Last year on Christmas Day, Barry reported over at Search Engine Roundtable how Adam Lasnik and I spent a bit of time answering questions on the Google Webmaster Central forums. This year, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller keeps up the tradition.
In the spirit of the season, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the webmaster forums offered by the various search engines: a Christmas gift of search engine support.
Google The Google Webmaster Central forums began as a Sitemaps-specific discussion area (originally launched in June 2005 in English and German), and in August 2006 it was expanded as part of the launch of Webmaster Central to contain five topic areas about all things webmaster. Groups now exist in 22 languages, at least 12 of which are monitored by Googlers.
How’s the current level of participation? A quick glance shows John Mueller posting yesterday as well as today, and several Googlers posting within the last week. Webmasters are discussing all kinds of topics — from questions about Webmaster Tools specifically, to general ranking issues, to technical web site topics.
Yahoo! Yahoo! actively monitors their Site Explorer Suggestion Board and provides a response or status for many threads. The current board has 10 months of active topics and has a Digg-like rating system. This system replaced the previous forum, which has posts dating back to August of 2006.
A quick check of the topics shows that Yahoo! employees have been posting over the last week and topics tend to focus on Site Explorer and indexing issues.
A quick check of the discussions shows that the Live Search team has been posting in the last week and the questions are (you guessed it) primarily about the Live Search Webmaster Tools and indexing/ranking issues.
All three have active blogs as well, where team members report the latest news, answer questions, and provide details about the issues webmasters are talking about.
- Google Webmaster Central Blog
- Yahoo! Search Blog (Site Explorer category)
- Live Search Webmaster Center Blog
All this activity is great news for webmasters. All three major search engines are actively monitoring discussion forums just for site owners, and all have multiple people not only taking note of issues, but personally answering questions (and offering homemade eggnog).
No word on whether you have to bring your own rum.