New Hangout Support Page for Google Office Hours

Google recently launched a developer page to encourage publishers to participate in their online hangouts. The move comes after a rebranding in Google Search Central as well as a recent hangout during office hours that only two people attended.

Hangout for opening times of the Google search in the headquarters

Google has renamed its reach as “Webmaster” to “Google Search Central”. The video hangout is now known as the Google Search Central Office Hours Hangout.

As Google search attorney John Mueller said on a hangout recently:

“… Part of our job are these office hour hangouts where people can jump in and ask questions about their website and web search.

This is the first (sort of) Google Search Central hangout … but essentially the same as the previous hangout we did.

The name changed slightly because we renamed everything. “

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New Hangout developer page

The new developer page from Google is called “How to participate in the opening times of Google search in the headquarters”. It includes instructions on how to join the Hangouts.

The hangout is called “office hours,” but the hangout itself occurs at certain times that are not particularly convenient for publishers, distributors, webmasters, and SEOs living in the US and UK.

Because of this, Google’s hangouts are usually visited by people in India and the Middle East.

Publishers in the US and UK have the option of pre-submitting questions. There is an events calendar that lists all the events and links to the YouTube community website where questions can be asked.

See the developer page for instructions on how to find the
Google Meet call to participate in Google Search’s central hangout and a disclaimer that joining the hangout constitutes consent to be part of the public recording that anyone can view.

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Google advises against certain SEO questions

Google advises against certain questions about why a website is not ranking, asks for advance notice for the next core update and for specific information about the Google algorithm.

As a moderator in an SEO forum since around 2004, I agree not to ask why a website is not ranking. Information that is specific to the Google algorithm is requested here.

These types of questions need to be suppressed as the answers are specific to a website. If you keep answering these questions, the community becomes a long line of people asking for free site audits. This is not helpful for everyone but this one person.

Instead of asking, “Why isn’t my website ranking?” A better approach might be to use your best guesses about what may be wrong, and then come up with a question that is general enough to be helpful to many people.

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

In the first paragraph of the Google Starter Guide to Search Engine Optimization:

“This guide doesn’t contain any secrets that will automatically put your website first in Google (sorry!). Hopefully, if you follow the best practices outlined below, search engines will find it easier to crawl, index, and understand your content.”

The SEO and publisher community defines SEO in the context of a better website ranking.

Google says not to ask these ranking-related questions:

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

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Google recommends asking questions about crawling and detection:

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

Comparing the questions Google wants to advise against with those they want to promote shows a difference between the publisher community’s definition of SEO and Google’s definition of SEO.

Google Hangouts are helpful

Despite Google’s different approaches to SEO, Miller is a good sport for answering tough SEO questions about why the Hangouts are worth watching.

The first paragraph on the developer’s office hours page encourages publishers to ask questions about Google Search and their website. This is the right approach:

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

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The rest of Google’s new Hangout page has links that will be helpful in understanding how to get involved.

It can also help if Google considers scheduling at least some of these hangouts at times that are more convenient for publishers in the US and Europe.

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How to participate in the opening hours of the Google Search headquarters

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