Last Friday, I attended a live chat session with the webmaster team at Google and it was a good learning experience. They had a Q&A session where you could type in doubts and within minutes, a member of the Google webmaster group would respond.
In case you missed that event, here’s a summary of the important points discussed in the Q&A - there was no option to record the audio or the slides. Here is Part I, you can read Part II here which is about web design, duplicate content and re-inclusion requests.
Google Spam Reports
1. If you find that splogs (websites that republish others content without attribution) are ranking above the webpage that owns the original content, file a spam report with Google.
2. While Google allows you to send anonymous spam reports, you should always send the spam report while you are logged into the Google Webmaster Tools account as these reports are treated with higher priority.
3. Google will take all spam reports into account, but may not take immediate manual action on all of them.
Google Image Search
1. You may use both the ALT and TITLE attribute for IMAGE tags. The TITLE tag is shown as a tool tip in Firefox, but the ALT text is more of a replacement for the image - they’re two different things, which can be used at the same time.
2. Google does take the quality (resolutions/pixels) of an image into consideration while rankings images.
3. The information surrounding the image (like the paragraph text and headings) will help your images rank better in Google Image search.
Google Web Search
1. You can use either underscores or dashes (hyphen symbol) to separate keywords in URLs. Google can interpret both the separators.
2. Google can itself read distinguishing words in a URL even if you do not separate works with punctuation symbols like the hyphens or underscores. (so they know that a page blackcatdog.html is related to “black cats and dogs”)
3. Though you can create URLs of virtually any length, some browsers do have such a limit (Internet Explorer supports URLs upto 2083 characters long).
Google therefore recommends not exceeding that limit in order to ensure that people are able to visit your pages using all major browsers.
Want more ? Head over to Webmaster Chat - Part II.