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Google’s John Mueller on Structured Data, Speed, Disavows, Legacy Penalties & Much More [PODCAST]

Google's John Mueller also talks about technical SEO, content, communicating with SEOs, and why people should feel free to ask "dumb" questions.

Google's John Mueller interview on the Search Engine Journal Show

“Not that there are no myths out there, but I think a lot of these things, they stick around for a reason and it’s important that people feel free to ask something that might be a dumb question. And if you never ask a dumb question, then you never learn what the actual answer is, so it’s not that I want people to stop asking this kind of question, it’s important that they ask things that are confusing to them.

And even if that’s something that we hear repeatedly that is a myth or that’s based on an assumption that’s just not true, I think it’s important that people feel the freedom to be able to ask all of these things.”

Got a question about BERT, E-A-T, schema, or anything Google search-related?

John Mueller might’ve already answered it for you on either Twitter, Reddit, a Google Webmaster Hangout or his #AskGoogleWebmasters video series.

John has been doing a great job of connecting webmasters and SEO professionals to the engineers within Google, always trying to improve things for search.

While he’s probably been asked more SEO questions than anyone else, John doesn’t seem to get tired of answering them. Instead, he encourages people to keep asking questions.

He’s incredibly giving of his time and knowledge to help people solve their website and SEO issues – and he deserves to be known more for his significant contributions to the search industry.

For today’s edition of The Search Engine Journal Show, I interviewed John Mueller about his career, structured data, the importance of speed, disavowing links, dealing with legacy penalties, and so much more.

About John Mueller

John Mueller is the Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google. He’s been working at Google since September of 2007.

Before joining Google, he owned a software company in Switzerland for more than 12 years.

At the time, he created a site maps generator (shortly after sitemaps were introduced). He then started being active in the original help forums from Google trying to figure out how search engines work.

And although it was hard for him to let go of the company he built, he decided to take a risk and seize the opportunity to work at Google.

Listen to this episode and learn more about Mueller’s thoughts on communicating with SEOs, how machine learning will impact search in the coming years, a different approach in solving SEO problems, and more.

Show Notes

  • John talks about his career before joining Google and what eventually led him to join the search engine. [00:47]
  • What does being a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst entail? [4:40]
  • Interacting with smart people who are actively trying to improve things significantly is what motivates John to work at Google. [5:51]
  • There’s no such thing as a typical day for John at Google. [6:56]
  • Communicating with SEOs actively on Twitter is something he does voluntarily. [8:51]
  • On his favorite Google projects and proud moments. [10:07]
  • John started doing Webmaster Hangouts when Hangouts became available on Google+.  [11:42]
  • The SEO community has been surprisingly friendly. Dealing with personal attacks prompted by people mad at Google hasn’t really been a problem for John. [13:24]
  • John thinks that some companies nowadays are “just not bringing the information that people are looking for to their website.” [16:14]
  • What should people focus on if they want to increase their visibility in Google Search over the coming year? [19:17]
  • On the Speed Report in Google Search Console. [21:51]
  • John shares his thoughts on how machine learning can impact search over the next couple of years: “There’s a lot of websites out there that [are not] that well-structured and that’s something where I could expect the kind of machine learning to help a little bit in that if we don’t know what a page is about and we just have this big chunk of text, how can we better understand which entities are on this page?” [22:47]
  • The best piece of advice that’s been given to John. [26:23]
  • While he’s still not sure how it will play out, John finds Google Assistant really fascinating. [30:13]
  • If you don’t have a manual action, is there any reason to disavow links? [31:05]
  • Will Google do something about autoplay videos? Hear John’s take on the topic. [33:17]
  • How does John see the future of search in 10 years’ time? [35:08]
  • The things you should aim for if you want to optimize for a Twitter answer from John. [37:02]
  • Why the banana emoji in his Twitter name? [41:21]
  • His recommendations on how to deal with legacy domain penalty issues. [42:20]
  • John talks about whether ranking too well for a non-relevant topic can jeopardize the original rankings for a site? [46:18]
  • What’s next for John Mueller? [49:37]

Links from the Episode

How to connect with John Mueller:

Twitter | Reddit

People Mentioned

To listen to this Search Engine Show Podcast with John Mueller:

Visit our podcast archive to listen to other Search Engine Journal Show podcasts!

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

Category Careers SEJ Show
Danny Goodwin Former Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal

Danny Goodwin is the former Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal. He formerly was managing editor of Momentology and editor ...

Google’s John Mueller on Structured Data, Speed, Disavows, Legacy Penalties & Much More [PODCAST]

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