New Google Hangouts support page Office hours

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Google recently released a developer page to encourage publishers to participate in their online hangouts. The move follows a rebranding of Google Search Central as well as a recent hangout during office hours in which only two people participated.

Hangout on Google Search Central Office hours

Google has renamed its “Webmaster” campaign as Google Search Central. Video Hangout is now known as Google Search Center Office Hours Hangout.

As an advocate for Google search John Mueller said in a recent Hangout:

“… Part of what we do are these Hangouts Office Hour where people can join in and ask questions on their website and search the web.

This is the first (type of) Hangout in the Google Search Center… but it’s basically the same as the previous Hangouts we’ve run.

The name changed slightly because we kind of renamed everything. “

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New page for Hangout developers

Google’s new developer page is called How to Join Google Search Central Office hours. He gives instructions on how to join the hangouts.

The hangout is called office hours, but the hangout itself takes place during hours which are not particularly convenient for publishers, marketers, webmasters and SEOs who live in the US and UK. .

For this reason, Google hangouts tend to be frequented by people in India and the Middle East.

Editors in the US and UK have the option to submit questions in advance, there is a Event calendar which lists all events and links to the YouTube community web page where questions can be asked.

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The developers page has instructions for finding the
Calling Google Meet to participate in the Google Search Center Hangout, and a disclaimer that joining the Hangout constitutes an agreement to be part of the public recording that anyone can see.

Google discourages certain SEO questions

Google discourages specific types of questions about why a site is not ranking, by asking for advance notice for the next major update and asking for specific information about Google’s algorithm.

As an SEO forum moderator since around 2004, I agree not to ask why a site is not ranking. This asks for information specific to Google’s algorithm.

These types of questions should be removed because the answers are specific to a website. Continuing to answer these questions turns the community into a long line of people asking for free site audits, which is of no use to everyone except one person.

So rather than asking, “Why is my site not ranking?” a better approach might be to make your best guess about what might not be the case, and then formulate a question general enough to be useful to many people.

Google’s definition of SEO differs from the definition of SEO community. Google generally defines SEO as good content that is discoverable and easy to crawl.

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Google Search engine optimization starter guide says it in the first paragraph:

“This guide will not provide any secrets that will automatically rank your site first in Google (sorry!). By following the best practices outlined below, we hope search engines can more easily crawl, index, and understand your content.”

The SEO and publisher community defines SEO in the context of a site capable of ranking higher.

Google says not to ask these ranking-related questions:

  • “Why is my website not ranking?
  • When will the next major update take place?
  • Will Google start doing X in the future? “

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Google recommends asking questions related to exploration and discovery:

  • When should a website owner optimize their site for their crawl budget?
  • Does Googlebot discover links created by JavaScript?
  • What does X mean from the recent announcement?

Comparing the questions that Google wants to discourage versus what they want to encourage reveals a difference between how the publishing community defines SEO and how Google defines it.

Google Hangouts is useful

Despite the difference in how Google approaches SEO, Mueller is a good sport for answering tough SEO questions, which makes Hangouts worth watching.

The opening paragraph of the Office Hours Developer Page encourages publishers to ask questions on Google Search and their website, which is the right approach:

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“This is your chance to ask googlers questions about Google search and your website.”

The rest of the new Google Hangout page has some helpful links to understand how to get involved.

It may be more helpful for Google to consider scheduling at least some of these hangouts for hours that work best for publishers in the US and Europe.

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How to reach the central office hours of Google Search



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