• Wed. Feb 24th, 2021

it depends really is the answer to a lot of things so what's it depend on it depends on so many different things it depends on the question you're asking what it depends on is like the weird meta answer here um it's like what is this a new site is this a site that is literally doing a site move is it an actual site move or are just like changing the url structure or something uh what does your service setup look like how fast is your website what is the content looking like is there a lot of competition around this piece of content uh is it a duplication of content that is somewhere else and it depends on so many different things because as you might figure out the entire process on our site the entire infrastructure on our site is very large and vast and complex [Music] [Applause] [Music] hello and welcome to another episode of seo mythbusting today with me is barry schwartz uh you might know him from twitter and search engine roundtable very happy to have you here welcome to seo mythbusting and we're gonna talk a little bit about community awesome thanks for having me in your awesome office yeah all the like secret blueprints and stuff they're not that's a secret anymore so um when i reached out to you to check if you're available to like do this you said you wanted to talk about the relationship between google and the seo community so one thing that does puzzle me a little bit is that we are trying to be as transparent as possible to people and we are balancing between like being transparent and being confusing but we are oftentimes met with like this like i don't know um idea that we are withholding truth or like we are we're having like a different intention than what we're saying we do which is not the case like where does that come from well you have to understand that these are these are people building out content in order to get traffic to their websites and in some examples where either you have feature snippets where the traffic these publishers believe you're taking their content and putting it on your own website right google search results and people don't have to click on from the google search to their website because all the answers you answer the query right in that on the google search results page because of that people feel like you know why am i doing this why should i go ahead and write content that i'm getting zero traffic from which i'm not going to convert on but yes i see that i see that i understand that we hear that a lot but um we already know from studies and from experience reports from the community that you oftentimes get a lot more qualified traffic you get better traffic to your your site from featured snippets well maybe i mean there's been studies going both ways on that fair enough and it would be great if you guys could go ahead and publish your own internal data or share in google search console to show what this specific publisher is getting from feature snippets a little filter say filter my performance reports by feature snippets and you can see your click-through rate your impressions all that data and i think if it's positive i think the community will be very happy all right well i'm not so sure about that because like there's always a little bit of of uh agenda behind it and um yeah different people have different different angles to this and i think it's important to understand that fundamentally if you have content that is really useful for the users and you add more value around it because your site is is full of good content then i think these can drive a lot of traffic but i think like the complaints might be coming from people where they traffic the content is maybe not as great but i mean like there's bits and pieces that we can pull out for the user but like the user has no incentive to actually go there so it's like a i mean a lot of this stems from i'm in the u.s so i've been seeing on the tv a lot of governmental like the congress and senate talking about these studies that were produced by different uh people in the industry or outside the industry even data providers saying google's taking the lion's share of the clicks meaning people are going to google and google's sending less and less traffic day by day to publishers and that's a trend that scares the seo webmaster developer and publishing community but that's not something that we want to do i mean what we want to do is we want to bring people and the content publishers together that's literally like the fundamental idea of the search engine and we're trying our best to make that happen um but we also know that sometimes the intention is not to do more on the publisher's side like if the user wants to follow through that's great for both of us for the publisher for us but if it's traffic that doesn't lead anywhere if it's like the zombie traffic then huh that's a that's a tricky one to deal with but i see where you're coming from and i i hope that we can get more transparency and and visibility to these issues in the hands of developers and yeah and maybe that will maybe that will backfire if you get more transparency maybe it will be better for better for everybody who knows that's that's the thing that i find very interesting that you're saying that because that's something that we keep experiencing that when we are trying to be as transparent as possible that sometimes people are taking us out of context or like misrepresenting what we were saying um and then i like we are in this weird lose-lose situation right we we provide more transparency we lose we provide less transparency we lose that's the tricky one to deal with i mean i've been i'm obviously you know you know i write about this transparency and it's just funny because the more transparent you are it's like when you lose it's like a lose-lose situation and i've been covering this for so long sometimes you would over the history you've pulled back some transparency and then you've increased it and now it's like i think it's the highest it's ever been in the community it's it's i don't know i don't know the answer to it i mean i think being as transparent as possible is ultimately gonna be the best honesty is the best thing you could do without stabbing yourself in your foot yeah we're not trying like to to misdirect you or we're not lying to you so how can we make this into a win-win situation i think like we are doubling down on being transparent is definitely the way that we want to go and we just hope that the community picks that up and uh well i mean again i think what you're doing today at these videos what you've been doing on the webmaster uh youtube channel for a long time the activity that you and your whole team at the webmaster trends team is putting out on twitter on the forums and everywhere and i think that is what you need to keep doing because otherwise i mean it's just proof it's actual proof and truth you're on the field doing what you need to do yeah even just um not so long ago you held the google webmaster conference you're having around the world