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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Summaries of Google Webmaster Central YouTube videos

There are currently close to 400 videos on Google Webmaster Central YouTube channel featuring Matt Cutts who answers questions posted to the Webmaster Help Forum or to the Twitter handle @googlewmc. Occasionally, some Google secrets slip out in these videos. You can also pick up some tips & tricks on SEO by watching these typically 2-minute videos.

If you are SEO inclined, the videos have some interesting titles that draw you to find out the answers. I track updates through their YouTube channel RSS feed. I sometimes wish the answer was part of the intro that comes with the feed so that I can find the answer immediately. For future reference, I plan to jot down summaries of these videos while I watch a few of them every week. Here goes the list (Last updated: 8-May-2014) -

Is there a version of Google that excludes backlinks as a ranking factor? (19 Feb 2014)

How can you tell if your site is suffering from an algorithmic penalty, or you are simply being outgunned by better content? (24 March 2014)
Tough to say as Google doesn't think much about algorithmic penalties. Google announces when it makes large-scale changes. If the date of announcement coincides with the time your site's ranking has significantly changed, you're affected.  Also check Web Master tools for notifications.

* Are pages from social media sites ranked differently? Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking algorithms? (22 Jan 2014)

* Does Google use the same algorithm to rank all the results on page 1, or different algorithms for a wider variety in the results? (Jan 15, 2014)

* Should I use a separate IP address for each country-specific site? (18 Dec 2013)
Not necessarily. In general, as long as you have different top-level country code domains (very strong indicator), Google can distinguish between them.

Does a site leveraging responsive design "lose" any SEO benefit compared to a more traditional m. site? (Nov 6, 2013)
No (Matt: I wouldn't worry about it)

* Does linking my two sites together violate the quality guidelines? (Apr 25, 2013)
No, as long as they're related and and it's a relatively small number of sites.

If a site linking to mine gets caught selling links, what happens to my site? (Apr 2, 2013)
Google won't demote your site or do anything harsh but you will no longer get the benefit of the link from that site (assuming it was giving you a bit of PageRank).

Will multiple internal links with the same anchor text hurt a site's ranking? (Apr 15, 2013) 
Typically no.

What are some effective techniques for building links? (Mar 4, 2010)
Great content
Participate in a community, answer questions
Original research
Social media
How-tos and tutorials
Run a service or product. Release it for free or open-source it
Have a good site architecture so that it can be easily crawled
Make a few videos

Weaker ones - don't overdo these:
Controversial "hooks"

Is Google doing away with use of the meta description? (Jul 8, 2009)
No. It uses meta description but not always.

What is Google's view on guest blogging for links?
Guest blogging is fine if it's high quality

* What is the ideal keyword density of a page?
There's no hard and fast rule. It's going to vary, by area & based on what other sites are ranking it. Just make sure you have the words that you want to have on the page. Make sure that they read naturally.

* Does translated content cause a duplicate content issue?
No, as long you don't automatically translate it into a ton of languages using a tool like Google Translate.

Will my site's ranking be hurt if I use HTTPS instead of HTTP?
No. So if you do a search for Paypal, for example, you'll see that they use the HTTPS version.

HTTPS, or SSL, is a secure version of HTTP that encrypts things between your browser and the web server.

Do spelling and grammar matter when evaluating content and site quality? (Aug 17, 2011)
Reputable sites tend to spell better and the sites that are lower page rank tend not to spell as well, so "that's the sort of content analysis that would be pretty interesting to explore as a potential quality signal"

Why do Amazon.com pages tend to rank well for product queries? (May 25, 2011)
If there's an official homepage for a product, it will rank very well & sometimes number one. Not every book or product has an home page. Amazon has a relatively good user experience in general and lots of links to it due to which it tops the result list.

How does Google handle pages with content that changes on each page load? (asked on Apr 22, 2011)
If you really want Googlebot to see & follow, make sure that the important links are always on your root page.

Can I tell Google about links to my site? (Apr 19, 2011)
Better let Google find the links. You can upload a sitemap which is a list of all URLs on your site but Google doesn't guarantee that uploading a sitemap will get all of your pages indexed.

Can coding errors affect how a page is indexed? (asked on Apr 19, 2011)
Check the web page in a text browser or the popular browsers, if you can see the text. "If all that text is visible, then it should, for the most part, be able to be indexed by Google."

How can I make sure that Google knows my content is original? Apr 4, 2011
Google tries hard but is not perfect at identifying who is the original author of an article. To let Google index your original article faster before a deceptive site like a scraper, claims it is its own (by showing a manipulated timestamp), let the world know about it by, for example, tweeting about it or hook up thinks like Pub Subhubhub which will ping various places to asynchronously say that there's a new article or blog post.
Alternatively, you can do a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) notice or a spam report

Is serving Googlebot a transcript in place of a video considered to be cloaking? (asked on May 5, 2011)
Yes, that would be considered cloaking and is not recommended. Show the video & transcript as well.

How do you rate links from sites like Twitter and Facebook? (asked on Jan 14, 2010)
Google treats links the same. It looks at how reputable the links are. It doesn't matter whether they come from a .gov or .edu or Twitter or Facebook...they don't automatically carry weight.

How much weight does the number of years a domain is registered for have on your ranking? (asked on May 7, 2009)
Don't "worry about that very much"

How can new pages get indexed quickly (besides using Google Webmaster Tools)? (May 27, 2009)
Get more links. Google can index a page within seconds.

Does the position of keywords in the URL affect ranking? (Mar 5, 2009)
Is example.com/keyword/London better than example.com/London/keyword?
Not a lot. Having four or five keywords maybe good

All videos have a transcript (hidden by default) but they may not work every time (the trouble could be with the JavaScript to show-hide the panel). To view transcript, click on the button to the´╗┐ right of the flag below the video (if you hover over it it, it will say "Interactive Transcript") and it will open up the transcript.

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