Aug 29 2013

Google Wants You To Tell It What Specific ‘Small’ Sites Should Be Ranking Better. And…Go.

Assuming that Matt Cutts’ Twitter account wasn’t hijacked, Google wants you to tell it if you know of any small sites that should be doing better in Google rankings. If you’ve ever thought Google is giving too much weight to big brands, I guess this is your chance to weigh in on the better alternatives, wait, and see if your suggestion did any good. If there's a small website that you think should be doing better in Google, tell us more here: — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) August 28, 2013 Cutts points to a form, which says, ‘Google would like to hear feedback about small but high-quality websites that could do better in our search results. To be clear, we’re just collecting feedback at this point; for example, don’t expect this survey to affect any site’s ranking.” Emphasis added. You simply enter the site, and then in a box, explain to Google what makes it better. And….go! Reactions, unsurprisingly, are a bit skeptical: Laughable RT @mattcutts : If there's a small website you think should be doing better in Google, tell us more here: — Ben Cook (@Skitzzo) August 28, 2013 @mattcutts *sigh* well, at least it looks like you care, Matt. — John Scott Cothill ☭ (@omfg_followme) August 28, 2013 @Skitzzo @mattcutts Should have a disclaimer, "if we happen to dislike the site, we'll slap the shit out of it". — Jacob King (@IMJacobKing) August 28, 2013 . @mattcutts $40Billion and how many PHD's? And you still want us to do your job for you — Chris Dyson (@ChrisLDyson) August 28, 2013 @mattcutts can't wait to see the @fiverr offering to submit your website 200 times from different IPs — Menachem Pritzker (@mdavep) August 28, 2013 @mattcutts just secured his job for another 10 yrs with the "which small site should rank higher" form. Have fun sorting through all that — Nico de Nooijer (@nicodenooijer) August 28, 2013 I really don't know what to make of this small website survey from @mattcutts : Who do Google expect to fill it in? — John Swindells (@swinny) August 28, 2013 My guess is that a lot of people will be giving votes for their own sites, and few will be submitting others’. Maybe I’m wrong.

Aug 28 2013

Why Google Can’t Answer All Of Your Questions About Your Site

In a new Google Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts talks about why Google can’t answer all of your questions. He responds to the following question: When will there be official Google support for webmaster questions? I only ever receive automated responses after submitting reconsideration requests despite going to length to write in detail with regards to my issues and what I have done. “The problem is fundamentally a scale issue,” Cutts explains. “There’s 250 million domain names. I think the most recent data that we’ve provided says that we took action on 400,000 sites to the degree that we sent them a manual message in January of 2013. And we get about 5,000 reconsideration reports each week, so about 20,000 a month. And the problem is, our primary goal has to be returning the highest quality set of search results, so that’s what we really need to work on. And then our secondary goal is to talk to webmasters about actions that we’ve taken on sites. So the problem primarily is that there’s so many webmasters on the web, and our index is really big, and we get over two billion queries a day, so we don’t really have a great way to talk one on one with individual webmasters.” “So we try to come up with scalable ways like webmaster videos like these that can get several thousand views, but it is really tricky to have a conversation – especially a prolonged, detailed conversation – about a particular site,” he continues. “We’ll keep looking for new ways to do better. We’ll keep looking for new ways to communicate scalably, but that’s the fundamental dilemma. That’s the issue that we face. And so the reconsideration request process, for example, you’ll typically get back, ‘Yes, you’re doing okay,’ or ‘No, you still have work to do,’ or in some cases, we process your request, which might mean, ‘Hey, you had multiple issues, and maybe one is now resolved, but there’s still more issues that need to be resolved.” This seems like an example of where a one-on-one conversation would be of tremendous help to the webmaster. As we talked about earlier , one webmaster was complaining in the forum that Google warned him about a natural link in a reconsideration request, leaving him wondering what he’s supposed to do with that. But it’s hard to argue with Matt’s point about scalability. Google is huge, but do you really think the search team could thoroughly go through every site’s issues with the webmaster individually?

