John Mueller from Google has shed light on a topic that has intrigued many: the relationship between Google Sites and search engine optimisation (SEO). Contrary to some expectations, Mueller advised that Google Sites aren’t the best choice for those focused on SEO.
What Are Google Sites?
Google Sites is a free website-building service accessible at sites.google.com/new to anyone with a Google account. Websites can be published under a default sites.google.com domain, but there’s an option to use a custom domain name. They are also offered as part of a Google Places profile if your business does not have a website.
Concerns Over Indexing on Google Sites
A user had asked about the indexing of their Google Sites web pages, prompting Mueller’s response.
Asked initially in French, the question asks:
“Why aren’t the pages of my Google Sites website being indexed properly?“
Google Sites Are Indexable, But Not Ideal
Mueller confirmed that Google does index URLs from Google Sites.
He noted, “Websites built on Google Sites can appear in Google Search. However, the URLs can be somewhat tricky to monitor, as the public version could differ from what you see when logged into your account.“
SEO Limitations of Google Sites
Following his initial comments, Mueller cautioned against relying on Google Sites for SEO-intensive projects.
“To put it simply, while Google Sites can be indexed, they’re not the best fit for SEO objectives. The setup can also be cumbersome regarding monitoring via Google’s Search Console. If SEO is a major concern for you, it might be wise to assess other options thoroughly.“
Custom Domain Name Advantages
Mueller also recommended using a custom domain name instead of the default Google Sites domain.
“Using your domain not only facilitates migration later on but also simplifies the domain verification process in Google’s Search Console,” he explained.
Google Sites and the “Stacking” Myth
Interestingly, Google Sites are commonly used by link spammers in a strategy known as “Google Stacking,” which involves creating a web of interconnected links across Google’s subdomains like Google Sheets and Google Docs. This tactic operates on the false assumption that Google’s subdomains confer some “trust” or “authority” that can be transferred to spammer sites.
Mueller debunked this notion in another session, stating,
“There is no ‘trust’ metric that Google uses, which could be quantified and passed from one site to another via links.“
Given this “stacking” practice’s prevalence, it’s ironic that Mueller has publicly recommended against using Google Sites for SEO-focused projects.
Note: While John Mueller often makes statements like this, link building has been proven to be effective and increase traffic when incorporated into SEO strategies However, link building as mentioned above is not how it should be done.
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