Every week now (it seems) John Mueller holds his famous Google Search Central Office Hours Hangout on Fridays.
In nearly every hangout, John has some good SEO gold nuggets of information to share.
In our SEO insights series, we break down these gold nuggets into concise SEO insights with key takeaways, which will hopefully boil down the complex SEO concepts into simple solutions you can then implement on your own websites.
SEO Insight #1: There is Equal Relevance for International Queries in HREFLANG
One guest webmaster has a problem where they have a website that’s selling products in Germany. But they are wondering if using the .de domain name extension is enough for rankings, or if they need specific domain name extensions just for Germany. They are not selling anything in nearby locations like Austria or Switzerland.
John explained that for most international queries, the domain name extension is used to swap out URLs for users who have their language set to specific languages. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the ranking will be affected based on that.
SEO Insight #2: Does Google Have Plans to Cooperate With Third-Party Vendors on Enabling Their Apps To Work With Core Web Vitals?
Another webmaster was concerned about the viability of plugins like Twitter embeds and other types of plugins that have problems with Core Web Vitals. Specifically, causing issues with content layout shift (CLS).
John explained that he doesn’t know of any plans. They currently do not have special treatment for any specific applications or plugins. Basically, whatever the embed application does, it will affect Core Web Vitals in the way it has been optimized from the application’s developer.
With Google’s latest page experience update, he mentions it sounds like it would be in the developer’s best interests to create apps that load in compliance with Core Web Vitals.
SEO Insight #3: Does Passive Voice or Active Voice Matter in Terms of Ranking?
One webmaster had a question regarding passive voice and active voice, and whether or not it matters for rankings. For our readers who are not aware of the difference between passive voice and active voice, it refers to verb placement. Basically, active voice is when the subject in a sentence acts upon its verb. Passive voice means that the subject is actually a recipient of the action of that verb.
Active voice is generally considered to be stronger writing than passive voice, because it’s clearer to the reader when the subject (the object of the sentence) is the star of that sentence, rather than the verb being the star of the sentence.
John said that this is more a matter of user preference and how they understand your content. He said this does not matter for SEO.
SEO Insight #4: How Dynamic is Search, Really?
Another webmaster had a question regarding the dynamics of search and how dynamic rankings can be. They had rankings on the first page temporarily, then all of a sudden those rankings were not there.
John mentioned that doing this is entirely possible because of how dynamic search is. A page can rank really well, and then a few hours or days later, it may rank a lot worse, then it may rank better again.
SEO Insight #5: Use Structured Data to Define What Google Needs to Show in the SERPs
Another webmaster was experiencing a problem where they had duplicate pricing that was annotated with different international currency symbols. What happened is sometimes the wrong data would be picked up. They were concerned about making sure that Google picks up the right data to display.
John said that you should be using structured data to markup the specific currencies you want to display, regardless of their language/country of origin. This way, Google will be able to understand exactly what your data is saying, so they will be able to crawl, index, and then display it properly in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for their users.
SEO Insight #6: How Long Should We Leave a Former Page Up as a 404 With a New Site Launch?
One webmaster was having problems with a launch. They had asked the following question:
John explained that they should leave the old page up as long as possible. This allows Google to understand and see that part of the website is moving, but also that part of it is still there. That way, it’s an easier transition for the old URL to the new URL. You may want to use a 503 if you’re 100% certain that the new page is going to be up within the next day or so.
Here is his entire point:
SEO Insight #7: Does Google Read Information If It’s Within a Toggle Block?
Another webmaster asked the question: does Google read information if it’s within a toggle box (basically a box that has a toggle symbol: you click on it, and it either drops down or fades in to reveal hidden information).
John explained that if the content is fully visible within the HTML, they will use that for indexing. Here is his entire point:
You can read the rest of the entire transcript of the John Mueller Office Hours Hangout here:
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
Catch John Mueller’s Latest Google Search Central Office Hours Hangout
You can check out John’s latest Google Search Central Office Hours Hangout here
You can watch the hangout directly below:
They are generally held nearly every Friday at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
You are sure to learn something new you didn’t know before, even if you’re an experienced SEO professional.