Notes from June’s Google Webmaster Chat

Since this is the first I’ve attended, I was not sure how applicable the information covered in the second of Google’s Webmaster Chats would be for me and my situation. Despite this, I had just passed my Professionals Exam (please note the pretty logo in the Sidebar!), and had overall had a pretty crappy day, so spending an hour or so on a WebEx sounded appealing enough.

I am glad I did.

All levels and veins of interest were represented, and the presentations were helpful, and interesting enough, and I picked up lots of salient little tidbits out of the ongoing 300-question Q&A.

So, here’s a quick cheat sheet of my notes, without the legibility issues of my penmanship:

  • One presentation highlighted the underused Google Subscribed Links, and the Google Personalized Search Engine.
  • Personalized Search Factors include: user location, user options, and search history.
  •‘s browser plug-in was mentioned as an effective “non-personalization” tool
  • You can also turn off the personalization of a search query by adding “&pws=0” to the string.
  • For help in ranking well in Local Search, be sure to keep your physical address on the page.
  • Some answers emphasized that results are personalized by IP.
  • With over 200 factors for Ranking, let’s face it, no one can keep track all of the time.
  • Multiple languages on one page can confuse not only users, but also the bots. Try to choose 1 language, and stick with it, or create a landing page for each language.
  • Automated language translation of pages is still read as duplicate content by the bots.
  • There is no such thing as an “.edu boost”. No extensions are any differently weighted, either domain or file type. If the bots can read it, that’s it.
  • While url strings are case sensitive, Google searches are not. All Caps is even fine.
  • There is no difference between hyphens, dashes, or underscores. You no longer need to worry about avoiding the hyphens, but you also really shouldn’t worry about switching out all of those underscores you’re using either.
  • The Googlers were all wondering why we were all asking so many questions about Meta Tags? The only one at all used is the Meta Description, and that’s not even commonly used. Quit it with the meta worries
  • The buzz words for the session seemed to be “personalization“, “localization“, and “accessibility“.
  • A top point was to make you site accessible, usable, and enjoyable for the user, and maintain quality, relevant content. If you follow these simple concepts, the bots will be fine, too.

I hope you get a chance to sit in on the next one. I highly recommend it. Expect more of this fun little “open-ness” adventure from Google in the next quarter.

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