SEO can be confusing and hard to understand. With the intense use of jargon and multiple high-level technical functions to master, it ca22 n be easy to misunderstand or misuse site information without realizing it, leaving you looking at your analytics in confusion.
Luckily, there are experts who've written up some amazing answers to the hardest and most unusual SEO questions. John Mueller and Gary Illyes of Google have been hard at work answering the questions of everyday site owners to help make their SEO experience as streamlined as possible.
Here are those answers, collected for your convenience.
Many sites rank for unusual or surprising keywords because of internal personalization, such as choosing keywords through a manual site editor, or because of local automatic targeting for a particular region.
It may also be because, according to Mueller, your site is being pulled into the one-boxes or knowledge panels above or beside main search results, or because your images are identified by that unusual keyword and showing up in image searches.
What to do: If the queries are expected to have a large number of impressions, and if your site is listed as being in the higher positions, but it just gets very few impressions. It can be image one-boxes search result or knowledge panel. Use GSC to break it down to a specific date, country to replicate as close to what users see as you can.
Simply put, having too many internal links can dilute their SEO value by obscuring your site's overall structure from Google and other search engines, according to Mueller.
Internal links are intended to provide search engines with information about which pages on your website are the most important. Having too many means that all the pages are indicated as incredibly important, so none of them are actually important at all.
The general rule of thumb is to link only to extremely relevant pages a few (no more than five or so) times per page. This can be done by creating pillar pages for all of the information about one topic on your site and linking back to it instead of every detailed page covering one piece of the topic.
Nofollow links will not prevent the indexing of a URL. What they will do is keep unnecessary links from influencing your site's ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). It will also stop transferring backlink power to the destination URL.
A nofollow link aims to reduce spam linking and make it easier to analyze organic content. It indicates to a search engine that the URL isn't directly associated with your site and shouldn't be included in a crawl.
Nofollow links don't impact your site's page ranking because they aren't considered internal or external. That being said, Google still indexes the URL of the link, so it can still affect your page's structure. The best way to completely prevent indexing is to use "disallow" robots.txt and "rel=noindex" meta tags on those links.
Moving content from one domain to another, or to a different subdomain creates issues with indexing for search engines. In addition, it can cause a significant decrease in traffic and uptick in site errors from defunct links.
It's best not to move your site. One user asked about moving their site in preparation for a new Google update, to which Mueller responded, "there are always updates." He doesn't consider this to be a good enough reason to move.
Some good reasons to move your site may be a change in the business name, inaccessible features through your old domain, or a severe security breach. If you are going to move your site, be sure to set up the proper redirects for old links to the new site and replace old links where possible with the updated domain.
On August 8, 2021, Search advocate John Mueller confirmed that customer reviews are not a ranking factor. While Google does show information about customer reviews in search results, such as aggregate star ratings, they are not a factor for determining the ranking of web content. Mueller says:
“As far as I know we don’t use the number of customers or reviews when it comes to web search, with regards to ranking. Sometimes we do pull that information out and we might show it as kind of a rich result in the search results.”
However, customer reviews are taken into consideration in Google Local Search Ranking, which is Google Map in this case. In Google My Business support article “How Google determines local ranking” it states that
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search.
Prominence refers to how well known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business' local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.
Google says there's no harm in having a lot of affiliate links on a page if the main content adds value to the web. Mueller goes on to say that Google needs a reason to show a site in search results, and that reason is usually because it has valuable content people are looking for.
Beyond tagging affiliate links with rel=”sponsored”, attempting to further optimize these links is “wasted effort.” Mueller says content that copies what’s on a retailer’s site is an example of something that will have trouble gaining ground in search results.
“What we care about is the content and kind of why we would show your pages in the first place. And if the content of your page is essentially a copy of a description from a retailer’s site then there’s no reason for us to show your site even if you had no affiliate links.
So you really need to first have that reason to be visible in the search results. And then how you monetize your site, or what links you place there, that’s essentially irrelevant.”