From time to time, Google hosts live chats with webmasters attended by some of their key developers. If anything, this is a great venue to ask that nagging question in your head. The first time this was held was in March 2008, and you can read the details of the successful launch at SEOroundtable.com. As a consequence, a follow up was held earlier this month and an MP3 of the discussions is available here, as well as a transcript of the chat session.
The questions really zero-in on SEO concerns. Here are samples of some of the helpful queries and replies posted in the second live event:
Quentin Muhlert – 5:03 pm
Q: I’ve got a question about internationalization: I have a multinational site with country-coded subdirectories and I’ve registered these as such in Webmasters’ tools, will this be exempt from duplicate content rules for a site spanning uk/us/aus?
Susan Moskwa – 5:16 pm
A: Geographic targeting doesn’t affect the fact that we only want to show one version of a piece of content in search results; we will still try to filter out duplicates when we serve search results.
Oliver Gonzalez – 5:10 pm
Q: Is there any limit on the number of redirections 301, a Web site?. In a large site, if you change the URL structure, is the optimum time to do it with 301? or is best done gradually
Matt Cutts – 5:17 pm
A: There’s no per-page limit on the number of 301s you can do, so you could move 100K pages to 100K new location. However, if we see a really long chain of redirects, eventually we will decide to stop following the chain.
Abhijeet Mukherjee – 5:18 pm
Q: Whats the average time after which the PR of a site gets updated?
Matt Cutts – 5:22 pm
A: We typically do pushes to the toolbar every 3-4 months, so it can take that long between toolbar data pushes.
Andrew Evans – 5:11 pm
Q: Do 301 redirects send PR to its destination? I have several domains that 301 to 1 domain, and a couple have PR. Will it now send that PR to the 1 domain now that it is 301 redirected? Thank you.
Susan Moskwa – 5:27 pm
A: 301 redirects are the best way to let us know that you’d like a particular URL to get “credit” for factors from another URL; we’ll pass those signals across a 301 redirect as appropriate.
Antony Johnson – 5:23 pm
Q: Hi Matt, Are there any guidelines available on keyword density we have pages that are about 1 single subject and the keyword density is quite high
Matt Cutts – 5:27 pm
A: Antony, you may not believe this, but we tend not to think much about KW density here at Google, b/c our algorithms handle it pretty well. My advice is to pull in an innocent/non-search friend and have them read the text. If they raise their eyebrow, …
Quentin Muhlert – 5:29 pm
Q: Does GoogleBot tend to have a preference for long or short filenames/directory names?
Pedro Dias – 5:36 pm
A: Hi Quentin. No Googlebot doesn’t have preference on short or long filenames/directory names, usualy short names are preferred by users for usability purposes.
Alan Rothstein – 5:31 pm
Q: When you use the robots.txt tool in Webmaster Tools does it abide by this case sensitive rule?
Maile Ohye – 5:36 pm
A: Hi Alan, yes. The robots.txt analysis tool is case sensitive in the correct areas. Directives like “disallow” can be lower or uppercase. Path and directories are correctly case sensitve.
Rabin Acharya – 5:37 pm
Q: i have noticed multiple times that some of my competitors have multiple pages listed on certain keyword search. i believe google is trying to make sure only one page from a site is going to be listed. am i hearing it wrong?
Matt Cutts – 5:40 pm
A: Rabin, we’re typically happy to show up to two pages from one hostname in our search results. For a navigational search, it might not be bad to show more results from one domain. But we like diversity and try to preserve it.
Michael Nguyen – 5:42 pm
Q: Does removing your site’s low value pages from the index help the other pages rank better?
Matt Cutts – 5:45 pm
A: If they are just regular web pages, I wouldn’t remove them. If they were really spammy or doorway pages and you suspect that it could have affected your site’s ranking or reputation, then I would remove any spammy pages.