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Official Google answers to common SEO questions

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All questions with the tag “Ranking Algorithm”:

Question Views
1. Does Google use the "keywords" meta tag? 6,172
2. Will SEO still exist in 5 years? 4,061
3. More than one H1 on a page; good or bad? 3,415
4. How much weight does the number of years a domain is registered have on your ranking? 2,821
5. Underscores vs. hyphens in URLs, does it make a difference? 2,557
6. Can you verify that Google is putting more weight on "brands" in search engine rankings? 2,480
7. Will Google remove a page that I don't like from its search results? 1,660
8. How does Google use human raters in web search? 1,630
9. Does Google try to return results based on signals other than popularity? 1,563
10. Is data about the sites that users block being used in ranking? 1,545
11. Do tag clouds help or hinder SEO? 1,455
12. Links from relevant and important sites have always been a great way to get traffic and acceptance for a website. How do you rate links from new platforms like Twitter, Facebook to a website? 1,361
13. Is first link priority an on-page SEO factor? 1,347
14. How accurate is Google's backlink-check (link:…)? 1,346
15. How can a website compete for high rankings using only white hat techniques in industries that are dominated by spammers if Google takes months to react to spam reports and by that time new black hat sites are ranking? 1,315
16. Does anchor text carry through all 301 redirects? 1,302
17. Is it good to put a "coming soon" page for new domains? 1,254
18. Are there negative SEO implications to having a blog with do-follow comments? 1,238
19. Can you think of any reason whatsoever to validate spending more than 5 minutes creating meta keywords? 1,237
20. What impact does "page bloat" have on Google rankings? 1,230
21. An SEO suggested that I take all the content on my Twitter page and auto-feed it into a section on my website. Will this really help my site's PageRank? 1,228
22. How can linking remain a major part of a search algorithm when the majority of internet users are unable to post a 'followed' link on the World Wide Web? 1,212
23. Is there a way to benefit from content scraped from your site? 1,211
24. It seems that having relevant keywords in URLs is very helpful. Does Google give higher importance to keywords in the path vs. filename? 1,203
25. My SEO client is using shared hosting for one of their websites. When I checked other sites hosted on their server, I found some spammy websites. Will that affect ranking of my client's website? 1,195
26. When will Google create a software similar to Web Position so that SEOs, spam fighters and regular webmasters can check rankings etc. without violating the guidelines? 1,187
27. What is the best way to check your own site for keyword rankings e.g. if I wanted to target a new phrase and wanted to check the progress of its ranking – what is the best way to check it? 1,185
28. Does Google value its own links for PR/Linkjuice? 1,182
29. I keep a "blogroll" page with links to all my friends' blogs on my blog. Will that affect my blog's reputation in Google? 1,181
30. Could you confirm whether the geographic location of the web host has any significant ranking factors for organic SEO? 1,177
31. How much of a difference does the number of levels in the URL make? 1,172
32. If I use Google Analytics to track conversions on my ecommerce website, would that have a negative effect in Google SERP? 1,171
33. How does Google determine domain age, and is it important for ranking? 1,169
34. Many SEOs are obsessed about your speed comments, but I get the feeling speed will be a very minor component in ranking. Am I right, or should I be obsessing about load times as well? 1,168
35. The Sitemap.xml file states there are 10,000 URLs but only 1500 have been indexed. After numerous crawls it does not appear Google is going to index these additional detail pages. What can I do to get Google to index my unique and current detail pages. 1,166
36. With a lot of my potential clients, the first words out of their mouth when building a site is "Can you make my site #1 on Google? 1,155
37. If it appears that your site has been penalized in SERP position, but you have done nothing wrong and cannot diagnose what the problem is, how do you proceed? 1,154
38. Is there a limit to the number of pages that Google will index from one site? 1,152
39. What impact do site load times have on Google rankings? 1,145
40. Can you tell us: a) How many changes did Google make to their primary search algorithm in 2009 till date? 1,142
41. How does Google rank sites which run on a different port than the standard port 80? 1,132
42. I see so many people asking "Will this increase my PageRank? 1,102
43. Are stats from Google Analytics (bounce rate, time on site) a factor in a page's or domain's ranking? 1,096
44. Does Google have any suggestions (or data) on the impact of pipes versus dashes in the title tag? 1,094
45. How would Google consider (and rank) a site that uses meta data and URLs in a language (Italian) and has the H1 of the pages in another (English) considered more appealing for users? 1,093
46. Is it OK to sell links as long as we use the nofollow attribute? 1,091
47. Do your SERPs return the exact same results on all browsers? 1,090
48. How does Google handle ligatures, soft-hyphens, interpuncts and hyphenation points? 1,078
49. In addition to using Webmaster Tools to submit an XML sitemap to Google, how important is it to also have a sitemap for users? 1,074
