We think we know SEO, until the real experts, in charge of the algorithm, tell us otherwise.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller answers important SEO questions during various sessions of Webmaster Central hangout and we’ve compiled some of them for you to read.
Check them out below.
Is it acceptable for authors to link to their guest posts?
At the bottom of the home page of my website I have a section called ‘in the media’ where I link back to these guest posts.
Currently these are follow links. Does this harm my SEO?
What’s the best practice for linking back to guest posts in order to not harm SEO?
To answer this question, Mueller started off by reminding us that guest posting is an unnatural form of link building.
In general, with guest posts, you’re the one placing the link essentially on another site.
So, in general, that would be considered an unnatural link. So I would recommend using nofollow for that.
However, the webmaster who submitted this question mentioned submitting roughly one guest post every other month. Mueller said this is unlikely to trigger any kind of unnatural linking penalty.
I think at the scale where you’re doing this at the moment where it’s like, I don’t know, once every couple of months, I don’t think anyone from the webspam team would look at that and say “oh this site is maliciously abusing these guest posts links…”
I don’t think that’s something you urgently need to worry about. But, in general, for guest posts you should use nofollow links.
With regards to linking back to that site, to kind of highlight where your content is shown, you can do that however you want.
So you can use nofollow links if you want, but I think a normal followed link is also perfectly fine for that.
Since you’re essentially showing kind of where all of your content is being published, and that’s kind of cool.
Mueller also pointed out that guest posting should be seen as a way to grow your audience and not as an SEO tactic.
With regards to SEO, I think at the scale where you’re doing it you probably wouldn’t see any advantage or disadvantage.
With regards to building a bigger audience for your website, that might be a good thing to kind of talk about related topics on other websites and maybe interest some users into visiting your site as well.
So, from my point of view, that sounds kind of good.
But purely from an SEO point of view I don’t think you’re doing a lot in a positive or negative direction there.
How Manual Reviews are Handled
The first question the publisher asked was about how much time the Googler’s spend analyzing each reconsideration request.
“Because these are manual reviews, we can spend a little bit more time but it’s also the web is big and we have a limited time so what usually happens is someone will look at the bigger picture of the website and try to determine if there’s really a strong pattern of unnatural issues here which could be all kinds of things.
With links it’s always a bit tricky. That’s something where the manual reviewer has to double-check a little bit more and see, is this something that probably the website did by themselves, or is this something maybe a competitor did or someone is trying to harm them… by doing these links.
And if we can recognize that it’s not in their control we’ll try to find a way to just ignore those links.
But they do spend a little bit more time to look at the website as well.”
Google’s Manual Review Team
John Mueller’s answer:
We do have multiple people in multiple locations for multiple languages… just because sometimes websites are hard to understand in different languages and just looking at kind of the number of links makes it really hard to determine is this kind of unnatural or is this just… maybe one language that they don’t speak and all of the links look like this because that’s a very common word… I don’t know.
So that’s something where we do have multiple teams in different locations that on the one hand that makes it a little bit fairer with regard to international websites.
But that also means for some languages in some locations we might not have as many people as for other locations. So that sometimes slows things down with the reconsideration requests.
The publisher asked if how fast a publisher responds to a manual action makes a difference, as he was told to not respond too fast.
“No. That’s something where if we send the manual action and you fix it within half an hour that’s fine.
I think, especially with links it’s more important that you really clean up the bigger picture and sometimes that does take a bit more time.
But there are different issues which you can just fix if you have a plugin on your website that causes the problem then you can just remove that plugin and suddenly everything is fixed.”
Other Questions Answered
About Priority Queues:
Are there Priority Queues for Reconsideration Requests?
John Mueller’s answer:
“No. I don’t think so.”
Second Looks at Websites
This question is about whether manual reviewers ever return to take a second look at a site after it’s been reviewed.
“Does the team voluntarily wait a longer time before taking another look at the website?”
The one thing that can happen is, if we see that a website goes back and forth then that’s something where the web spam team will say okay you’re just wasting our time.
Like, if you fix the problem, do the reconsideration request and then a couple weeks later you have the same problem again then like a little back and forth and the web spam team will say okay, we will take a look in a couple of months when you decided what you want to do.”
Are Second Looks Scheduled?
The publisher then asked if Google scheduled websites for follow up reviews after they’ve been cleared of a manual action.
No. If it’s fixed it’s fixed. There’s nothing that hangs around.
Source: Search Engine Journal