I had a chance to watch the recent Google Webmaster Hangout on Air by Google’s Webmaster Trend Analyst John Mueller and I noticed that he’s been trying to avoid answering questions related to any possible algorithm updates that the search giant might have already rolled out in the past few weeks.

This is actually understandable given the fact on how a lot of search practitioners tend to use their knowledge about Google’s search algorithm in deceiving the system.  These days though, it only takes a matter of time before big search engines catch up with these manipulations, and culprit websites are heavily penalized.

Google Penguin and Panda Roll Outs

Among the highly repeated question throughout the Q&A hangout facilitated by John has to do with the possibility that Google might have already rolled out its famous algorithm updates that are expected to hit early this year.

Google Panda for example is now officially a part of Google’s core algorithm and not just a mere filter run by the search giant every time they did some upgrades.  John mentioned though that Panda primarily looks at the quality of the content and they look at specific signals to determine this.

The anticipated Penguin 4.0 roll out last January though is still a mystery to many. Even John never uttered a single word about it and just keep on saying that he can’t release a statement yet about it.

Other ranking factors are also mentioned, but John opted not to discuss them any further.

The Launching of AMP Pages this Month

Another topic that was repeatedly mentioned all throughout the hangout session is about Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project or commonly known as AMP Pages. Last year, the search giant announced that AMP Pages will be integrated into its search engine by this month – February 2016.

Some webmasters during the hangout session were concerned about the additional details they need to know so that their webpages are AMP ready.  Mueller said that there’s no need to modify their CMS and their RSS feeds are sufficient so that their websites will appear in the SERPs.  He also emphasized that AMP Pages are more likely to affect news websites (for now) displayed in the SERPs using mobile devices.

Here’s the official statement from Google regarding the AMP Pages project.

“The AMP Project is working to make the mobile web experience better for everyone, and it is thrilling to be part of this industry-wide effort to reshape how content is consumed online.  In the coming weeks, look out for updates on new technology partners, new platforms, and new publishers, as well as the specific launch plans of supporting platforms.”

Webmasters are encouraged by Google to create their very first AMP page here.

Mueller added that having lots of AMP Pages is not a guarantee or the basis for high rankings yet.

The Importance of Valid AMP Pages

Mueller also emphasized during the hangout the need for an error-free AMP Pages.  He said that technically, if there are no invalid errors, then it’s a good AMP Page.  Google requires this page to be valid and looks at the valid implementation of its structure and data markup so that they can crawl and index it.

At the moment, Mueller said that Google Analytics treats AMP Pages similarly to ordinary web pages, but the team behind GA themselves announced that they will specifically support AMP Pages soon.

How Google Indexes Single Page App?

Another hot topic during the hangout session is about Single Page App optimization.  Mueller said that webmasters should create a unique URL every time they use it so that Google can recognize it.  He further discussed that an anchor is needed as a unique identifier for each piece of content.  Google Search technology has already evolved to the point that it can easily crawl JavaScript and Ajax based content.

Despite the fact that Google encourages webmasters to try out Single Page App, Mueller is straightforward in saying that there are also factors that make it hard to index this kind of technology.

Infinite Scroll, Google Analytics, and a Lot More

Aside from the search algorithm, AMP Pages, and Single Page App technology topics, John Mueller and the rest of the webmasters also discussed a lot more interesting SEO topics such as Infinite Scroll, the latest in Google Analytics, the prospect of Google offering site audit for webmasters, how webmasters can outrank their rivals, recovery tips after getting manual penalties and a lot more.

Check the rest of the Hangout on Air video here.