Search Engine Optimisation

Takeaways from Google’s Latest SEO Office Hours

The practice of SEO is constantly evolving, often shaped by updates and clarifications from Google. The search team at Google regularly communicate with the wider SEO community, revealing insights that are crucial for anyone focused on optimising their online presence. Here’s an update:

The ‘www’ Debate: Google Remains Neutral

Many website owners grapple with the question of whether having a ‘www’ in their domain affects search performance. Google clarified that it holds no preference between the www and non-www versions of a website. From our perspective, this alleviates concerns about unnecessary redirects or splitting your site’s authority. However, consistency in how you present your domain—across backlinks and social shares—still matters for a cohesive SEO strategy and brand image.

Data Discrepancies in Google Search Console

Several users have noted inconsistencies in Google Search Console, especially where filter data appears to be higher than overall metrics. According to Google, this is due to their usage of Bloom filters. These filters prioritise speed over pinpoint accuracy during data retrieval. If you’re analysing Search Console data, it’s essential to take this into account. Over-reliance on these figures without understanding their limitations could lead to misguided SEO strategies.

Guest Posting for Backlinks

Google reaffirmed its stance on various types of link building methods. As before, Google are against using guest posts for the sole purpose of gathering backlinks. This is considered against Google’s spam policies. As expected, Google use these communications as a way to actively combat sites that are trying to manipulate their algorithm. Therefore, there’s an element of posturing and a hard-line is taken in areas that, in reality, are much more “grey”. Nevertheless, we strongly advise against employing short-term tactics. It risks not only your standing with Google but the trustworthiness of your site. Ethical, high-quality link-building strategies have always proven to be more sustainable.

Prioritise Quality Content Over Filler

Google encourages the addition of valuable content over repetitive, low-quality text. We couldn’t agree more. Quality content not only aligns with search engine guidelines but also genuinely serves your audience, thereby improving engagement and conversion rates.

Correct Use of Semantic Tags

Google warned against the incorrect use of semantic tags for aesthetic design. Improper usage can result in Google’s algorithms misunderstanding the content on your page. This is a more technical aspect of SEO that often gets overlooked, but it’s essential for ensuring that search engines correctly index and understand your content. We often find that content management systems aren’t always able to provide the formatting options needed – in these circumstances, clients often find “creative” ways to achieve what they want visually but this might compromise technical SEO requirements.


  • Both www and non-www domains are acceptable, but consistency is key.
  • Be cautious with Google Search Console data due to the use of Bloom filters.
  • Be cautious with link building strategies
  • Quality content should always be a priority.
  • Accurate semantic tagging is crucial for proper content understanding by search engines.

Navigating the changing tides of SEO guidelines is challenging, but staying updated is crucial. Our SEO team are at the cutting edge and these communications from Google are just one source of information to do that. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

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