Is There a Difference With Mobile and Desktop Site Indexing?

In a Reddit thread from August 2018, a user was discussing the way in which their mobile and desktop versions of their site are indexed.

Google’s John Mueller then responded to discuss how mobile first indexing will apply with regards to the indexing of their site:

With mobile first indexing, Google will use the mobile version for all indexing of the site, not just for the mobile search results. So if your mobile version doesn’t have all the content (images, videos, links, structured data, hreflang, etc) that your desktop version has, then that could have a negative effect across the board. Using a responsive design pretty much makes this a non-issue, since the mobile version = desktop version.

mobile and desktop indexing

This is something site owners should be conscious of, however, as John said sites with a responsive design don’t really have to worry about this as a concern.

Does Having More Pages on Your Site, Help to Rank Higher?

In a Reddit thread from November 2018, it was suggested by one user that having more pages on your site could help a site to rank higher, with their theory that an increase in page count helps with SEO.

Whilst there was the acknowledgement by others in the discussion that having more unique content on more pages on sites, could in fact help to rank for additional keywords.

However with regards to the question of Google perhaps favouring sites with more pages, Google’s John Mueller confirmed this was not the case:

A higher page count means nothing (otherwise everyone would have an infinite calendar on their site, or heck, two.) There’s (still) no magical ranking factor that results in a site ranking better if it has more pages indexed. If anything, anecdotally from conference presentations & talking with folks, large sites that reduce the number of indexed pages end up ranking better (usually from cutting out cruft, merging similar content, etc). Of course, if you have more things to say about the niche that you’re active in, by all means create more great content for it, but if you’re thinking about just splitting your existing content out across more URLs, that’s unlikely to be a good strategy for search.

page count is not a ranking factor

There’s nothing new or innovative within this comment from John, though it is still good to see that clarification.

Do ASPX Files Impact SEO?

A Reddit discussion from September 2018, asked if .aspx impacts SEO.

In the words of, .aspx is: “A file with the ASPX file extension is an Active Server Page Extended file that’s designed for Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework. They’re also called .NET Web forms.”

Whilst the response to this question from Google’s John Mueller was brief, it is conclusive:


.aspx files do not affect SEO

This provides the confirmation if ever it was needed, that ASPX files don’t have an impact on SEO.

Should You Have Separate Meta Tags on Mobile and Desktop Versions of a Site?

A question was posed in a Reddit discussion that Google’s John Mueller has provided clarity on.

Part of the question noted “some of the mobile pages on my site have a noindex tag on them, but the desktop version has an index one.”

In response John confirmed that the tags on both the mobile and desktop versions of a site should be the same:

This is going to bite you with mobile first indexing — make sure the mobile & desktop pages are equivalent, if you want them to be shown in search.

same tags mobile and desktop URLs

It would appear that John was aiming that advise towards tags and pages in general, rather than just meta tags.

Does Having 404 Pages Negatively Affect a Websites Search Results?

In a Reddit discussion from September 2018, Google’s John Mueller corrected a statement from another user that “404 is very bad for SEO. It will also affect your google search ranking so always fix 404 error”.

In response John said:

That’s incorrect – 404’s are fine (as long as you’re not trying to rank with the URLs that now return 404).

404 pages do not hurt SEO

This backs up the point previously made by John, when he said:

Crawl errors for 404s that you don’t want to have indexed don’t negatively effect the rest of your site in search.

Whilst there is stated to be negative impact from an SEO perspective, sites may wish to resolve issues with 404 pages in order to protect their user experience.

Should Any Monetary Links Be Nofollow?

Google’s John Mueller has confirmed on Twitter, that any links on your site which are in place due to any ‘monetary’ reason, should include a nofollow attribute.

Yep, nofollow is good for any link that’s there because of monetary reasons.

On this occasion, the monetary reason for John recommending is in the form of affiliate links:

monetary links should be nofollow

Other potential monetary links which would fit into this advice could be in the form of advertising, or sponsored links, etc.

This clarification from John is not new information, but it could be important for websites to note.

Can You Rent Out a Subdomain or Subfolder?

In August 2019 Google has taken the opportunity to clarify it’s stance on the use of renting domains.

Whilst confirming this is not currently against the Google guidelines, the action of allowing a third-party to host content on subdomains or subfolders on another site’s domain is something Google are recommending websites distance themselves from:

We’ve been asked if third-parties can host content in subdomains or subfolders of another’s domain. It’s not against our guidelines. But as the practice has grown, our systems are being improved to better know when such content is independent of the main site & treat accordingly.
Overall, we’d recommend against letting others use subdomains or subfolders with content presented as if it is part of the main site, without close supervision or the involvement of the primary site.
Our guidance is if you want the best success with Search, provide value-added content from your own efforts that reflect your own brand.

do not rent out subdomains

This statement would suggest that this is becoming an issue in the eyes of Google, so something that site owners should be very aware of.

Should You Have a Separate URL for Mobile Version of a Site?

Google’s John Mueller has commented that it may not be ideal to have a separate ‘m.’ mobile URL version of a website.

As part of a further Reddit discussion into tags on various URL versions, John commented the following after the original post discussed having three separate URL versions:

Separate mobile URLs makes everything much harder than it needs to be

To put this into further context you can see this full discussion from March 2019 by clicking here.

mobile URL structure

As many sites have a structure for mobile versions of the website, this advice could prove valuable in terms of best practise.

Does Search Console Show All of the Backlinks to a Site?

Some people use third party tools to monitor backlinks coming into your site, however many sites rely exclusively on Google Search Console to review these links.

It is therefore important to know that Search Console does not display the entirety of backlinks coming to your site, as confirmed by Google’s John Mueller in April 2019.

In response to this query on Reddit: “Just wondering/thinking – I have a couple of links to my personal blog from DA 90+ websites. The webpages are indexed, but search console doesn’t pick them up.”

John Replied to confirm that although the links may be known to Google, they may not appear in Search Console:

Search Console shows a relevant sample of the known links, so they might be known to Google regardless.

John then clarified why that may be, but also noted why there may be an exception to that:

In general, if our systems don’t even show them there, then they’re pretty irrelevant overall. The exception that I can think of is if we show you a bunch of paid links that you obviously had added, and the webspam team takes a look at the situation, then they may encourage you to clean up all of the obvious paid links, including those not explicitly listed in Search Console.

Search Console doesn't display all backlinks

This clarity that not all backlinks will necessarily be displayed, is useful for those looking to review the links coming to their site.

When Will Google Start to Crawl a Website?

A discussion in r/SEO led to some very useful feedback from Google’s John Mueller.

The thread began with a query on indexing of a website and this was John’s response:

… Google will start to crawl your site when there’s a link somewhere which is recognized, or when you’ve submitted it for indexing. In general, after that, if Google sees that your site is awesome (for some value of that at least), then it’ll continue to crawl & index regularly, and try to pick up more and more pages from your site. There’s a lot that factors into how often & how much of a site is crawled, but a lot of that maps back to trying to figure out “awesomeness”. More crawling doesn’t mean things (like rankings) are better – that’s a common misconception – it just means Google is able to see changes a little bit faster.

indexing a site in Google

This response from John provides an overview of factors affecting how often a website is crawled.