A4U Expo Live Blogging: Open Q&A about Google Organic Search w/ Martin Mcdonald, Kaspar Szymanski & c

Does HTML 5 Matter?

Google doesn’t have any preference. However user support should be considered.

Should i cloak my affiliate links?

Don’t cloak anything for Google.

Should you no-follow affiliate links?


Mobile specific site vs a responsive layout. Which is better for Google?

Mobile specific sites are typically better, its more of a business decision. The user should be at the centre of the decision. Pierre recently wrote a long blog post on this.

Are there any potential problems with duplicate content with mobile versions of a site?

Problems do occur, especially with redirects.

Someone has the same site in US, UK & Canada but on separate domains. He has changed titles and meta descriptions etc however the content is exactly the same. How far do they need to go to prevent duplicate content problems?

He could potentially use the canonical tag and add in the ‘hreflang’ tag. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=189077 Giving your site some local flavour in terms of language can be really effective.

Why does the site report/feedback process not allow you to submit more than one url at a time?

This is something that is going to be looked at and improved by Google.

How important are links in the algorithm?

A vague response but the Pierre said he should look at ‘how to chose an SEO company’ page on Google Support page as the current company has clearly given him some bad advice. He suggested that he changed his thinking about links and the overall marketing of a website.

Can you talk about the Panda updates in relation to affiliate sites?

Google does not hate affiliate sites. It doesn’t like however sites that don’t add any value. Worth looking at forum post on Google Webmaster Help Forum for people who think they have mistakenly been hit by Panda.

Title tags on occasion being taken from navigation links and brand not being included!

Google does re-write titles on occasion. This is typically when the title tag is empty or called things such as ‘home’. It can also occur on query specific searches. For example CNN and Cable News Network. If you search for Cable News Network then this title could be rewritten from CNN to Cable News Network. This is more useful to the end user.

Attendee asks about positioning of ads in Google. He was seeing them at the bottom of the search results and asked if this will be rolled up fully?

Response: not our problem, this is a question for the PPC team : )

How long before we know if we have a problem when moving an existing site to a CMS?

He should move the site over section by section to minimise impact. Read http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/04/best-practices-when-moving-your-site.html

Apologies for the short post, it was a very difficult session to live blog.