Oct 28 2013

Matt Cutts On Creating More Content For Better Google Rankings

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You may think that having more webpages increases your chances of getting better Google rankings. Well, you might be right. Kind of. This is the topic of the latest Google Webmaster Help video from Matt Cutts. “I wouldn’t assume that just because you have a large number of indexed pages that you’ll automatically get a higher ranking,” Cutts explains. ” That’s not the case. It is the case that if you have more pages that have different keywords on them, then you have the opportunity where they might be able to rank for the individual queries that a user has. But just having more pages doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be in good shape or that you’ll get some sort of ranking boost.” “Now, typically, if a site does have more pages, it might mean that it has more links pointing to it, which means it has higher PageRank,” he continues. “If that’s the case, we might be willing to crawl a little bit deeper into the website, and if it has higher PageRank, then we might think that’s a little bit of a better match for users’ queries. So those are some of the factors involved. Just having a big website with a lot of pages by itself doesn’t automatically confer a boost, but if you have a lot of links or a lot of PageRank, which is leading to deeper crawling within your site, then that might be the sort of indicator that perhaps your site would rank just a little bit higher.” Cutts again reiterates that just having more pages won’t get you better rankings, but will create more opportunities for links, which can lead to rankings. So, the takeaway here is that creating more content is probably a good thing. Just compelling stuff that people might want to link to. Unfortunately, that kind of stuff typically takes more time and energy.

Oct 24 2013

Google Is Apparently Reducing Authorship In Results

Matt Cutts spoke at Pubcon in Las Vegas, discussing numerous SEO topics as usual. Bruce Clay has a pretty good basic recap here . You can see 25 minutes of his speech here: There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of big news to come out of the keynote. He discussed a lot of the things Google has been doing that everybody already knows about. He did say that Google is going to be working on combatting hacking and child porn in the coming months, and noted that the reason that Toolbar PageRank hasn’t been updated is because the export feature that sends the data to the toolbar broke, and they didn’t bother to fix it. It’s unclear if they will bother in the future. My guess is no. Trends for webmasters to think about going forward, according to Cutts, include making sure your site looks good on mobile devices, annotating your forms for autocomplete and rich snippets (on reputable sites). Google is also getting better at Javascript. Meanwhile, the page layout algorithm will start having a greater impact on Arabic and Russian sites. One interesting nugget to come out of Cutts’ speech is that Google is apparently going to be reducing the amount of authorship results it shows by 15%, saying that this will improve quality. Google reportedly still sees authorship as a key signal, they just want to “tighten” it to make sure it’s really relevant and useful, from what I gather.

Oct 16 2013

How Google Evaluates The Merit Of A Guest Blog Post

It’s Matt Cutts video time again. This time, he answers the question: “How can I guest blog without it looking like I pay for links?” “Let’s talk about, for example, whenever we get a spam report, and we dig into it in the manual webspam team, usually there’s a pretty clear distinction between an occasional guest blog versus someone who is doing large scale pay-for-links kinds of stuff,” he says, “So what are the different criteria on that spectrum? So, you know, if you’re paying for links, it’s more likely that it’s off topic or an irrelevant blog post that doesn’t really match the subject of the blog itself, it’s more likely you’ll see the keyword-rich anchor text, you know, that sort of thing. Whereas a guest blog, it’s more likely to be someone that’s expert, you know. There will usually be something – a paragraph there that talks about who this person is, why you invited them to be on your blog. You know, hopefully the guest blogger isn’t dropping keywords in their anchors nearly as much as you know, these other sorts of methods of generating links.” “So it is interesting,” he continues. “In all of these cases, you can see a spectrum of quality. You can have paid links with,you know, buy cheap viagra, all that sort of stuff. You can have article marketing, where somebody doesn’t even have a relationship with the blog, and they just write an article – 500 words or whatever – and they embed their keyword-rich anchor text in their bio or something like that, and then you’ve got guest blogging, which, you know, can be low quality, and frankly, I think there’s been a growth of low quality guest blogging recently. Or it can be higher quality stuff where someone really is an expert, and you really do want their opinion on something that’s especially interesting or relevant to your blog’s audience.” These are the kinds of criteria Google looks at when trying to determine if something is spam, Cutts says. He also cautions against spinning content for contribution on a bunch of blogs. That’s not the best way to build links, he says. Go here for more past comments from Google related to guest blog posts.

Oct 14 2013

Matt Cutts Talks Having Eggs In Different Baskets

In today’s Webmaster Help video, Google’s Matt Cutts has to explain that Google always adjusts its search results, and always has, and why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s times like this when one realizes that no question is too bad for one of these videos to address, so if you’ve always wanted to ask something, but were afraid to, let this give you the confidence you need to proceed. You can tell by the way he closes his laptop he’s answered questions like this a few times before.

