub-directory you can specify that within Google’s webmaster tools and say yes this is relevant for this particular country
Steen in Copenhagen asks, “If a page is disallowed in the robots.txt, will a link to this page transfer/leak link juice?”
So essentially suppose ebay.com is allowed in robots.txt will a link to ebay.com even though it’s roboted-out will it still collect link juice? And the answer is yes. So in the old days New York Times, eBay, the California DMV, all of them blocked us with robots.txt. And yet if someone comes to Google and types in California DMV you want to return the DMV’s home page. So we solve that by not crawling the page but we can still return the reference and so if you see enough people link to a page even though its roboted-out we can still return that in our search results
Remiz Rahnas from Kerala, India asks,”I keep a blogroll page with link to all my friends’ blogs on my blog. Will that affect my blogs reputation in Google? Recently my friend lost PR5 to 0 for such a page.”
Certainly, who you link to, can affect the reputation. So if you are linking to spammy sites, sites that we consider junky, skuzzy, spammy whatever that can affect your sites reputation. Certainly, if you are selling links within your blogroll, that can be a very high risk. But just because your friend lost PR5 to PR0 that doesn’t necessarily mean it was because of the blogroll, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we thought that he was selling links, it could be a temporary thing with canonicalization. So I wouldn’t automatically assume that it was the blogroll that did it. That said if you do have a blogroll its better that it be editorial real links and not link that you are secretly selling but you are calling it a blogroll or something like that. In general blogrolls are great things to have. I have one of my blogs so don’t be scared to have one. But if you are linking to a spammy stuff or things that you think are kind of low quality be aware that, that can affect how we think of the quality of your website.
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