Jan 19 2017

‘GoogleGuy’ Matt Cutts Leaves Google, Will Continue with the US Digital Service

Matt Cutts , who was once believed to be the mysterious GoogleGuy on Webmaster World forums and later became the main conduit of information to webmasters about Google search updates, has resigned from Google. For the last few years Cutts has been on leave from Google and has more recently worked for the US Digital Service . He announced on his blog that he had resigned from Google as of December 31, 2016: When I joined the US Digital Service, I only planned to stay for three months. That quickly turned into six months after I saw the impact of the USDS. In the last month, I made a big decision. On December 31, 2016, I resigned from Google. I’m currently serving as director of engineering for the USDS. Mikey Dickerson, the first administrator of the USDS, is a political appointee, so he’ll step down on Inauguration Day. When that happens, I’ll serve as acting administrator of the USDS. The work that the USDS does is critical to the American people, and I’m honored to continue that tradition. The USDS played a pivotal role in rescuing the Obamacare website healthcare.gov that was beset by huge cost overruns while still not working. Cutts also notes that “the US Digital Service has helped veterans get their health benefits, brought bug bounties to the federal government, and helped the IRS protect taxpayer info.” He posted this video to illustrate the important work and accomplishments of USDS: “Working for the government doesn’t pay as well as a big company in Silicon Valley,” writes Cutts. “We don’t get any free lunches. Many days are incredibly frustrating. All I can tell you is that the work is deeply important and inspiring, and you have a chance to work on things that genuinely make peoples’ lives better. A friend who started working in this space several years ago told me “These last five years have been the hardest and worst and best and most rewarding I think I will ever have.”” For those in the search engine space Cutts is very familiar, having attended many Pubcon , SearchEngineStrategies and SearchEngineLand conferences. WebProNews has video interviewed Cutts and written about things he has said hundreds of many times over the years while covering the search industry and Google. Here are a few of our WebProNews exclusive video interviews with Matt Cutts : PubCon: Exclusive Interview With Matt Cutts (2006) PubCon Las Vegas 2007: Matt Cutts of Google and Vanessa Fox (2007) WPN Exclusive: Matt Cutts Apologizes on Behalf of Google’s Penalty against Google Japan (2009) Breaking News: Matt Cutts Explains “Canonical Tag” from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft (2009) Matt Cutts on Changes at Google (2008) The post ‘GoogleGuy’ Matt Cutts Leaves Google, Will Continue with the US Digital Service appeared first on WebProNews .

Jun 18 2014

Google Looks At Apparent IE Sponsored Post Spam

Tech blogger/investor Michael Arrington revealed that someone who claimed to be a “social strategist on behalf of Microsoft” tried to get him to write about Internet Explorer for payment. The message he got says: Hi Michael, I work as a social strategist on behalf of Microsoft, and I wanted to invite you to collaborate on a sponsored post opportunity for Internet Explorer. We love your aesthetic and blogging style, and think you’d be the perfect partner to spread the word on the new Internet Explorer browsing experience! The new Internet Explorer is a brand new experience with many different features. This reworked Internet Explorer lets you search smarter and do more with its cool new features, such as multitasking, pinnable sites, and full-screen browsing. In this program, we are looking to spread the word about the new Internet Explorer web experience in a cool, visual way, which is where you come in! Internet Explorer has teamed up with many partners in gaming, entertainment, and more, and we’d love to see you talk about your opinions on these collaborations. If you accept our invitation to work on this program, we would like for you to write a blog post by July 10th, in addtion to sharing links to the new Internet Explorer across your social channels. Compesnsation for this post is available, and there will also be ample opportunities for fun prizes and rewards throughout the duration of the program. To learn all about the details of this program, please visit this page (http://unbouncepages.com/7975010c-edb3-11e3-b3e0-12314000cce6/). I look forward to working together. As Arrington notes, “This is just layers of stupid.” This is, after all, the founder of TechCrunch, who has referred to people being paid to shill products on their blogs as “pollution” in the past. When Arrington responded, asking if this was real, they replied that they weren’t sure how Arrington wound up on the list, and “Go TechCrunch!” The URL in the message has since been taken offline, and Google is even investigating what could be webpspam from its biggest competitor. Google’s Matt Cutts tweeted: @SocialChorus I'd like to talk about your sponsored post offer at http://t.co/zDGCNeGiPV as well as http://t.co/WKcCAp7f6u — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) June 18, 2014 He was then in contact with SocialChorus program strategist Gregg Hanano. @mattcutts Thank you for reaching out Matt. I just sent an email back and cc'd some more employees to better answer your questions. — Gregg Hanano (@gregghanano) June 18, 2014 @dannysullivan I've emailed the point of contact from http://t.co/zDGCNeGiPV asking for more info while the webspam team investigates. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) June 18, 2014 As you may recall, Google actually had to penalize its own Chrome browser a while back for pretty much the same thing. The story there was that an outside agency was soliciting such posts on the company’s behalf. It doesn’t look like Internet Explorer has suffered such a penalty so far. Of course, Google’s competition with Microsoft adds a whole other layer to this. Microsoft is a big part of the FairSearch lobbying group that constantly tries to see antitrust regulation brought against Google. To be continued…

