Google Webmaster Hangout Takeaway – Tabbed Content Issues Explained, How to Handle Mobile Pages and More…

by Alex Graves
Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency

In a week where we have already seen Google confirm that they are still rolling out Google Penguin 3.0 and the revelation that Google will discount content found within tabs and expand boxes, there has been a thirst for answers and it seems that this week in the latest Google Webmaster Help hangout with John Mueller we have a little more food for thought, some based on the early news and others based on questions that you might well be asking yourself.

In order to cover a few of the takeaway points of the video, the post will not be the usual format that you many have seen from me, instead here is a small list of points that we took away from the video:

What you should do with a disavow list when 301'ing a site into a new domain

John Mueller explained that in Google's eyes you are looking to pass all of the equity and PageRank of the old domain into the new one, meaning that you will effectively be pushing all of the links that the old domain has into the new domain.

This means that if you 301 a domain into a new one, you will have to copy the disavow over to the new domain in order for the same level of action to be taken against the links being pushed over, however John pointed out that if you were to include every single link that a domain had pointing into the old domain within the new disavow, Google would effectively treat the domain as a new domain.

A further comment was made about whether you should look to alter notes on the previous disavow file to include that you had moved the file from example.com to example2.com but John explained that Google NEVER view those notes as the process is done via algorithms and also said that even in a manual review of a site, the reviewer would only ever view the results of the process, not the file itself.

How should you deal with aggravator/scraper links?

John pointed out that if the content was placed on a third party site by the site owner, the links should be nofollow (non-equity passing) anyway, however each case is not "clear cut" for Google but they would look to deal with such links within their search engine algorithms.

Should you allow Google to crawl CSS and JavaScript?

John explained that Google realise that CSS and JavaScript can often be used to pull content into pages as well as allow for websites to resize to various user devices and that is why they believe that they should be allowed to read and process the information within them in order to ensure that they are seeing what a user would ultimately be seeing.

Tabbed content and expand boxes – What is the problem?

This has been a big talking point over recent days with the news that Google claimed that they can and will ignore content that is placed within such instances, however in the Webmaster Help hangout John was asked more about the subject.

John revealed that Google treat the content found within these areas as secondary content and stated that Google believe that due to the content being hidden from the user at the time of landing on the page from a search engine result, the content is not deemed to be relevant or important by the site owner.

Speaking about the subject, John pointed out that Google "kind of discount" the content found within tabs and hidden areas and that Google also omit this information "in relevancy and search results".

Finalising his point on this, John pointed out that if you were trying to rank for a competitive term based on the content within these areas and a competitor site is displaying the content clearly on the page, Google would be more likely to feel that their site would be putting more importance and relevancy on that content and thus would rank the site above yours.

Point of interest: John also pointed out that if you were to take the exact text of content found within one of these instances, Google would be likely to display the original page where the content is held, however it would not rank competitively for target terms without an exact search.

How to deal with mobile page content

John was asked about how to display a mobile version of a page that was not making use of tabs or expand boxes, with concerns about thousands of words offering a poor user experience but John said that content does not have to be exactly the same on the mobile version of the page, instead a secondary content could be used and the mobile version of the page should carry a rel canonical tag back to the desktop version of the page to ensure that the content would able to be seen by Google.

Infinite scrolling sites and Parallex – Good for Google?

A question was asked about how Google felt about parallex and infinite scrolling sites and John pointed out that they were fine as long as they followed the Google guidelines on how to implement them, with a particular care being made to point out that pages that are thought to be too big would force Google to determine a point where they would stop believing that the content thereafter was relevant.

When asked about whether Google could offer any guideline on the size of HTML that would be acceptable length, John shared that he remembered seeing somewhere that 50Mb used to be the roundabout figure and said that he believed that this was still in place.

Do Google consider third party metrics from MajesticSEO, Ahrefs, Moz etc?

John was quick to say "No" on this one, saying that Google don't consider the metrics seen by third party tools as they have enough internally to be able to make their own decision, however he did concede that some of the tools out there make interesting use of metric data.

He also said that they will be looking to try to draw their [third party tools] own outcome from the metrics that they produce so in some elements there could be a coincidental cross over.

There are further gems of information from John in the remainder of the video, so see below for the embed of the latest instalment.

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