Google Says ...

An unofficial, unaffiliated source of comment and opinion on statements from Google, Google employees, and Google representatives. In no way is this site owned by, operated by, or representative of Google, Google's point of view, policies, or statements.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

More Google tips from Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts went on a tear this week and posted several interesting items on his blog about Google and other search engines. In Video: Datacenter comments Matt listed the major points he covers in his latest video. (Philipp Lenssen has transcribed the video and Matt offered some clarifications.) What SEOs should take away from the video includes:
  • Data center IP addresses can point to more than one data center

  • Google redesigned its supplemental index earlier this year to use a different architecture from the main index

  • The site: command only presents an estimate of what Google has indexed

  • Another software infrastructure update that affects crawling for the main index is being gradually rolled out

In the comments section for his post, Matt elaborates on some other issues:
  • To Google, there is no distinction between "internal" and "external" backlinks

  • Finding pages in the supplemental index probably only indicates a lack of PageRank and links for many people

  • The main index is smaller than the supplemental index

  • If you see differing estimates with the site: command, the lower numbers are more likely correct

In Handling noindex meta tags Matt describes a case study he did. He found that if you include noindex in your robots meta tag, both Ask and Google will exclude the page from their indexes completely. MSN will index the URL but nothing else. Yahoo! ignores the instruction.

In Scoble visiting the Plex Matt notes that a URL with "cns!" followed by a long string of numbers, letters, and characters may look like a session ID to Google and other search engines. He also reiterates the helpfulness of repeating keywords from the title element in the page's URL, a point he has made in previous discussions. In the comments, Matt elaborates by saying, "including the keyword in the url just gives another chance for that keyword to match the user’s query in some way".

I've incorporated some of Matt's comments in these posts and others into new sections on my (new) SEO Consulting site. Look at the SEO Fundamentals, SEO Theories, and Search Engine Facts pages.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Google Page killed my Analytics

I was curious about whether it was now possible to sign up for Google Pages. After poking around, I discovered that if you have a Google Mail account, you can get a Google Page account. To get a Google Mail account you have to have a cell phone.

I have a cell phone.

So I gave Google my cell phone number and got my Google Mail account. I gave Google my Google Mail account and got a Google Page account.

Then, just to make sure everything was still good with the rest of my Google activities, I tried to log into my Google Analytics account. My old login and password were not accepted.

That was not good.

So then I decided to log into my Google Groups account. Google explained that all my subscriptions had been transferred to my new Google Mail account (I didn't recall them asking me if I wanted my other Google accounts to be affected). Google now gave me the option of not transferring those subscriptions, and I took that option.

At which point Google informed me that I would have to recreate the old account in order to preserve the subscriptions. So I recreated the old account, verified that my Groups subscriptions were preserved, breathed a sigh of relief, and then remembered that I had problems with Google Analytics.

Immediately upon logging into Analytics, I was informed by Google that all my old data was gone, but that it might be restored if I nicely requested reactivation of the old account.

I've been tracking Google Analytics' performance since the beginning of the year in a year-long evaluation of the service. I have their code installed on many pages. Naturally, I sent off the request to have the old account reactivated and am still waiting to hear back from them.

But now 8 months' data is lost to me, perhaps forever, and Google didn't even so much as put a big warning box in my face when I signed up for the Google Mail account to advise me that I was about to (almost irrevocably) alter my many relationships with Google.

I think a somewhat less streamlined approach to consolidating users' Google experiences would be in order.