Our chance to ask Google

Imagine if you could get some of the most relevant Google experts on the same stage, at the same time, and ask them any question you’d like around the topic of web standards… What would you ask?

Funnily enough, I will be moderating a panel at this years Search Summit where we will have our change to put a range of questions to the likes of:

  • Adam Lasnik, Google Web-Spam Team (GooglePlex) Webspam & Search Quality Expert
  • Maile Ohye, Google Webmaster Central (Kirkland Plex) – XML Site Maps Guru
  • Dan Crow, Google Webmaster Central (NY Plex) Head of Crawl Systems & Google’s Web 2.0 expert on search bots
  • Peeyush Ranjan, Google Webmaster Central (Kirkland Plex) Search Quality,CSS Guru

Here are some questions that Scott Gledhill and I’d like to ask:

CSS and hiding

  1. Does Google read CSS files? More importantly, do they check for CSS properties that can be used to hide content such as “display: none”?
  2. Are sites punished by Google for hiding content using CSS?
  3. What about methods of hiding that are used to aid accessibility such as structural labels (descriptive headings that are useful for blind users but not for sighted), image replacement methods (images used to replace html content), drop-down menu navigation and tabbed components that display content in a smaller space more efficiently.
  4. Are particular method of CSS hiding preferred from Google’s perspective?
  5. If Google ever condones *correct* usage of hiding, is there still a possibility that the spiders will accidentally penalise me for hiding text if done in the correct context?

Valid code

  1. Does Google pay any attention to valid code
  2. Are sites given higher ranking if they use valid code.
  3. Will Google ever actively reward (give a higher ranking) for accessibility?

Semantic structure

  1. Are sites with good semantic structure (correct heading levels, paragraphs, lists etc) given better Google ranking than sites with poor semantic structure?
  2. Does Google make decisions based on specific markup – such as <i> vs <em> and <b> vs <strong>?
  3. Does Google look at heading level hierarchy (are heading levels present, are heading levels skipped, too many headings etc) and take this into account?
  4. Do lists such as definition lists make a difference to the way content is indexed and ranked?

Industry Influence

  1. Does Google ever feel a moral obligation to push accessibility and web standards (by improving rankings), seeing they influence the market on such a global scale?

So… what would you like to ask?

Tags: google, , seo