Google Webmasters Office Hours Hangouts are a fantastic way of learning how to optimise a website for search engines (SEO).

Google Webmasters Hangouts are a weekly get-together on Google’s YouTube channel, streamed live all over the world. Viewers get the opportunity to log in to the chat and ask questions directly to a guy called John Mueller, who works for Google.

John fields questions from viewers on all topics concerning Google search, including ranking signals, algorithm changes and often confirms or dispels the things we hear in the world of SEO. If something is a myth, he will say so; if something is true, he will openly confirm it.

These hangouts are brilliant for anyone who has a website and is looking to increase it’s search engine presence. A little bit of technical knowledge is required, but John puts information across in a way that is understandable.

The thing I like most is that the discussions are centred around website health, quality and usefulness. There’s no talk about ‘old’ SEO practises or ‘black-hat’ techniques, it’s all about building and maintaining a good website, that is brilliant for the user.

Some recent topics discussed on the Google Webmaster Hangouts include:

  • Canonicalisation – using the rel=canonical tag in your HTML head to help avoid duplicate content penalties.
  • 404 Pages – what impact do they have on search?
  • URL Structure and Internal Linking – best practise, how to do it and how Google picks up on it. If your site isn’t ranking too well, could your internal link structure be the cause?
  • Content – the importance of fresh, unique, useful content on your website pages.
  • Using a CMS – John seems to talk favourably about using a modern CMS framework such as WordPress and Magento (the two platforms we specialise in).
  • Breadcrumbs – breadcrumb trails help Google when crawling your website.
  • Disavowing Links – the importance of disassociating your website from ‘bad’ sites that link to you.

There’s loads more. These hangouts really are SEO gold and I can’t recommend them highly enough. As a Web Development and SEO business, we watch these every week as a matter of course to make sure we always have our finger on the pulse with all things SEO. That enables us to perform good SEO practises on YOUR websites to give you the best possible search rankings.

To help you further, we are planning to write a weekly summary of these hangouts. Not everyone has an hour to spare every Friday morning, so we are going to do the work for you! Keep an eye on our blog each Friday for the latest.

Speak soon,
Dan @ Go Web