Google Webmaster Hangout With John Mueller – Video Sitemaps, Spammy Links, Crosslinking, Site Speed, AMP and More – February 2019

by Tom Buckland February 6, 2019

Google Webmaster Hangout with John Mueller February 2019


Google’s latest Webmaster Hangout touched upon some interesting issues.

We have rounded up the important bits from the live stream for our readers.

Video Carousel and Video Sitemaps

Google rolled out video carousels for Search last year.


Google Video Carousel - HQ SEO


This has supposedly (forever) replaced the traditional video box that websites used to compete for. This did open a weird Pandora’s box for pages that ranked higher, but had on-page videos. The videos now found their way into the carousel, shoving the CTR to the ground.

On the other hand, for video creators and publishers, having to compete against as many as 8 rivals for a single video click meant the loss of traffic for each and every search term.

There are no easy answers to this issue – except opting for a blanket opt-out from the dreaded carousel and ramping up your video SEO efforts.

John Mueller advises using three possible ways to better handle carousels:

1. Creating and submitting video sitemaps – These will help Google avoid confuse no-video pages with video pages.

2. Adding custom structured data to video pages – Using the right video schema

3. Blocking the indexing of videos altogether – If they aren’t important to you (perhaps using robots.txt)


What Happens When You Get Spammy Links?

Every website gets spammy links – and Google knows it.

Here’s what John Mueller said in this Webmaster Hangout (just confirming what we already know):

Pretty much every website has inbound links that are spammy or irrelevant. We’re pretty good  at ignoring a lot of these that websites collect over the years. 


In other words, if you get ‘bad’ backlinks, don’t split your hairs. Just disavow them when and as you find them, and you’ll be fine.


This Is Interesting: What Does Google Think About Informal/Insulting/Slang Content?

Many have asked us this question in the past:  Do we have to stick to using ‘searchable’ and formal language throughout our content?  

A user asked John Mueller the same question with a twist. They found out that websites that ‘stole’ their informal (but original) content and presented it in a more Google friendly manner ranked higher.

Mueller, in response to this, said that it hardly ever matters to Google what content you create as long as it’s in line with its content guidelines.


Confirming That PageSpeed Is NOT A Huge Ranking Factor

PageSpeed is an important part of technical SEO – no doubt. A fast loading page almost always means good UX.

Confirming this, John Mueller said that Page Speed is important but it’s just an indicator.

If there are five websites all loading under a second, being the fastest doesn’t give you any edge in that context.


Many other interesting topics like AMP implementation for WordPress, crosslinking and personalized content were discussed in the hangout. We recommend you take some time out to watch the stream archive.

If you have any questions, do feel free to get in touch with us.


About Tom

Hi, I'm Tom, Founder & Director of HQ SEO. I live and breathe SEO. I hope you enjoy my findings. Interested in SEO?
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