Google Automated Action Viewer May One Day Come To Webmaster Tools

Nov 5, 2014 - 8:36 am 11 by

Google Webmaster ToolsSince Google gave us the manual action viewer within Webmaster Tools, a tool to see what manual penalties you have on your site, we've been asking for an automated action viewer. An Automated Action Viewer will tell you what penalties you've been suffering bad from and maybe give you actionable advice on how to make your site better.

Webmasters can be chasing their tails when hit by a Panda, Penguin or other sort of algorithmic penalty (Google doesn't call algorithms penalties). And it is clear, Google knows which algorithms impact your site more than others. So we want them to bubble up some of that information to webmasters in Google Webmaster Tools.

John Mueller at Google said he is a fan of the idea and they discuss it internally but only under certain conditions. The tool would likely not tell you which algorithm you are impacted but rather give you actionable advice on what changes to make to your site, which would in effect have a positive impact on your site.

The question was asked by Don at 38 minutes and 36 seconds into the video and John spent a nice amount of time answering it. Here is the video and then the transcript of John's answer:

Yes. We've put lots of thought into that. We hear that every couple of Hangouts as well. It's tricky, primarily because these algorithms were written for our search results and not meant as something one-to-one actionable for webmasters. So it's not the case that any of our algorithms will trigger and say, oh, you need to shorten the titles on your pages or you need to kind of improve the overall quality on this and this and this page. So that's something where the algorithms are trying to figure out how specifically we should be kind of treating these pages in the search results, and that doesn't necessarily translate one-to-one back into something that the webmaster could be doing differently.

I think it might make sense at some point to find something that does something similar to what these algorithms are doing and bubble that up to the webmaster and say, hey, our Webmaster Tools quality check has recognized that these and these and these types of pages are generally lower quality. Maybe that's something you want to look at. But I don't think it would make sense to take the search ranking algorithms and kind of bubble that information up directly in Webmaster Tools just because it has a very different goal.

But I do bring this up with the Webmaster Tools and the engineering team every now and then to make sure that we don't lose track of that because I think sometimes, some of the information from these algorithms could be really useful to webmasters.

And I know there are a lot of you out there who are trying to make awesome websites, and if we can help guide you in the right way, then I think we should be trying to do that.

We have a lot of algorithms and some of those are fairly strong. So when we try to determine the relevance of a site, it's something where we take a lot of stuff into account. So I'm kind of wary of just saying, well, just like the black and white animals, those are the ones that we're going to be showing in Webmaster Tools. I think kind of focusing on the algorithms is also sometimes the wrong thing to do because you're focusing on the current kind of elements for those algorithms rather than focusing on what you could be doing for the website overall that will be relevant for the long run.

But these are definitely things that we're always looking into and thinking about how much we could put more of this into Webmaster Tools, how much we have the technical details covered in Webmaster Tools, and say, well, technically, Webmaster Tools covers everything you need. Now we need to focus on kind of the softer factors. They're always long discussions.

I mean, if there's something we can bubble up in Webmaster Tools there, I think I'd definitely be for that. But we really need to make sure that we're bubbling up something that's really actionable for you guys, not something where you see, oh, well, our algorithms think your site is kind of mediocre. And that doesn't really help you. Like, what should you be focusing on? What should you be doing? Is it something spammy on your site? The spammy comments, perhaps, that people left? Or is there something technically that's kind of wrong, or is there something with the links to your site? Kind of having more information about the actual problems, think, will be useful.

But all of this is probably fairly far off. It's definitely not something where you'll see this showing up in Webmaster Tools the next week or so. But we do try to bring these things into the discussions with the Webmaster Tools team and with the engineering teams to try to see how much of the information that we create about a website can be shown to the webmaster to help guide them in the right way.

This would be awesome but like John said, not coming any time soon.

Forum discussion at Google+.


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