Google’s John Mueller offered advice about the use of Google Sites for SEO, downplaying the usefulness of Google Sites for SEO.
Google Sites is a website creation service offered at sites.google.com/new with a signed-in Google account.
The site is hosted website builder that’s free and published under a sites.google.com domain although one can opt to use an actual domain name.
Google Sites Pages Not Being Indexed
The person asking the question was concerned because their Google Sites webpages were not getting indexed by Google.
This is the question that was asked and that John Mueller read out loud:
“There was a question submitted in French, which basically asks why the pages of my Google Sites website aren’t being indexed properly.”
Google Sites Pages Can Be Indexed By Google
Google’s John Mueller first confirmed that URLs on Google Sites can be indexed.
“It’s great to get questions in other languages.
Taking a step back, websites created on Google Sites can and do get indexed in Google Search.
However, the URLs used in Google Sites are a bit hard to track since the public version can be different from the URL you see when logged in.”
Google Sites Not Ideal For SEO
Mueller continued his answer by downplaying the SEO qualities of Google Sites.
“To be blunt, while it’s technically indexable, it’s not ideal for SEO purposes, and can be complex for tracking in Search Console.
If SEO is your primary consideration, it might be worthwhile to explore other options and check the pros and cons before committing.”
Mueller next advised using an actual domain name and listed the reasons why that was preferable over the default sites.google.com domain.
“For performance tracking in Search Console, you could also use your own domain name for the Google Sites content.
Using your own domain name makes it easier to migrate, should you choose to do so, and allows you to verify ownership of the whole domain for Search Console.”
Google Sites Are Popular With Spammers
The Google Sites service is popular with link spammers who create links on Google subdomains in a tactic called “Google Stacking.”
The idea behind Google Stacking is that spammers create a page of links on Google Sheets, Google Docs, etc. and then interlink them all from a Google Sites.
Google Stacking is a based on the mistaken belief that there’s “authority” and “trust” in Google subdomains that is transferred over to the spammer sites through links.
Of course, that’s wishful thinking.
There’s no such thing used by Google called “trust” or “authority” that gets transferred from one site to another through links.
In another Office Hours session, John Mueller explained what the deal is about trust:
“I don’t think we have like a trust factor that we can look at and say, oh trust is at (I don’t know) nine of out of twelve or whatever number you would have there.
…There are no metrics specifically for that.”
It doesn’t matter if the links are on Google Docs, there is no “trust” factor that gets transferred, it simply does not exist.
Given how popular the “stacking” practice is, it’s a bit ironic that a Googler publicly says that Google Sites are “not ideal for SEO purposes” and recommends looking elsewhere if SEO is a concern.
Watch the Google Office Hours segment at the 3:17 minute mark: