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Sadly I missed the first ever Google Webmaster Central Live Chat (transcript). At 5am on Saturday morning NZT after I had just got home from a school camp…
However, there is a good transcript of the 1 hour session on searchnewz as linked above.
So was there anything new in the chat. For me one of the biggest take homes was about the reinclusion requests, and people’s preoccupation with them. There seem to be a good number of websites that are being effected.
If something is absolutely wrong, fix your side of the problem and do a reinclusion request. And you can also talk about the issue publically on Google Webmaster Central, and you might get lucky and get some advice there.
Most of the other items in the question and answer session were pretty old hat, and some answers verging on wrong.
Webmaster: If we have two websites one .ca and one .com, how would Google.com or Google.ca handle these?
Google Expert: Google can use that information to determine which one would be most relevant to the users (especially those in Canada who use “sites in this country” as a search setting).
That is two websites with the same content - Google caches some pages of one, and a number of pages of the other seemingly randomly. Google does not determine which is the best one for users based on their country. If that were so, there would have been no need for the country preferences in Webmaster Tools.
Webmaster: How does Google deal with syndicated articles or duplicated content. How do the original content providers get the original value?
Google Expert: If content is syndicated, you might want to make sure that you have a link back to your site (if your site is the original).
This whole area is very problematic. I was hopeful of seeing more specific answers to this question. When people create copies of page content, both sets of content are not showing up on Google very well. The original content is often dropped from Google, and when the content is changed to make it unique, the rankings re-appear.
Interesting that it is taking 2-3 months for video sitemaps to get approved and shown on search results.