Googler John Mueller, a Search Advocate working out of Google’s Switzerland Office, holds regular video office hours on most Fridays.
We are here to recap the last hangout from August 6, 2021, and deliver the goods on SEO insights from John Mueller into the following topics:
- Expired domains ranking in Google,
- How to deal with people who steal your content,
- Whether minor language differences matter for SEO,
- If offline branding affects SEO,
- and much more.
As always, John is full of great SEO insights, and this hangout is no exception. Be sure to read our SEO insights below, and watch the video.
John Mueller SEO Insight #1: Expired Domains are Ranking on Google Without Issue—What’s Up?
A webmaster was concerned about expired domains outranking their own sites. They (the other webmasters) were not writing about health topics before, but now they are. They have all sorts of good links like Wikipedia, Government sites, and so on.
John explained that Google does have systems in place designed to catch these expired domains andfigure out how to handle them better, instead of just ranking them as they are. He recommends filling out the spam report form.
John Mueller SEO Insight #2: What’s the Best Way to Deal With Website Copycats?
Another webmaster was concerned with others copying their website verbatim and ranking better than them in the SERPs. The problem they were concerned about is Google finding everyone else as the source of the content instead of them. That’s been exactly the issue as of late—everyone else is ranking above them despite them being the original source of the content. Their other issue was that they accidentally deindexed the site a few months ago, and they’re thinking that now Google believes they’re the copycat site.
John recommends the DMCA approach—DMCA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—a body of law that protects content owners against their content being stolen. What this approach means is that the site will contact the webmasters of the offending sites and file a notice that they are in violation of copyright and demand the offending content be removed. If the webmaster doesn’t respond, the typical next step is for the content owner to go to the web host with their DMCA request. The problem with this approach is when the offending sites have a lot of content, this can be labor-intensive.
Regarding the webmaster’s second issue, John explained that this sometimes happens when sites go offline or get deindexed. But if it happens, it should fix itself automatically.
John Mueller SEO Insight #3: Do Minor Language Differences Matter for SEO?
One webmaster was concerned about using British English vs. American English and whether this matters for SEO.
John explained that it’s a choice that’s entirely up to the webmaster and that this doesn’t matter for SEO. He suggested focusing more on what their users want to read, rather than the SEO aspect in that case. There is not really an existing classifier that attempts to examine whether or not the website is written in British or American English. Instead, it’s more about the phrasing and spelling that is used on the site and a matter of presenting the content in such a way that delights the user. Whether or not it’s in British or American English is entirely up to the webmaster.
John Mueller SEO Insight #4: Does Offline Branding Affect SEO?
One webmaster was wondering how John felt regarding offline branding and its impact on SEO because they are in a space where many large brands are competing against each other.
John explained that he doesn’t believe that offline branding affects SEO directly. But, in another sense, there is something interesting about branded searches in that they are hyper-focused on that search. This means that you’re not exactly ranking for many other search terms that may be similarly competitive or more competitive.
So you have that individuality going for your site when it comes to brand recognition and people typing that brand name into the search box. There is some importance in terms of building up brand awareness among your user base and getting them to search for your site. Once you build up brand awareness, most of that should be responsible for stable branded traffic.
John Mueller SEO Insight #5: How Does Google Determine the Date for an Article?
Another webmaster was asking about dates in an article and how Google would determine the article date. The webmaster updated the snippet in the SERPs with the wrong date. They updated the article metadata with the correct date and they updated the date in the Schema, and nothing changed. It didn’t matter how it was updated, it still showed the incorrect date.
John explained that Google uses multiple factors to try and figure out how the page should be dated. It’s not about the metadata. Google tries to look at whether or not there has been a significant change on said page. For example, if you just change the date on the page, Google needs to see that you have made significant changes as well so they can show the updated date to users. It’s not just about updating the single date.
John Mueller SEO Insight #6: Different Core Updates Can Affect Sites Differently
One webmaster was concerned about core updates and was wondering if two different updates could be responsible for uplifts in traffic. They were also wondering if it could be related to speed.
John said that if you see a change during a core update, you may not always see a change during the other core update as well. He also explained that the core update is not related to the page experience update because that’s an entirely different type of update.
John Mueller SEO Insight #7: How Can a Webmaster Trigger a Sitewide Re-evaluation?
Another webmaster asked—what are some things that a webmaster can do to trigger a sitewide re-evaluation of a site after changes have been implemented?
John answered that there isn’t anything technical that can be done to trigger a re-evaluation. It’s not needed because Google is re-evaluating all the time. It examines the content that it finds for a site, and eventually, if the content changes, Google takes these changes into account. There’s nothing you can do to manually trigger such a re-evaluation.
Watch the Hangout!
You can watch John’s 08/06/2021 hangout here:
Tired of watching videos? You can read the transcript of the session below:
John Mueller Google Search Central Office Hours Hangout Transcript from 08/06/2021
Watch John Mueller’s Google Search Central Office Hours Hangout Most Fridays at 7:00 a.m. PT
If you want to watch and/or participate in John’s office hours hangouts, you can join in most Fridays at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
Also, if you want to watch all of the past Google Search Central Office Hours Hangouts, you can view them on the Google Search Central YouTube channel as well.
We will be covering John’s hangouts every week they happen with our SEO insights. Stay tuned!