50. Is it true that domains registered before 2004 have a totally different way of getting PageRank? 1,068
51. Google announced page load speed matters for ranking. Should we be doing content-only pages for Google bots? 1,054
52. Are title and description tags helpful to increase the organic CTR – clicks generated from organic (unpaid) search – which in turn will help in better ranking with a personalized search perspective? 1,046
53. What impact does server location have on Google rankings? 1,042
54. When you search for something, let's say "LinkedIn", you will notice there are some quick links on the search result such as "Jobs, About, Advanced" etc. How does that work? 1,041
55. Any updates on "site hierarchies display in search results" (aka breadcrumbs)? 1,037
56. Does PageRank take into account cross-browser compatibility? 1,030
57. Will Google ever offer (through Webmaster Tools or an API) a keyword ranking report similar to what Web Position and various other scrapers do? 1,028
58. Last year, one of my client's web servers when down for over a day. Would this have affected the site's PageRank at all? 1,026
59. Why are the UK SERPs still really poor with irrelevant non UK sites (US/AUS/NZ) ranking very high since early June? 1,020
60. I am using a template website (I'm an amateur!). The H1 tag appears below the H2 tag in the code. Does the spider know what's going on? 1,010
61. What do you predict will be the big changes to 'search' as we know it today over the next 3 years? 1,010
62. We sell a software product, and there are 100s of software download directories of the web of varying quality. Could submitting our product to all of them hurt our rankings or domain trust/authority? 1,009
63. I bought a domain 7 months ago. The website I put on it still doesn't show in the SERPs. Since 2000 it's had different owners – used by a co. in Oz, it's then served ads, then "for sale" with a company for 4ish years. Will it have trust issues in Google? 1,002
64. Is there a way to tell Google bots to exclude recurring words on a website such as "leave comment" or "print page" when indexing in order to improve the keyword density? 1,001
65. A client has a leading competitor who has created 100 or so blog sites with little depth – Google gives them a top ranking on every related term to their industry. Why does this tactic still win? 999
66. What are Google's thoughts on blog commenting? 997
67. What are the factors that go into determining of PageRank of a Twitter page, e.g. it is the followers, backlinks? 986
68. Are you ever going to do 'weather reports' like Yahoo! does algorithm updates? 981
69. On what basis are you increasing the PageRank for each PageRank update? 963
70. If search engines rely primarily on textual analysis, how can a site that focuses on audio, video, or other non-textual content improve its rankings? 963
71. Does using a class or an id in a header tag: <h1 id="whatever">text</h1> instead of plain headers: <h1>text</h1> interfere with the way search engines see and understand headings? 959
72. How does someone begin to SEO their site on a small budget in an overwhelmed industry such as real estate? 952
73. What factors influence a video universal result in Google? 945
74. Sometimes when you search for a company, you won't get the main page as a search result. For example, you search for [example-company-name] and get their FAQ page listed first. How does that happen and how can we avoid it on our own websites? 923
75. We got rid of a profitable pop-under ad (since we thought the concept was user unfriendly), but then pages-per-visit and time-on-page dropped – along with our rankings. Does Google reward or penalize for a pop-under, directly or indirectly? 920
76. Do you think web search will ever make use of references (web site mentions that are not links) as a ranking signal? 918
77. Will Google find text in images someday? 916
78. Is Google aggregating SearchWiki data with Analytics for ranking? 915
79. Does the new canonicalization tag make it safe to add tracking arguments to some of my internal links without fear that Google will split the quality signals between the two addresses? 895
80. We are changing a fairly large HTML site to CMS. What are the essentials to keep in mind so that we do not lose our search rankings? 895
81. How come the search queries report in Webmaster Tools shows some keywords ranking and when we search them they are nowhere to be found? 890
82. Is there a good way to kick off a feed in Google Reader by doing something like temporarily making the feed include a whole bunch of old content? 890
83. If you run a family friendly site which however now and then mentions an adult word (e.g. because the word is ambiguous or just happens to be about sex education etc.), do you risk getting kicked out of the Google SafeSearch results zone? 881
84. When I do a Google search for my business name, Google suggests "did you mean:" with some other company name. Is there anything we can do to keep that from happening? 795
85. I haven't been to any conferences yet this year, I don't live in the valley and I'm not an attractive female. Will my ranking be negatively affected? 760
86. Many are talking about losses of traffic with long tail searches. I was wondering if you could give us an update on what is happening with Google right now? 241
87. If you have inbound links from reputable sites but those sites do not show up in a search, does this mean you are not getting any 'credit' in Google's eyes for having inbound links? 180
88. What's the deal with the state of the UK SERPs? 40

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