An Overview of Google’s SEO Office Hours – July 16, 2021

Google Office Hours

Today we are launching a new SEO blog series to overview what we’re finding out in Google SEO office hours.  Refer to the SEO blog series post overview for more information on Google SEO office hours.

This week we reviewed the office hours from July 16, 2021. You can view the full video recording at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOuHI1CG6Vw&ab_channel=GoogleSearchCentral. And, as always, if you’re looking to improve your small business’s SEO strategy, we’d be happy to talk. You can contact Josh Hiemstra, SEO & Data Lead, at (616) 822-3706 or josh@simplersite.co.

Where should I start when trying to create high quality content to help with SEO rankings?

John’s answer gives a high level approach.  He says that it is difficult when the area of focus already has a lot of high quality content. His suggestion is to look at this as more of a business problem than an SEO problem. He suggests trying to find an area where you can be the leader in the field or you provide a unique product.

What advice do you give to young websites to help compete in SEO rankings with older websites with many links?

John says that Google doesn’t just look at links, that is over simplifying SEO.  John’s suggestion is to take a step back and look at overall business structure, and how to compete with older companies.  Google doesn’t have a preference between old and new websites.  Look at doing something different than everyone else, which will help create different content.

Does creating content on google platforms (docs, sheets, slides, calendar) and then putting them onto your website help SEO rankings?

John says that the simple answer is no.  Google doesn’t bump SEO ranking if you are using Google platforms on your website.

I’m having issues on my blog with uncrawlable links.  Their band aid fix has been to add a no script code to disable JavaScript so the user sees links to all blog posts.   Will this be viewed as cloaking by Google? Will the high volume of links on the main blog page be problematic?

Here is more information on the issue with cloaking and how it is a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/cloaking) (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/webmaster-guidelines)

John would not consider this cloaking as the page will still provide similar content for java code vs non java code.  Google will try to ignore in no script tag, so it would be best practice to double check it is working.

For the question of 600 links, John said that this should not be problematic short term.  Long term they will want to set up a structure that is more crawlable.

I am having SEO issues with carousels displaying my posted stories at different times for different regions of the world. What’s happening? 

John says he has no great insight.  John’s best guess is that there might not be enough good content in all countries to help filter for freshness.  John did state that different countries do not have different requirements.  John asked for screen shots to pass onto the Google Search Team.  Having examples can help team prioritize search console issues

How will Hreflang vs. Geo Targeting affect SEO rankings?

John said that Hreflang does not change rankings.  Geotargeting changes rankings slightly when Google thinks the searcher is looking for something local.

Here is a link with more information – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6059209

What is the best SEO practice for setting up a product that has different names for users from different countries? 

John’s answer is to use Hreflang as it doesn’t change rankings but will swap out the URL.

The meta description on my new website is not showing properly in Google search results. What should I do? 

John’s answer is that it is not guaranteed that Google will use the meta description that is setup for the site.  Google may potentially use user search results, a suggestion is to try to match meta description with what people search for.

John also noted that a description may also take awhile to update so you may need to be patient.

John also mentioned using a unique meta description on each page.

I’m trying to improve the SEO quality score of my website that has over 100,000 pages. However, I’m only getting 2,000 pages crawled/day. Why is this?

John’s answer is that there can be 2 main reasons for only getting 2,000 pages crawled a day.  The first possibility is the site is on a significantly slow server.  The second possibility is that the overall quality of the website is low.

How long does it take to improve the SEO quality score of a website?

John says that this can take a few months to half a year.  Google needs to take time to understand the site after the changes have been made.

Does Google have guidance for whitelabel websites that lease subdomains or subfolders from their high authority websites? In 2019 Google said they would be treated “appropriately” but what does treated “appropriately ” mean?

John did not have a lot to say about this issue besides that there is no updated guidance, and this might need to be reconsidered.  He asked for the questioner to have issues they have seen flagged on twitter.

How will setting up noindex or nofollow links on pages you don’t want to rank for hurt SEO rankings for pages you do want to rank for?  Also, does this save crawl budget and link juice?

John says that if a page has no index, the google system will learn to not crawl that page.  Several no follow links on a page does not give a bad signal to google.  His suggestion is to add no follow to internal links to pages with no index.  He also suggests putting no index pages into a different sub folder to help Google recognize pages that are no index.

What is the best way to put 3rd party reviews on my website to help with SEO rankings?

John says that you should only mark up pages where only “you” collect the reviews.

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