we had a big one in mountain view and i people are google engineers sitting there taking notes seeing what they could actually learn from the seo community and the publishing community and trying to make it and they're trying to say all right that's an interesting point of view that i didn't have you're taking that feedback you're going to hold all google search consoles based on feedback from the community absolutely there's so many things i wish more people would use the submit feedback button like that is so helpful because if you're reporting it over twitter it doesn't really go anywhere uh if you're reporting it over over our twitter accounts or talk to us in person then we're like okay sure i bring that to the search uh search console team and they're like that's one opinion out of many opinions that we hear every day but if you're using the submit button like the submit feedback button um we actually get like quantitative data of what the people want and that's actually i know that we're not like talking back we can't answer everyone submitting feedback there but we are taking this in and we're trying to make the things happen that we see are important that's how the speed report happened yeah i mean constantly it's amazing how much you push out with search console and again it's not really making you guys a dime it's just more about transparency so it's about transparency so let's hope that that gets us gets us all together as one community further and building good stuff for the web i hope so right yeah and then you have all the people thinking like hey oh you have chrome you have android and you're tracking all these users and you're saying hey why aren't you using this data for search it's a great way to improve search but then you looked at direct hit which was a big search engine back in the day and they used click data and they were manipulated by a bunch of people clicking on results and so forth it is very noisy as a as a data source somebody believes why don't people believe you i wish to know this i don't understand that either and i think like it's partly confirmation bias people like to hear the things that confirm their hypothesis that's just like psychology and on the other hand it is maybe this like feeling or perception that we are trying to hide the truth i mean conspiracy theories are quite well off these days well it's easy for people to think that of course because you can't tell the full truth in all situations because potentially people can manipulate the search results that's one thing the other thing is also just like when i say no we're not using it for ranking then i mean exactly that and we might use it for a b testing of different ways of presenting things in the front end or we might be using it for i don't know what but people are or tend to only hear the bits they want to hear and then you get misrepresented and then we have to clean up that rather than doing other good things for the community i mean so one example um is with amp when you released amp there was when you initially released it there were people on different sides of the coin google ads team google search team and other teams in the community as well saying different things and communicating different things which confused the larger community right some were saying it is a ranking factor some were saying it's not and amp while it is not a ranking factor in the core rankings the only way to get to that top carousel is to be amp to have amp have amp pages and it people look at that top carousel and that's the top position if you want to be over here you don't need amp if you want to be over here you need to happen to be number one you need that's kind of like a ranking factor i actually don't even know if we still do that like i know that the top carousel is an organic feature but i'm not sure if you're still requiring them but um we'll get it in the description of the video because i don't know at this point right but initially when it was launched that was the only way to get over there it might not be that way today right but initially when it was first launched the only way to be in the f uh in the top and top stories carousel was to have amp right okay fair enough that yeah right but it's as you say it's not really a ranking factor the amp team obviously believes in what they're doing and they're doing a fantastic job at what they're doing they solve really really hard problems they also give developers ad publishing companies a leverage to basically say like oh no we cannot have this very slow tracking thing here we cannot have this terrible piece of javascript on our site because then it would not be conformed to amp so that's a really really helpful tool there's a lot of privacy and and security implications around the entire like distribution of other people's uh content and we want to cache that and make that quick you can't pre-load for many interesting reasons that easily and that's where the signed exchange bundle came from but that's not really like being looked at much and that's not really being like investigated or considered much so like amp is being seen as what it was a couple of years ago i would say right and people are misunderstanding what the idea is the idea is not to break the web the idea is not to create a google-centric web the idea is to create a web that is fast for the user and successful for the user and the matter of fact simply is in a bunch of countries in what we call the next billion users countries the web as it is seen as either like a bunch of mobile apps or like a bunch of very proprietary walled gardens and that's what we are trying to alleviate and fix by making the web fast and accessible for these users and amp is the vehicle to get there yet people are like oh what's happening i mean i mean google's always going to be held to a higher standard and that gives you guys a lot more responsibility we understand that yeah that's why you guys are producing all that you have amp developer conferences all over the world all the time you have crazy amounts of videos and documentation around that you're doing these things so you obviously are stepping up and that that's the point of this conversation is seo myth busting so seo myth busting session is that you want to make sure that even though you have all these theories out there all these myths or whatever it might be you're doing whatever you can because you know of the responsibility google has to kind of give as much information as you possibly can to the seo community and the publishing community because of that yeah and we're aware of this responsibility and we're taking it very very seriously you can also see that by if you look at when we launched the evergreen googlebot we didn't just like throw it out there we could have just say like we'll test in production let's see what happens we didn't we made sure that we are not causing adverse effects to other people first and that's what we're trying to do and i would love the community to understand that we are not an