Aug 27 2013

Viagra At The Top Of Matt Cutts’ Wish List

In July, Yahoo began letting users set up wish lists for user names they’d like to have. As you may know, the company is giving away email addresses and user IDs from inactive accounts to people that actually still use Yahoo. On Monday, the company announced that it has begun notifying users about the names they are getting. They also announced a new “watch list” feature, which lets you pay a couple bucks to be notified of names you’re interested becoming available in the future. Google’s Matt Cutts saw the news, and posted this to Google+: Matt Cutts 1 day ago I hear that Yahoo is giving out recycled usernames starting today. I can't wait to see which of these names I got! 272    46 Powered by socialditto Obviously these names are references to keywords that are frequently targeted by spammers in Google’s search results. If Cutts can get, he can at least prevent someone else from using it (though I’m not sure how much that would really help with spam in Google). I guess he hasn’t found out which (if any) of these he was able to get. He posted it about 24 hours ago, and has yet to update is. Just for the hell of it, I sent an email to, and it bounced. [via Search Engine Roundtable ]

Aug 21 2013

Today On The Matt Cutts Show: Page Speed As A Ranking Factor

In Google’s latest Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts discusses page speed and whether or not it’s a more important factor for mobile than for desktop. The video is a response to the submitted question: Is load speed a more important factor for mobile? Is it really something that can change your rankings, all the things being equal? “Let’s start with the second part of that question: all things being equal,” Cutts begins. “If your site is really, really slow, we’ve said that we do use page speed in our rankings. And so all of the things being equal, yes, a site can rank lower. Now, we tend not to talk about things in terms of like an absolute number of seconds because websites do work differently in different parts of the world, and there’s different bandwidth and speeds in different parts of the world. However, it’s a good way to think about it to say, ‘Okay, look at your neighborhood of websites. Look at the sites that are returned along with you, and then if you’re the outlier. If you’re at the very bottom end because your site is really, really slow, then yes, it might be the case that your site will rank lower because of its page speed.” “Now, what’s interesting is that that factor applies across the board,” he continues. “It’s not specific to mobile…it’s not that in mobile we apply that any more or less than we do for desktop search, but if you’re using your mobile phone, you do care a lot about whether it will load in a reasonable period of time. So we’ll continue to look at ways to improve the ways that we find out how fast a site is, the page speed for a particular page, and then try to figure out whether it makes sense…okay, if we want users to be less frustrated, then maybe it does make sense to incorporate that more into our rankings or more for mobile Something along those lines.” About two years ago, Cutts said page speed affects rankings in about one out of a hundred searches, and that you shouldn’t overly stress about it. It’s unclear how much it matters now compared to then.

Aug 20 2013

Would You Use Google+ More If You Knew It Could Help Your Search Rankings?

Sure, some of you are already using Google+ a lot, and I’m not one to call it a ghost town, but I don’t think many would argue that it doesn’t get the level of use as Facebook. But if you knew for a fact that Google+ could directly help you rank better in Google’s search results, wouldn’t you dedicate more time to it? Would you use Google+ more if you saw direct ranking benefits? Let us know in the comments . It seems like only yesterday that Google was telling us that the +1 button had no direct effect on rankings. Actually, it was in October . “In the short term, we’re still going to have to study and see how good the signal is, so right now, there’s not really a direct effect where if you have a lot of +1s, you’ll rank higher,” Matt Cutts said in a Google Hangout back then. Google has not come out and officially said that +1′s will help you rank higher now, but Moz (formerly SEOmoz) has put out an interesting report suggesting that they will. Each year, they run a scientific correlation study looking at factors that have a strong association with higher Google rankings. This time, it found a very interesting trend. “After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor ,” writes Cyrus Shepard. “In fact, the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.” Searchmetics also recently found significant correlation of +1s and rankings: Shepard notes that Moz found similar correlation with Facebook activity in rankings in a past study, but this was generally dismissed as not being a direct relationship, as that content likely had a lot of overlapping factors (like links and high quality content). He says it’s different this time with Google+, because it’s “built for SEO” in that posts are crawled and indexed “almost immediately,” Google+ posts pass link equity, and Google+ is “optimized for semantic relevance.” Basically, Google+ posts are very similar to blog posts. It doesn’t hurt that Google recently made +1s a lot more visible within Google+ itself, showing +1′d content more (which could lead to even more +1s). But +1s aren’t the only Google+ property that could be helping sites’ search rankings. Search Mojo CEO Janet Driscoll Miller recently made a pretty compelling case that Google authorship is substantially impacting rankings. None of this is officially acknowledge by Google, though in that Hangout above, Cutts did talk up the possibilities of authorship. Google is clearly doing just about all it can to keep from having to point users to third-party properties. This is most evident with its continuous expansion of the Knowledge Graph, but it also means pointing people to Google+ among other properties. As I mentioned in a previous article, Google is already sometimes ranking Google+ URLs for content shared on the social network better than the actual URL of that content. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t seem to be a bad idea to be utilizing Google+ as much as possible if you want to improve your rankings. It certainly can’t hurt. That is unless you find a way to abuse it, then Google will surely find a way to make it hurt. Have you seen any direct relationship between rankings and Google+ activity? Is this a good direction for Google to go in? Let us know in the comments .

