Google’s Webmaster Tools Prod. Manager Q&A

Rand Fishkin from interviewed Google Webmaster Tools Product Manager Vanessa Fox for Among the topics: Google Sitemaps, Google PageRank, Duplicate Content and Text-to-Code Ratios. (Can’t get video in iFrame to work, but you can watch the video here)

Google PageRank In general Vanessa Fox adivsed users not to focus to much on the PageRank from the Google Toolbar.  It’s not updated as frequently as other PageRank scores that are assigned to your site, nor is it the most accurate source of data.

  • When you signup for Google Webmaster Tools and verify your website, you’ll be able to see a different PageRank that Google provides to you.  Because you’ve validated that it’s your site, Google trusts you and is willing to show you a more accurate representation of your site’s PR score. The PR withiin Webmaster Tools is also updated more frequently according to Fox.
  • She also thinks that webmasters spend too much time worrying about a site’s PageRank in the Google Toolbar when exchanging links or trying to get one-way links to their websites.  Focusing on getting links from relevant sites is more effective in terms of helping your SEO rankings & getting traffic than getting links from high PR websites.

Text to Code Ratio
Google doesn’t care what the text-to-code ratio is apparently… their interest is in the content, so that’s what they’ll spider.

Google Sitemaps
For site owners and webmasters out there asking what type of sitemap format is preferred by Google, the answer is “all of them”.  Vanessa states that users should submit a sitemap in whichever format is optimal for their individual site.  The XML file does offer the ability to provide additional Meta data about each URL, but the data you enter will not help improve your search engine rankings.

Duplicate Content
While not an absolute delve into the issue of duplicate content, Vanessa did help clear up a few points about duplicate content within your own website.

  • Many websites contain similar content where a “City” for instance was just changed with a Find/Replace or pulled from a database dynamically to populate the page.  There is no “penalty” for having this type of content on your site, but the results from your site will be filtered (kinda sounds like a penalty doesn’t it).
  • Other sites have multiple URLs for the same exact page and content.  The same thing applies here.  Google will selectively choose one of the URLs and use that in the search results.
  • See my previous post on duplicate content and manufacturer data feeds.