antagonist we're trying to do what we can to bring good qualified traffic to people and we're trying to put out as much information as possible that's why we're filming videos like this and that's why we're writing all this documentation and i would love to for people to not have like these snap moments where they just like jump on whatever it is at the time but like be more like considerate and trying to understand what's happening and like getting data for themselves and thinking for themselves rather than just like getting out the pitchforks right people i think people don't realize there's real human beings at google and it was fun i was having a conversation with danny sullivan who's the search liaison at google now and he was basically saying yeah googlers don't have skin we're robots because people just talk to google like they're a company and there's real people there with real feelings and just because something you know agree with something like google or whatever it doesn't mean you should really like just yell your head off at whoever you're talking to because people have feelings sometimes i have a bad day and then when i read certain things on twitter i'm like uh why am i doing this i apologize for those tweets that's fine not you it's okay mostly that's it's fine um that just happens and we have to deal with that i guess that's that's part of the deal working at google is also the site of where people are just disgruntled and angry that's okay um it's just sometimes when it's what i don't like is when it gets unfair when people are twisting your words and are basically like calling you out for things that you didn't do or didn't say that's like a really weird one and when i get asked the question i say no and feel like oh so look at the exact wording that he has used that must have will have like a secret hidden meaning i'm literally i'm not sitting there in my computer or at my phone uh thinking 20 minutes about like a sinister way to i'm not a lawyer i don't you have to go through some training i guess yeah i mean i i do go through some training but mostly like to make sure that i'm not confusing people right that's the that's the biggest risk it's not that we're trying to hide something it's more like especially when i don't know something i'd rather say i don't know right that doesn't mean that people are like ah so you can't say it's like no no no it's not that i can't say i literally don't know well john mueller said i don't know and i asked him about what does i don't mean he's like either i can't say or i don't know um okay so that's that's john jeff doing it that's strong when i can't say i'm like i can't really say or like like or maybe i misunderstood what john said so who knows right but basically i'll i'll say when i can't say something uh because i think that's just fair to say like i i can't say that for for instance like if someone's like so how do you how do you rate something for spam and i'm like i can't say that because if i would give this information away how we're doing like spam detection stuff then spammers could use this information to game the system again right so i won't discuss that i won't discuss ranking simply because i don't know much about it and i deliberately keep it that way so martin why don't you want to know about rankings i mean it's a secret sauce you go home you just go ahead and like build your own websites and make so much money on the side uh so first things first i think we should not know about ranking um because we are trying to like represent the community as much as we can internally as we do externally as well uh the other thing is i'm just really bad at keeping secrets so uh that's why i don't want to know about like the ranking bits and pieces because if i accidentally blab them that's like not very helpful um and also it keeps changing and there's so much going on and we have like hundreds of ranking factors and i don't think there is that much actionable bits and pieces in there so i i don't feel like we should be talking about it as much we should be talking about what do our users want what do our users need how can we better understand it and how can we better deliver good web experiences and we have a lot of work to do performance wise content strategy wise uh literally just copywriting-wise like there's so much that we need to look into that i don't think that that's a fruitful discussion to have really yeah but when you tell the community just build the best possible website they go back and start laughing yeah build the best part of course i think i have the best possible website but what can i do to make it better should i add https should i make it .5 seconds faster should i yeah this specific thing like what should i where are my priorities right so i i think oh priorities is a tricky one because as i say like we keep like changing things a lot um but let's just print them on your google hub i'm not sure if that's a good idea um but uh you're right there are a few technical things that you can influence and they should do like https making your website fast um but these stem from again thinking user first and i i would see i would love to see more companies doing user testing as in like trying to understand who are your users and then actually having a conversation with them because what i think is the best content for my users might not be what the users think is the best content for them and that's a reality that i've seen in all the companies that i worked at uh the ones that did user tests learned a bunch from just having a five minute conversation with some of the users and google has a product uh google consumer survey feature i think i remember i i got hit by that panda update once a long long time ago and john's like why don't you ask your users what they think of your content i'm like okay so i embedded one of those google survey things and i published the results then they liked my content so google went in there changed my algorithm made my website really high yeah that's interesting there i didn't know that we had that product that's a good one yeah and it takes literally it's a second to embed i don't know if it's exactly called that but it's like basically a little embed and then it pops up right the site and then based on how you write it what page you're on it gives you dynamic information to ask you more questions which goes into a google spreadsheet which you can use to publish if you want that's awesome yeah that's really cool awesome now thank you so much for being here barry i think this was a really really interesting um conversation about community and how google and the seo community uh work together or can work together and uh i'd like to thank you all for watching the season two of seo mythbusting and listening to us and the other guests talking and thank you very much and bye-bye yeah yeah it's me not you are you breaking up right now hello and welcome to seo mythbusters today i have bet what s human busting

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