Oct 9 2013

Matt Cutts On Geo-location: Just Treat Googlebot Like Every Other User

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In the latest Google Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts responds to a question about geo-location: Using geo-detection techniques is against Google, I am offering the useful information (price, USPs) to the users based on the geo-location. Will Google consider this as spam? i.e. showing X content to search engines and Y content to users. “Geo-location is not spam,” he says. “As long as you’re showing, ‘Oh, someone’s coming from a French IP address, let’s redirect them to the French version of my page or the French domain for my business,’ that’s totally fine. Someone comes in from a German IP address, I’ll redirect them over to the German version of my page – that’s totally fine. The thing that I would do is make sure that you don’t treat search engines any differently than a regular user. So if Googlebot comes in, you check the IP address, imagine that we’re coming from the United States, just redirect Googlebot to the United States version of your page or the .com, – whatever it is that you would serve to regular United States users. So geo-location is not spam. Google does it.” “Whenever users come in, we send them to what we think is the most appropriate page based on a lot of different signals, but usually the IP address of the actual user,” he adds. The last part of the question (the X content to search engines and Y content to users part), he says, is cloaking, and is something he would be “very careful about.” The point is, just treat Googlebot like every other user, and you should be fine.

Oct 7 2013

Matt Cutts Tells You Why Your Site’s PageRank Isn’t Changing (Kind Of)

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The question of whether or not Google Toolbar PageRank is dead has come back around, as Google’s Matt Cutts indicated the other day that we’re not likely to see an update before the end of the year. This Twitter exchange occurred on Sunday ( via Barry Schwartz ): @NielsBoschh I would be surprised if that happened. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 6, 2013 Google hasn’t updated it since February, after historically updating it every three or four months. The latest Webmaster Help video from Google has come out, and it just happens to talk about Google Toolbar PageRank. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really tell us anything new. It’s pretty much the same thing Cutts said last time he did a video on it . He says, “The thing to remind yourself about is that the Google Toolbar PageRank, number one, it’s only updated periodically, so, you know, for a while, we would update it relatively often. Now, we’ll update it a few times a year. Over time, the Toolbar PageRank is getting less usage just because recent versions of Internet Explorer don’t really let you install toolbars as easily, and Chrome doesn’t have the toolbar so over time, the PageRank indicator will probably start to go away a little bit.” “But it’s also the case that we only update this information every few months, so it does take time in order to show up,” he says. The messaging here is a little odd considering, again, that there hasn’t been an update since February, and we shouldn’t expect to see one before the end of the year. Image: Google

Oct 7 2013

Matt Cutts Indicates You Should Not Hold Your Breath For A PageRank Update

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Back in August, we discussed Google’s lack of a toolbar PageRank update, and speculated that it might simply be dead. Based on recent comments by Google’s Matt Cutts, we’re still leaning towards this. Barry Schwartz points to a Twitter response from Cutts to a question about it: @NielsBoschh I would be surprised if that happened. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 6, 2013 Roughly translated: Don’t hold your breath. The last update came in early February. Historically, Google has typically updated the data about every three or four months. Last year, it was updated four times. Obviously things have changed. Even if it’s not dead, it’s even less useful than before, being updated so infrequently. It might as well be dead. Cutts said in a video earlier this year, “It might be the case that, it might be such that over time, maybe the PageRank feature is not used by as many people, and so maybe it will go away on its own or eventually we’ll reach the point where we say, ‘Okay, maintaining this is not worth the amount of work.’” That time may have already come and gone.

Oct 7 2013

Google Penguin Update 2.1 Has Launched

Google’s Matt Cutts announced late on Friday that Penguin 2.1 was launching, affecting roughly 1% of searches “to a noticeable degree.” This is the first official Penguin announcement we’ve seen since Google revealed its initial Penguin revamp , with 2.0 in May. Penguin 2.1 launching today. Affects ~1% of searches to a noticeable degree. More info on Penguin: http://t.co/4YSh4sfZQj — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 4, 2013 Penguin 2.0 was the biggest tweak to Penguin since the update initially launched in April of last year, which was why it was called 2.0 despite the update getting several refreshes in between. Cutts said this about Penguin 2.0 back when it rolled out: “So this one is a little more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0, and we expect it to go a little bit deeper, and have a little bit more of an impact than the original version of Penguin.” Penguin 2.0 was said to affect 2.3% of queries with previous data refreshes only impacting 0.1% and 0.3%. The initial Penguin update affected 3.1%. While this latest version (2.1) may not be as big as 2.0 or the original, the 1% of queries affected still represents a significantly larger query set than the other past minor refreshes. Hat tip to Danny Sullivan for the numbers . The folks over at Search Engine Land, by the way, have been keeping a list of version numbers for these updates, which differs from Google’s actual numbers, so if you’ve been going by those, Danny sorts out the confusion for you. Penguin, of course, is designed to attack webspam. Here’s what Google said about it in the initial launch: The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics. As you can see, Penguin is still part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm . More of our past Penguin coverage here . Image: Batman: Arkham City