A few days ago, there’s a Tricks and Treats webmaster event held by Google where 750 webmasters and a large number of Googlers from around the globe took part. In the event, hundreds of questions in connection about Google search result were asked and one hundred answers flowed in in two hours.
Been wondering what the questions were?
They were about “facts” you hear almost everyday which probably you never heard them coming out from Google themselves. You are following them because a lot of people say so and assume that they’re right.
Now the statements, myths, “facts” has been cleared and debunked. Make sure to read the myths uncovered below before starting your day or tuning up your site with pointless optimizations!
Duplicate content will penalize your site – Google says:
- Don’t worry too much about duplicates on your own site.
- We’re good at ignoring duplicates.
- Make it easy for us to find the preferred version.
- Help us to crawl efficiently.
- Be reasonable when re-using content from other sites.
Mixing HTML/XHTML will break verification – Google says:
Webmaster Tools accepts both kinds of meta tags, regardless of your page’s code or doctype.
<meta name=”verify-v1″ content=”YaddaYadda=” />
<META NAME=”verify-v1″ content=”YaddaYadda=”>
- The site must be reachable!
- The verification code depends on account + site URL.
- Sometimes it takes a second attempt.
Getting listed in 1000s of search engines and directories is important – Google says:
- Do you use 1000s of search engines?
- Most search engines will find your site before you find them.
- Submitting does not significantly change things.
- Your email spam will grow exponentially.
Participating in Google AdWords, AdSense or Analytics will help or harm your site – Google says:
- They’re great products though!
- Google Analytics is a great aid to make the most out of your site.
If a keyword is important, it’s important to repeat it in important locations on important pages so that the page looks more important to important search engines – Google says:
Please don’t stuff keywords into your content.
- There is no optimal “keyword density.”
- Write naturally, write for your users.
- Too many mentions distract users.
- However: don’t hide what you really mean!
Using XML Sitemaps will make your site drop – Google says:
XML Sitemaps are useful:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/ schemas/sitemap/0.9″>
- They help search engines learn about your content.
- They help YOU to learn about your website.
- Lots of CMS have them, lots of generators are available.
- Keep them up to date!
Also see sitemaps.org
PageRank is dead / PageRank is everything! – Google says:
PageRank is a measure of the quantity and quality of links to a page.
- Google uses PageRank.
- Google also uses over 200 other factors.
- Toolbar PageRank is updated a few times a year.
Resubmitting your site regularly is vital – Google says:
- Resubmitting does not change crawling, indexing or ranking.
- Once we know about a URL, we’ll plan accordingly.
Once your site ranks high, don’t touch it – Google says:
Some things get better when left alone. Websites don’t.
- Happy users will return.
- Give users something to look forward to.
- Changes in ranking can and will happen.
- Other sites won’t stand still!
Valid (X)HTML will make your site rank higher – Google says:
- Most of the web uses invalid code (less than 5% is valid!).
- Browser are used to it, search engines too.
- Extremely broken code is very, very rare.
- Valid code may work better on more browsers.
- Valid code makes finding & fixing some issues easier.
MORE MYTHS not to believed in!
Debunking myths on your own. What to do when you encounter new Google “facts” or rumors:
Just Google it
- Lots of myths are already debunked!
- Check the reputation of the site & author.
- Apply common sense: if it’s too good to be true, it most likely is.
Google Webmaster Central Blog
- Check our blog for information.
- Comment & ask questions!
- Subscribe via e-mail or RSS to stay on top of things!
Google Webmaster Help Groups
- When in doubt, ask!
- Lots of knowledgeable users & Googlers are active in the Help Groups.
- Search before you ask.
- Be kind, helpful & constructive.
- Share your knowledge!
Some myths demystified above will perhaps relieve most of you since some things don’t need to be worried as much – like the keywords and dupes thing. But there are also some real facts that require us to do more effort in optimizing our site such as not taking care of the site once it ranks high.
Next, are you still having questions uncovered on the list above? Do you want to read what the Google insiders answer these questions?
- What weight does the age of a site and the amount of time a domain is registered for have on it’s search placement?
- 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?
- Since Google is against using ranking software (ie:WebCeO) to monitor SERP rankings, is there any plans on Google creating an approved, in-house rank check application that webmasters can use?
- Does Google plan to let us see rankings/positions of keywords in the webmaster tool?
- Do inbound links from other sites owned by the same company help or hurt rank?
- Have links from article sites been de-valued at all?
- What is ok/not ok to sell links? We get requests on a daily base, we not offering to sell links, but sometimes we get a related request and wonder if we are “allowed” to sell one or two links without hurting our rankings?
- Are .gov and .edu back links still considered more “link juice” than the common back link?
- Can one good unknown google secret so far – be revealed?
Well, those are only a few of the total questions and answers that took 30 mouse scrolls here.
The presentation version of the event by Google can be found here.