SEO Office Hours – September 2021

By Josh Hiemstra

October 1, 2021

For the month of September, we attended and are overviewing in this post English Google SEO office-hours from September 10, 2021 andEnglish Google SEO office-hours from September 24, 2021.  Refer to the Google SEO Office Hours blog series post overview for more information on Google SEO office hours.

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

English Google SEO office-hours from September 10, 2021

Where is the best place to start when building a website you want to rank highly for SEO?

John says he doesn’t like to generalize the top things to do.  He did mention creating good content is a great start.  His other suggestion is to get the good content in front of people, specifically influential people, by spreading the word.  However, it is problematic to buy links — don’t do this!

We embedded YouTube videos into our site.  It appears this slows down our page loading times significantly.  Embedded MP4 videos do not slow down the site.  Is it better for SEO rankings to embed MP4 videos or YouTube videos?

For SEO rankings, it shouldn’t matter if it is a MP4 video or YouTube video.  For the speed of the website, there are many ways to help improve site speed.  For YouTube videos, there are different lazy load techniques that can be used to help page speed.

When it comes to videos, make sure Google Search can recognize the structure data.  With YouTube videos, Google Search can recognize this pretty well.  

Does my type of hosting (shared, VPN, etc.) affect crawling efficiency?

No, the type of hosting does not affect the crawling efficiency.  However, it is problematic to have slow hosting.  The type of hosting doesn’t determine if the hosting is fast or not.

We have an eCommerce website with multiple products.  This makes it that we have a lot of search queries and filters on our website.  Our competitors have high SEO rankings for their sub category pages.  However, our filter pages do not have as high of an SEO ranking.  Should we create hundreds of sub category pages to help our SEO rankings?

Google Search doesn’t differentiate between category pages, search pages, or filter pages.  All of these types of pages are equivalent.  For SEO, it is more of the content you are providing on these pages. 

You don’t need to create new pages, but focus on the current page’s content.  Make sure that there is information about what type of products are on the page, use clean headings, and add links to the products that Google Search can crawl and index.  Another area to focus on is the internal linking of your site.  Make sure the filter pages you want to rank for are linked to from the home page.

Why does my homepage have a higher SEO rank for a keyword that more closely matches a service page on my website?

This is a good problem to have as it shows you are doing SEO techniques well.  The issue is that Google Search does not know the relative importance of the terms within your website.  As your homepage will have some information about the service page with the search term, and it is not clear that the service page is of a much higher importance for the term.  Some suggestions are to work on internal linking as well as the content on the pages.  This is a tricky situation as the homepage is one of the stronger pages of the website, and taking the focus away is tricky.

English Google SEO office-hours from September 24, 2021

The product pages on our eCommerce website are not ranking as high for SEO as we’d like.  Our blog post pages are ranking well.  Previous discussion, the suggestion was to focus on internal linking, but we are still not seeing the results we want for SERPs.  Do you have any other suggestions?

Continue to work on internal linking.  Another thing to consider is that Google attempts to understand the intent of the query the person searching for on Google. This could be if the intent is for more information on products or if they are trying to buy a product.  With different intent, different results will be shown on Google search.  In this scenario where the blog posts have better SEO for the business, focus on clear call to actions on the blog post.

Immediately after the page experience update rolled out, we lost 20% of our organic traffic.  Our core vitals are not bad as they are in the orange zone.  Will we regain the lost traffic?  Is there an amount of time we should wait to make changes to improve our SEO rankings?

John does not think that this is related to the page experience update.  The rollout happened over a month and on a page basis.  If Google Search saw that a page is slow for web vitals, the change would have been gradual over time.  

Should we create multiple posts that focus on one keyword, or have only a few posts that focus on multiple keywords?

This is more of a strategic question. Do you have a lot of specific pages or do you have fewer, more generic pages?  If you have fewer pages, they tend to have stronger SEO.  If you have more pages, the SEO value is spread out.  If you have competition that is very strong, you may want fewer pages.  If you are targeting areas with less competition, more pages is fine.

If you are just starting out, fewer pages is better.  As you grow, you can split off and add more pages for niche topics.

We have articles that are shown on Google, but they are not showing the correct date that the article was posted.  What are the best practices to have Google show the correct article posted date?

Google will look at multiple variables to come up with the correct date.  Google will look at the structure data as well as the page text.  If date and time are not used over multiple locations, then Google has to try and figure out what to use that is most relevant.  The best practice is to have the structure data and page text line up to the post date you want.

We have seen an uptick in the amount of spam traffic to our site.  The spam traffic appears to be slow.  Will this affect our core web vitals?

Google has seen a lot of weird spam traffic over the years and believes they have a good understanding of this traffic.  Google will watch out for the spam traffic and filter it out of the data for your core web vitals.

I am translating a medical industry website into multiple languages.  Is it better to translate into other languages with focus on the local dialect or from a more medical point of view?

Google is not sophisticated enough to know the difference between the two options.  Suggestion is to have good content that works for the audience.

In 2021, does Google understand sarcasm better? Or should it be avoided?

There is a risk that Google misunderstands sarcasm.  Make your content as clear as possible especially when it is critical information.

I asked Google to index a new article that had little content which I was going to update later.  After this instance, it takes longer for Google to index my new articles.  Did the low content article trigger the slower indexing?

No, this would not trigger slower indexing.  However, it is not good practice to index pages with low content and then update them later.  It can take time for Google to reindex pages.

Another item to note is that if you need to index all of your pages to Google, this may indicate that Google is reluctant to index new content from your site.  Usually if your site has good content, Google will regularly index your site.

When having medical articles written for our website, does it help SEO rankings to have a high ranking Doctor write the article?

Google doesn’t have a feature where it cross checks the author of the article, so this will not affect SEO rankings.  This is more of a business question when it comes to how your audience perceives the authors of your articles.

Ready to Connect?

Call: (616) 822-3706

About Josh Hiemstra

Josh Hiemstra manages SEO and website maintenance, helping clients improve digital presence and drive strategic results. Josh’s background in medical and automotive engineering has honed his ability to thoughtfully analyze complex data and information. Clients appreciate Josh’s commitment to getting the details right. From complex audits to standard maintenance, they trust his results. Josh earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from University of Michigan. At the University of Michigan Josh studied user experience and user interfaces. Josh has a Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certificate, an Advanced Google Analytics certificate, and Google Tag Manager certificate and is also certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt.

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