Aug 14 2013

Here’s The Matt Cutts Video We’ve All Been Waiting For

Okay, maybe you weren’t waiting for it, but if you’ve watched a lot of Matt Cutts videos (which I assume you have if your’e reading this), it’s kind of funny. The video comes from , and it’s called, “It’s a party in here!” I’m not sure if it tops the classic Cutts video parody in which he discusses “ How to rank #1 in Google ,” but still. For more Matt Cutts-related humor, check out his halloween costumes and his extended dinosaur video . [via Search Engine Roundtable ]

Aug 12 2013

Google: You Should Probably Include Nofollow On Widgets, Infographics

If you’re putting out widgets or infographics, you might want to be including nofollows in the embed code. That is according to Google’s Matt Cutts, who addresses the subject in a new Webmaster Help video. Cutts takes on the following submitted question: What should we do with embeddable codes in things like widgets and infographics? Should we include the rel=”nofollow” by default? Advert the user that the code includes a link and give him the option of not including it? “My answer to this is colored by the fact that we have seen a ton of people trying to abuse widgets and abuse infographics. We’ve seen people who get a web counter, and they don’t realize that there’s mesothelioma links in there,” Cutts says. He notes that he did a previous video about the criteria for widgets. Here’s that: “Does it point back to you or a third party?” he continues. “Is the keyword text sort of keyword rich and something where the anchor text is really rich or is it just the name of your site? That sort of stuff.” “I would not rely on widgets and infographics as your primary way to gather links, and I would recommend putting a nofollow, especially on widgets, because most people when they just copy and paste a segment of code, they don’t realize what all is going with that, and it’s usually not as much of an editorial choice because they might not see the links that are embedded in that widget,” Cutts says. “Depending on the scale of the stuff that you’re doing with infographics, you might consider putting a rel nofollow on infographic links as well,” he adds. “The value of those things might be branding. They might be to drive traffic. They might be to sort of let people know that your site or your service exists, but I wouldn’t expect a link from a widget to necessarily carry the same weight as an editorial link freely given where someone is recommending something and talking about it in a blog post. That sort of thing.” More recent Webmaster Help videos here .

Aug 9 2013

Here’s A New Google Video About Hidden Text And Keyword Stuffing

Okay, one more. Google cranked out seven new Webmaster Help videos feature Matt Cutts (and in some cases, other Googlers) talking about various types of webspam. So far, we’ve looked at three videos about unnatural links, one about thin content, one about user-generated spam and one about pure spam. You can find them all here . Finally, on to hidden text and/or keyword stuffing. This, like much of the content found in the other videos is pretty basic stuff and pretty common SEO knowledge, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable information to some.

Aug 9 2013

If Google Has Accused Your Site Of ‘User-Generated Spam,’ You’ll Want To Watch This Video

Google pumped out a batch of new videos about webspam via its Webmaster Help YouTube channel. You can find others from the series here . We just looked at one about the “pure spam” manual action label . This one is about “user-generated spam”. User-generated spam could include forum spam, spammy user profiles, spammy blog comments, spammy guestbook comments, etc. “The good thing is that normally when you see this kind of message, it normally means that the manual action we’ve taken is pretty precisely scoped,” Cutts says. “If possible, we try to avoid taking action on the whole domain. We might say something like, ‘Okay, don’t trust this forum. Don’t trust this part of the site, and that’s kind of nice because it doesn’t affect the primary part of your site, as long as your site is high quality. It might just affect your forum. So that’s how we try to do it unless we see so many different parts of the site that have been defaced or have been overrun that we end up taking action on the entire site.” The advice if you get this message is basically to clean it up. He suggests looking at new users that have been created, finding the spammy ones and kicking them out of your system. Also, deleting threads that are spammy would be a good idea. You also want to do preventive maintenance like CAPTCHAs and comment moderation. Google is clearly doing more to educate people about its manual actions. The company also just put out a new Webmaster Tools feature that lets users see when they have a manual action against them.

Aug 9 2013

Google’s Cutts Explains The ‘Pure Spam’ Manual Action Label

Google has put out a series of videos discussing various forms of webspam. You can see others from the series here . In this one, Google’s Matt Cutts explains the “Pure Spam” manual action label. This basically includes scraping, cloaking and automated black hat drivel. This kind of spam is the vast majority of the sites Google takes action on, Cutts says. He does talk about the scenario of buying a domain that had earned this label and getting Google to trust it under your ownership, which some people may find helpful. Google, in case you haven’t heard yet, has just added a new feature to Webmaster Tools called Manual Action Viewer, which will let webmasters see if Google has taken a manual action against their site. According to Cutts, this only happens for less than 2% of domains.