Tuesday, February 02, 2010 at 4:25 PMWebmaster Level: All
Thanks to all of you who took our webmaster quiz and waited patiently to see how well you did! Today, we're pleased to present the Webmaster Quiz answers! We hope this quiz has provided some clarity on common issues users ask about in the Webmaster Help Forum. We'll go over a few of the questions and answers here, but if some of the answers lead you to ask more questions, we encourage you to continue the discussion in the forum!
1) You have moved your site to a new domain name. For users and search engines, the preferred way to permanently redirect traffic is:
Correct answer: a) 301 redirect
Explanation: A 301 redirect is preferred because it tells search engines, "Ok, this is the new domain I want you to show to users from now on," as opposed to something like a 302 redirect, which tells search engines, "Hey, this is only a temporary redirect--so, uh, I might change the URL soon, okay?" In addition to implementing a 301 redirect, the Change of Address feature in Webmaster Tools can help Google find your new site.
2) Your server is going to be moved and unavailable for a day. What should you do?
Correct answer: c) Return "Network Unavailable (503)" with a helpful message to all requests
Explanation: Maybe not as commonly known to webmasters, but very useful if your site is down! This tells crawlers to come back later, rather than crawling and indexing your "Down for maintenance" pages when you respond with 200 rather than 503. Check out the Help Center to learn more about HTTP status codes.
3) Your website is not in the index five days after you've put it online; what should you do?
Correct answer: b) Continue working on the site
Explanation: This one is a bit tricky. There could be a number of reasons why your site is not indexed. For example, a site's robots.txt file may contain a directive to inadvertently block crawlers from searching its contents. But the main take-away from this question is that if your site is pretty new, it may just be a matter of time before it gets indexed. You should continue to focus on improving your site for your users.
6) You need to remove 192 PDF files from the /private-files/ folder which have gotten indexed. What's the fastest way to do this?
Correct answer: d) Disallow the folder in robots.txt and request removal of the whole folder in Webmaster Tools.
Explanation: Before removing a directory that you don't want indexed, you need to include the Disallow directive in your robots.txt file to tell search bots not to crawl it anymore.
9) You have a country-coded domain name called example.es. To associate your site with Spain, you need to:
Correct answer: c) None of this is necessary. Google should already associate a domain ending in .es with Spain.
Explanation: Some country-coded domains may overlap with international ones, like .tv--which could also be a site from Tuvalu. But these sort of cases are rare and if they do arise, don't be shy to seek out help on the forum.
Great job to everyone who took the quiz and tested their know-how! And last but certainly not least, kudos to the top scorers! Congratulations on a quiz well done!
- Ian Macfarlane
- Kim Minh Kaplan
- Erik Dafforn
- Todd Nemet