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Google’s Gary Illyes “Did You Know” tweets reveal interesting insights



For the last couple of weeks, Google's Gary Illyes has been tweeting interesting facts about SEO and search. We have collated all the facts for your viewing pleasure.

Google's Gary Illyes "Did You Know" tweets reveal interesting insights

For the last couple of weeks, Google’s Gary Illyes has been tweeting interesting facts about SEO and search, with the theme DYK, or Did You Know. We have collated all the tweets below.

Google’s Gary Illyes is a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, and is one of the most proactive spokespersons for Google, regularly interacting with fellow SEO’s on Twitter and other social media. His insights and commentary on SERP volatility is invaluable, and he, along with John Mueller are two people you should be following on Twitter.

  • Gary Illyes Twitter
  • John Mueller Twitter

The Did You Know series of tweets by Gary Illyes ran from February 8 to February 16, and can be found by searching Gary Illyes Twitter account for “DYK”. Here is a direct link to the search query.

Did You Know that HTTPS URLs in a dup cluster have a higher chance of becoming canonical?

This means that if you have 5 URLs in a duplicate cluster, and only one of these utilizes HTTPS, then Google is more likely to index the HTTPS version:

  • http://example.com
  • http://www.example.com
  • http://anotherexample.com
  • http://thirdexample.com
  • HTTPS://www.example.com

In the above examples, the last one is more likely to be indexed despite all the pages being identical. Google first announced this change that HTTPS pages will be indexed by default on December 17, 2015.

Did You Know that after 18 years we’re still using PageRank (and 100s of other signals) in ranking?

PageRank is a metric invented by Google on a scale of 0 to 10 that determines the quality of a web page based on the number and quality of links pointing to that web page. Over the past couple of years SEO’s have moved away from the concept of PageRank and focused more on Domain Authority, especially as Google no longer publishes website’s PageRank scores. However, the concept of backlinks being one of the main rankings factor is still important, and we imagine there is some complex PageRank score that Google is using internally.

Did You Know blocking a page with both a robots.txt disallow & a noindex in the page doesn’t make much sense cos Googlebot can’t “see” the noindex?

Did You Know the “number of results” you see in search results is really just an approximation that’s less accurate the more potential results exist?

Did You Know we released an updated version of our Search Quality Raters Guidelines. Bored this Sunday? Here’s the link: https://t.co/6MdO1i5P7k

Did You Know Google doesn’t have a duplicate content penalty, but having many URLs serving the same content burns crawl budget and may dilute signals?

Google recently published guidelines explaining how the Crawl Budget works, and we covered this in detail here. If you have duplicate content, the PageRank or Link Juice will be diluted over more pages and we suspect this is what Google is referring to, at least in part.

Did You Know you don’t necessarily need links to rank? Don’t believe me? Here’s an article from RandFish

Backlinks are only one part of the Google Algorithm. Google has been making moves in recent years to strengthen the signals for High Quality Content, and that, coupled with great on-page SEO can be extremely powerful. Plus, if you create really great content, the links should come naturally anyway.

Did You Know traffic drops after sitemoves are usually caused by missing or rogue tags/directives on the new site? Removed hreflang, extra noindex…

Did You Know keywords have different weight depending on their position on the page & their surroundings? Footer text may weigh less than centerpiece

Not only this, but the keyword positions in Titles and even the URL can make a difference with Google giving more weight to the keywords toward the beginning, and content nearer the top. While our full library of Ranking Factors is still in progress, we have covered several of these topics already, here.

Did You Know if you read out loud the text on your page and it doesn’t sound natural, that piece of text may weigh much less during ranking

This may be easier said than done, especially if you are a non-native speaker. However, tools like Grammarly, or Lingofy may help.

Did You Know we render most pages we crawl, but we don’t “click” on page elements?

Did You Know that if Googlebot can’t access the robots.txt file due to a server error, it’ll stop crawling the site altogether?

This demonstrates the importance of having a reliable hosting provider.

Did You Know Googlebot doesn’t care about a little broken HTML? You do want to have as few validation errors as possible though, just to be safe

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