Vanessa Fox answers more questions about Google

Interview snippets from Vanessa Fox, Product Manager for Google Webmaster Tools. Full video interview w/ Rand Fishkin

I’ve tried to get the important points from the interview, so several of these items are very short and/or are specific statements made by Google’s Vanessa Fox. initiatives

  • content to be included in 18 different languages.
  • New method of notification – specify in robots.txt file via:
    sitemap:filepathView the robots.txt sitemap inclusion discussion over at WebmasterWorld for more specifics

Webmaster Tools & Sitemaps

  • Yahoo Site Explorer out of Beta.
  • URL removal tool in Google (out fo 6 yrs now). Could make it’s way into Webmaster Tools.
  • Real-time Google PageRank coming soon? Doesn’t sound like it (too many privacy issues).
  • Google Supplemental Results – could start providing more information on why pages are in the Supplemental Index, but likely wouldn’t provide a full list of everything in the index. Not considered such a bad thing anymore – many supplemental results still rank well for specific phrases.
  • Considering offering data on who’s linking to your 404 error pages and/or where your broken links are being linked from. Always try to redirect to the most relevant page on the site vs. using a 404.
  • Could submitting an orphan page through Sitemaps get a page indexed?
    Yes… (but) it probably wouldn’t rank well. That means that all of the pages on a site should be submitted through Sitemaps.
  • Google Link Reporting – Link sorting (currently alphabetized).
    Could make other options available in the future.
  • Sounds like they could be adding features to allow you to verify more than one domain within your account (ie: multiple domains).
  • Moving your website to another domain – Take pages from old site, move to new site (as is). Don’t restructure or re-design the website until after you’re sure the engines see the new domain & pages well. “Do things in stages” or “one step at a time”.

Pre-Sell Pages (ie: .edu hosted content)

  • They’re aware of what’s going on and could devalue some of the trust that certain domains have (ie: .edu, .gov). “Always looking for ways to do things better.” Hoping to get some changes in the hopper and to see some changes soon.One example given was searching for “viagra” in Google – several of the Top 10 results are .edu sites that appear to have had content hosted on them. Several of the pages have custom 404 error pages coming up, so they must have figured out what was going on. Another appears to be forum/comment spam that’s somehow ranked well (???).

Buying Links (watch out!)

  • Might make webmasters aware of detection of paid links (ouch!!!). The more information the better, including problems regarding ranking issues. No definitive answer though….

Sites Displaying Search Results (scrapers, shopping sites, etc.)

  • She mentioned that the engines, in some cases, wouldn’t want visitors searching in Google to click a result, only to find another page of search results. I guess some filters could be expected.

Google Base

  • Submit structured data (ie: feeds).
  • Separate searching system from
  • Good for experimenting – “get in early”.

Google News

  • Can submit News sitemap through Webmaster Tools.
  • Send email to get included (for review) – English only.

In case you missed our last Vanessa Fox posting, you can view her December 2006 interview here.