Q&A with Google – John Mueller Answers 7 Burning SEO Questions

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Let’s not even pretend you have all the answers, because you don’t. In fact, there are more questions than answers and it will always be so. However, we can try and make it a bit easier for you and the whole process of Strategic and Technical SEO worthwhile. We have put up together a bunch of SEO-related questions the viewers have posed to Google’s Stalwart John Mueller, either in the Ask Googlebot video series or in Google’s Office-hours Hangout series, both on YouTube, in the last couple of weeks. Let’s read on what insights John has to say about our queries. Let’s make our lives a bit easier. Here goes nothing.

1. Does blocking CSS files in Robots.txt negatively impact rankings?

Yes, says John Mueller, adding that you should avoid doing it as Google is unable to render the page as a visitor would see it. He further adds that Google is able to understand the page better and decide if it is optimized for mobiles or not only when it is able to see it in whole.

2. What’s the best way to update a website’s sitemap?

Mueller says that while there no specific solution that would apply to all the websites, most of them do however have solutions for sitemaps that are in-built. If unable to find one, you can simply install and turn on an automated plugin that updates the website’s sitemap. It is usually the best way to go about who aren’t familiar with the process.

3. How to reintroduce a website to Google?

Mueller says that reintroducing aa website to Google is not possible. You can’t delete the old files and upload the new ones thinking of it as a reset button. He further says that over the period of time Google will on its own drop the old website and will bring the newer version to the centre. There is however a way to make this process faster and smoother and that is by redirecting the old URLs to the new pages.

4. Can you improve crawling by deleting RSS feeds?

A person asked if deleting RSS feeds would improve crawling as about 25% of Google’s crawling capacity goes towards RSS feed URLs. To which Muller says that that shouldn’t be a problem and deleting RSS feeds wouldn’t amount to much as Google automatically balances crawling across the whole website. Google then re-crawls some of the pages after it has seen all of the pages that matter.

5. ccTLD or Dotcom, what’s better if you want to expand international presence online?

Mueller says that it all comes down to your marketing strategy and how you want people to perceive your brand. If you already have a substantial presence in one country and now want to expand in another, you have to ask yourself whether you want your brand to known in the new country as a specialist of whether you want that country or countries to see you as a global force. If it the former, sticking with ccTLD is the way to go, if otherwise, dotcoms do have a universal appeal and acceptance.

6. How to complete site migration successfully?

Mueller says that changing the site’s domain name, whether because it is merging with another or whether it branding has changed, is always a long and painstaking process. He says that, one; you can create a list of Old URLs and New URLs and see which ones can overlap. Two, and we quote, “301-redirect all the old URLs to the new ones, also update all internal mentions such as: links, forms, structured data, sitemaps, and the Robots.txt file.” He further advises caution against the timing of the migration (the pros and cons should be weighed in properly) and that you should leave the redirects in place for at least a year and monitor everything very closely.

7. Can putting important section on a page in bold improve its SEO?

Short answer, yes, but only up to an extent, says Mueller. He further add that while doing so can certainly add an extra value to the page but it also matters a lot how the rest of the page is. If the whole page is such where its content is not up to the standard in any which way, putting a certain line or two in bold isn’t going to help its cause much. But if the content is of high-quality and delivers high value then putting something in bold sends a clear signal to the crawlers that this portion is not to be missed.