Several times a month, John Mueller hosts his own Google Search Central Office Hours hangouts over on YouTube.
Here, he accepts questions from the webmaster community on just about everything related to SEO.
If you have a pressing issue that you can’t find an answer to anywhere else, chances are John can help you, or at least point you in the right direction.
As per usual, this past office hours hangout included many questions on a variety of SEO topics.
First, we’ll tackle our SEO insights and then go into all of the questions in detail so that if you have seen the hangout before, you don’t have to watch it again.
Our SEO Insights
In this SEO office hours hangout, John addressed a number of situations applicable to SEO professionals, including discrepancies in different reports, how long it takes to see changes, grouping URLs by type, and more.
Question: Even After Implementing Changes, Nothing Happens to My Ranking. What Gives?
It takes time to see changes reflected in the search results. Even if you delete all 150 pages on a 150 page site and start anew with new redirects and everything, Google still takes time to learn the new site structure. You can’t expect to rank again immediately.
An entire website architecture overhaul could take at least a couple of months to settle down, if not longer.
Question: I Have NAP, Address, Phone Number, etc. Do I Need to Stuff My Pages With Content for Higher Rankings?
It’s more about making the pages unique for the user rather than stuffing them with content. If content is what will make it unique, go for it. But it shouldn’t be the core of everything you do. NAP information is found on many different websites, and doesn’t necessarily make a website unique. High-quality content is more likely to make that site unique, but don’t just stuff content on the page for the sake of having more.
Question: Why Are There Discrepancies Between My Core Web Vitals Report, Page Experience Report, and Google Search Console?
The likely issue here is that there may be a discrepancy in regards to timing. For example, in terms of field data for a set of URLs, those URLs may have been changed, but then the new URLs do not have any new field data yet. In this case, there could still be a timing issue.
Question: Does Google Group URLs by Type?
John did confirm that yes, they do group URLs by type. Especially in the Chrome user experience report data, the field data. They try to recognize where pages may be similar enough, and then they may group them together as a result.
They also use correlative past data. If they don’t have current data about certain sets of URLs, Google may use similar data to see exactly what’s going on there.
Question: Is There a Long-Term Value in Terms of SEO Value Being Shared Across Pages That Are Ranked?
There is nothing that is specifically measured by a domain authority score (which is what this question alludes to). It’s actually a bit more simple. The score essentially measures if it is a strong site with a good reputation. Not that there’s a specific “domain authority” threshold or score. Also, John made the comment that any pages of content that are added would be considered as similar to the other pages already added to the site.
Question: We’re Moving From Adaptive to Responsive Design. What’s the Best Way to Handle Category Pages?
If you’re moving from thinner category type pages to a more informational user experience, that’s fine. There shouldn’t be any issues from a ranking standpoint. This particular kind of transition is going from thin content to more valuable content, so it should help you in search.
Question: Site Colon Query Shows 3,475 pages vs. 170 pages in GSC. Should I Worry?
John mentioned that we should not worry too much about the difference between what site colon shows and what Google Search Console shows. A site colon query is not meant to be used for diagnostic purposes. For some sites, you’ll see lower numbers, and for other sites you’ll see numbers 100 times larger. The numbers in the site query results are optimized for speed.
However, he does mention that in cases where a site is 500+ pages, and you have less than 100 pages indexed, it could be a major problem that you need to diagnose and make sure all the technical stuff is in order.
After sorting out the technical issues, make sure that you’re promoting your site more. Get more users, get more ads, or maybe get someone else to work on the site for a while to get the ball rolling.
Question: After We Stopped Running Ads, Keyword Ranking Returned to Number 1. Do Ads (Or Lack Thereof) Affect Rankings?
John had to reiterate this important fact: whether or not you use ads does not have any impact whatsoever on rankings. Let us repeat ourselves: ads do NOT have an affect on your performance in search. Despite many reinforcements from Google that this does not happen, SEO professionals tend to think that it does.
This is one of those “correlation=causation” fallacies that don’t always mesh with the reality of what’s going on. Often, as site owners, developers, etc. we don’t always have a birds’ eye view of what’s going on with any particular website at any given time. It doesn’t always happen. It could be that someone did something to the backend of the site that caused it to drop exactly at the same time that you bought ads. It could be that major changes to redirects and content occurred at exactly the same time that your ad was purchased and cancelled.
Either way, correlation is not necessarily related to causation. Just because you stopped running ads and have seen an improvement in ranking does not mean that this was the exact cause.
John Mueller Office Hours Hangout Transcript
Find John Mueller’s Google Hangouts on YouTube
Again, you can find John’s Google Hangouts on YouTube.
If you’d like to watch the hangout, you can watch it below.
You can also follow him on Twitter.
The hangouts are usually quite comprehensive, just like this one, so you’re sure to learn something new even if you’ve been doing SEO for a while.