Jun 28, 2012
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Google's John Mueller Answers Seven Common SEO Questions Including The Secret To Ranking
by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Roundtable
Dec 24, 2019

Google's John Mueller posted a single #AskGoogleWebmasters video answering seven SEO questions. All the questions are pretty basic and you probably heard John answer them before. He even answered the question "What is the secret to ranking better?" The answer, be awesome.

Here are the questions and answers that John went through in this latest video:

(1) What’s the difference between 301 and 302 redirects? Well both send users onwards, the difference is subtle but small. A 301 is a permanent redirect, so the destination is what we keep. A 302 is a temporary redirect, so we'll come back to the start to double-check. They're just different ways of redirecting. Use the right kind when you can but don't worry about magical SEO dust. Both work fine.

(2) What's the difference between a 404 and a 410? Yay, more HTTP result codes. Both tell us that a page is now gone. Theoretically a 410 can be a tiny bit faster. In practice, on a normal website they're both processed in the same way. Don't sweat the difference.

(3) How long should my pages description meta tag or title tag be? Well there is no fixed length. Make them unique, compelling and useful. Provide the information that people are looking for so that we can highlight your pages optimally.

(4) Can I use symbols in my titles? Sure! We try not to show misleading symbols and there might not be that many people searching for them but you're welcome to use them.

(5) What about keywords and urls, do they matter? Words in URLs play an insignificant role for webpages but most content management systems make it easy to use them. So I just use them if you already have them but don't worry if you don’t. That said we do use them for image files though. So cuterobot.gif is definitely better than image-1138.gif.

(6) Does it matter if I use PHP or HTML endings for pages? No. Both are fine. I'd also recommend not changing from one to the other unless you're already making bigger changes elsewhere.

Don't sweat it seems to be the motto today right. Well some things are easy, so let's focus on the bigger picture.

(7) What is the secret to ranking better John? Well, there's no secret. Sorry. Having a website that's on a technically strong foundation with awesome content is a great way to start. Compare it to, well, baking the best cookie. You want something made from good ingredients, by trustworthy bakers, ending up with something that's not just the same as you get elsewhere. Standout, use a good technique, with great content, make something that's the best by far. Something you'll be proud of for the long run. Our algorithms don't count the words on a page similar to how you wouldn't judge a cookie just by its weight. If you want your pages to be recommended as something awesome, then make something awesome.

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