Google Answered Uncertainties and Confirmed Speculations
Posted on : 26-11-2008 at 0337 hrs
Author : Rif Chia
Matt Cutts, John Mu and Maile Ohye are among some other experts whom have answered uncertainties and confirmed speculations of webmasters from around the world during the recent 3rd Live Chat Q & A held on October 2008.
Do you know ?
1) The HTTP 1.0 standard allows a maximum of 5 redirects for a URL
2) Google made 450 tweaks to its algorithm last year
3) There are about 200 factors that go into determining a site’s ranking in the search results
Below are some of the important questions and answers from the Live Chat Q & A:
Q: Do 301 redirects carry over PageRank?
A: Where appropriate, ranking signals will be transferred across 301
redirects (if the same page has moved from one URL to another). This
may take some time, so you should probably leave the redirect in place
as long as you have control over the URL.
Q: How many 301 redirects are acceptable?
A: It's ok to chain a few together. The HTTP 1.0 standard allows for a maximum of 5 redirects for a URL, so keep it minimal.
Q: Why do pages translated into different languages each have different rankings in their respective engines?
A: Google looks at content on a URL-by-URL basis, so even if you have
translated top content from one language to another, Google might not
treat it the same way as they would treat the original content. It's
also possible that the translated content is not as relevant as other
original content in that language. Generally speaking, making sure that
your content is as unique and compelling as possible for the users in
that target market is the best thing to do.
Q: Do backlinks from bad sites negatively affect my PageRank?
links might be positively affecting your PageRank (PageRank does not go
down from "bad" links like those from adult sites). In general, you
don't have to worry about bad links like that which point to your site
that aren't under your control.
Q: How often does your search algorithm change?
A: We change the algorithms all the time - last year we had over 450 changes.
Q: Could sharing an IP address with a bad site get my site penalized?
situations where it would matter are when the server is overloaded
(can't respond to your visitors) and when it's incorrectly configured
(not returning your site to your visitors). But otherwise that is no
longer a concern.
Q: Does Google have a problem with rank-checking software?
software is against Google’s Terms of Service and could result in
blocking your IP address, and it doesn’t really help, especially when
it comes to personalized or geotargeted results.
Q: Is there PageRank boost from .edu or .gov links?
A: You don't get any PageRank boost from having an .edu link or .gov link
automatically. If you get an .edu link and no one is linking to that
.edu page, you're not going to get any PageRank at all because that
.edu page doesn't have any PageRank.
Q: Does a page load time play a crucial role in Google Page Ranking? If yes how important is it?
A: I think the more important issue here is user experience. If your site
loads fast, your users will be happy; if it loads slow, users will be
less happy. Make your users happy, right?
Q: Aaron D'Souza of the Search Quality team was reported as stating
that publishing the same content on two separate geotargeted paths
under your domain will not trigger the dupe content filters. Is this
A: In general, in a case like that, we'd try to pick the best page based
on various factors, including geotargeting and language choices. If
that page is one which is also available for other
geotargeting/language choices, we will generally try to pick the
version that our algorithms feel makes the most sense.
Q: I have reported sites that clearly have paid links (e.g. the
backlink page says "Advertising" above the link), but Google does not
seem to take action. Why would that be the case? These are .orgs who
are clearly selling their .org juice.
A: While paid links and spam reports are being taken very seriously by
Google, the results may not be seen immediately for users or even not
at all. This does not mean no action is being taken on the offending
sites. Also, the TLD of the sites should not be a factor being taken
into account. For this reason reporting both, web spam and PageRank
passing link selling makes sense and contributes in an important way to
the quality of Google's index.
Q: Is it true that the fewer the links FROM your website, the more influence they have on the sites receiving those links?
A: PageRank is split up over the links from a page, but I would recommend
not concentrating on this (as you won't be able to "measure" and act
upon it anyway) and instead making your site as usable as possible for
Q: Does getting a lot of comments in a blog help in being well indexed/ranked by Google?
A: Having a lot of enthusiastic users commenting on your posts and doing
so generating content on your site, certainly does not harm your
rankings :-) Furthermore, a large fan base gives the webmaster a bit of
independence from search engine traffic, which is the reason why
generating original and compelling content in order to nurture a group
of committed users is something I would highly recommend to any blogger.
Q: Recently, you removed this suggestion: "Submit your site to relevant
directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!" from your
guidelines. Is there any chance that you will be discounting these
kinds of links for ranking value in future?
A: There's always the chance that we'll discount directory links in the
future. What we were seeing was quite a few novice people would see the
"directory" recommendation and go out and just try to submit to a ton
of directories, even if some of the directories were lower-quality or
even fly-by-night directories that weren't great for users. Right now
we haven't changed how we're weighting directory links--we've only
removed the directory suggestion from the webmaster guidelines.
Q: Until recently (the last six months or so) a high ranking was
achievable by submitting articles to article directories (providing
they were 40%-60% unique), it no longer seems to be the case. Have
links from article sites been de-valued at all?
A: In my experience, not every article directory site is high-quality.
Sometimes you see a ton of articles copied all over the place, and it's
hard to even find original content on the site. The user experience for
a lot of those article directory sites can be pretty bad too. So you'd
see users landing on those sorts of pages have a bad experience. If
you're thinking of boosting your reputation and getting to be
well-known, I might not start as the very first thing with an article
directory. Sometimes it's nice to get to be known a little better
before jumping in and submitting a ton of articles as the first thing.
Q: Does the age of a website/domain affect its ranking?
A: In the majority of cases, it actually doesn't matter--we want to
return the best information, not just the oldest information.
Especially if you're a mom/pop site, we try to find ways to rank your
site even if your site is newer or doesn't have many links. I think it
is fair for Google to use that as a signal in some circumstances, and I
try never to rule a signal out completely, but I wouldn't obsess about