Ask the Search Engines: Google and Bing #SMX West Liveblog

It’s time for “Ask the Search Engines.” Search Engine Land Editor Danny Sullivan welcomes Google’s Gary Illyes and Bing’s Duane Forrester to the stage for a no-holds-barred question and answer session with two of the search industry’s most important figures. These are the men with the inside info that we all want to hear.

duane forrester gary illyes

If a site has a large number of junk pages in the index, is the webmaster tools removal tool an effective way to remove them?

Gary: No. Kill the pages and remove them from the index. The removal tool should only be used in emergencies, like if you accidentally published something confidential, for example.

Any updates related to Penguin? Panda? Pigeon?

Gary: No.

Now that you want us all to go HTTPS, couldn’t you just pass the keywords back to us?

Gary: Right now the best solution is to use Google Webmaster Tools to get search query data.

Any recommendations you’ve heard or seen at SMX that you think advertisers or marketers should really be doing?

Duane: We’ve been talking about it a long time — marking up your content. If you still think that’s a project for next year, you need to get it done now. And mobile compliance is not optional. What do you feel like when you have a crappy experience on mobile?

Gary: You are using your mobile phone more than your laptop. Phone users are browsing the Internet. You have to provide a good experience for everyone regardless of device or location.

Duane: This is easy stuff to solve for — it’s super easy to test this stuff.

When is Bing going to go all mobile?

Duane: What makes you think we aren’t already?

Can we have a date?

Duane: June 26. It’s my birthday and you wanted a date.

I get errors because I have YouTube videos embedded. When is Google going to fix that?

Gary: We are working on it. I know we have quite a few services that are not in line with what we are asking users to work on.

If we have third-party content embedded on a page, is that going to affect our mobile friendliness?

Gary: It doesn’t affect it right now.

Any guidance on dealing with tabbed content?

Gary: That’s not an issue. On mobile devices, you have to treat content differently because the real estate is different from that stuff, so you have to have some solution. If you have decently sized tabbed targets, then I think you will be just fine.

Duane: It strictly comes down to discoverability.

How would you recommend implementing a redirect on a home page? For instance, if I see you’re coming from California and I want to make the page look more Californian, what should I do?

Gary: We recently announced that we support local crawling. If your content changes based on the user’s IP address and you have a single URL, we will be able to see the different content. But don’t rely on this ability just yet. We launched it in a limited number of countries. The best thing you can do right now is to have a different URL for each location.

Is mobile-friendliness on a scale or is it binary?

Gary: It’s binary.

To gain the mobile friendly label, we’re going to use a stripped down version of our site until the responsive design build is complete. Will having the m dot site indexed impact our desktop site?

If the content is pretty much one to one mapping to your desktop and you’re not doing any markup, we might have a hard time knowing that it’s actually a mobile site. So you probably do want to make sure that the markup on the mobile site is correct.

Do you treat 301 and 302 redirects differently in terms of link equity?

Duane: We’ll hit a 302 redirect five times and then assume it’s a 301 and pass value.

I have pages I want to get rid of in a hurry and I’m going to 404 them. Should I include them in the sitemap or not?

Gary: Include them in the sitemap.

Duane: Don’t include them.

Share your thoughts on a 410 redirect vs. a 404 redirect.

Duane: If you truly remove it and know it’s not coming back, 410 is a firm stake in the ground. The crawler is going to show up and honor what you say — so know what you’re doing. A page is permanently removed with a 410. A 404 has more lag time — you could have made a mistake and we can give you a cushion. But not with a 410.

Gary: To the best of my knowledge, we treat a 404 separately from a 410. 404s can pop up when a server crashes. 410s show up very rarely, and it looks like the developer has to make an effort to actually put the 410 in server headers. This means that that URL is really gone and will be dropped from the index.

Are there differences in crawl depth between Google and Bing?

Duane and Gary: Yes.

You’re recommendation is everything should go to secure, right?

Gary: Yes.

Do we get a ranking boost on Bing for being secure?

Duane: Maybe.

Mobile has really disrupted digital strategy … what is the next disruptive search trend we should be keeping an eye on?

Duane: I think it will be wearables or connected devices. As we’re able to collect information, we’ll be able to learn what’s of interest to people.

Gary: The movie “Her” pretty much depicts the future. The Internet will be omnipresent — 24/7 in our lives.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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3 Replies to “Ask the Search Engines: Google and Bing #SMX West Liveblog”

Hilarious ! talk thanks for sharing !

These are the best type of posts where we read exactly what was discussed rather than the authors interpretation. When it is combined with good questions it makes it even better.

Did not know there was a lag with 404’s wish I knew how long. Time to figure out 410s

Fantastic Blog ! Well answered by the both Gary and Duane. Thanks for sharing.


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