Feb 6 2013

Here’s Why Google Doesn’t Turn Off Toolbar PageRank

Now that Google’s Matt Cutts is back online , he’s been steadily putting out new Webmaster Help videos on a daily basis. It will be interesting to see how long this continues. Today’s is particularly timely considering Google just pushed out a toolbar PageRank update (the first of the year). Cutts responds to the following user-submitted question: Why don’t you switch off the PageRank Toolbar feature? It is widely used by link sellers as a link grading system. Why do you continue to display PageRank publicly? It appears to have little relevance, except to spammers. “My rough answer is: there are a lot of SEOs and people in search who look at the PageRank toolbar, but there are a ton of regular users as well,” says Cutts. “You would be really surprised at how many just regular people have the Google Toolbar, and user PageRank as a way to figure out…how reputable at something…I know it seems kind of strange, but it also seems strange that nofollow is only a single digit percentage of links on the web. We get into our tunnel vision, and we sort of say, ‘Oh, well no one else uses the PageRank toolbar,’ but the fact is a lot of people do.” He continues, “Now, one interesting twist is Chrome doesn’t really have a PageRank toolbar feature built in, and Internet Explorer 10, as I understand it, doesn’t allow toolbars or add-ins, or as Microsoft calls it, it provides an ‘add-in free experience,’ so if IE 10 becomes more popular, eventually it might be the case that the Google Toolbar is not as commonly used, and in that case, 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.’” He says Google will probably continue to support the feature as long as people are using it. With IE 10, however, he says, “the writing is on the wall,” so they’ll see how that affects things in the future (particularly for Windows users).

Oct 10 2012

Matt Cutts On Schema.org Markup As A Ranking Signal

In 2011, Google teamed up with Microsoft and Yahoo to launch schema.org, an initiative to support a common set of schemas for structured data markup. You might wonder whether or not implementing these schemas may influence your ranking in Google (or the other search engines, for that matter). Google’s Matt Cutts posted a new Webmaster Help video talking about this, responding to a user-submitted question: I know rich snippets can increase CTR for my mention on a SERP. But is the use of schema.org code beneficial for my actual positions on the SERPs as well? “On one hand, I wouldn’t necessarily count on that….Just because you implement schema.org doesn’t mean you necessarily rank higher. But there are some corner cases like if you were to type in ‘lasagna,’ and then click over on the left-hand side and click on ‘recipes,’ that’s the sort of thing where using schema.org markup might help, because then you’re more likely to be showing up in that at all. So there are some cases where it can be helpful to use schema.org markup.” “I wouldn’t necessarily count on that giving you any sort of ranking boost…I’m not going to take it off the table, but for example, it might make sense in some of those specific topic areas, but just because somebody implements schema.org markup, that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily and automatically a better site, so I wouldn’t count on that giving you a good ranking boost, although it can be a good idea to markup things in a rich structure just because, you know, then different people can slice and dice and find your site more easily if they are doing more digging.” Let’s put it this way: it seems unlikely that it will hurt your rankings.

May 17 2012

Matt Cutts On The Hardware & Software That Power Googlebot

Google uploaded a new Webmaster Help video from Matt Cutts, which addresses a question about the hardware/server-side software that powers a typical Googlebot server. “So one of the secrets of Google is that rather than employing these mainframe machines, this heavy iron, big iron kind of stuff, if you were to go into a Google data center and look at an example rack, it would look a lot like a PC,” says Cutts. “So there’s commodity PC parts. It’s the sort of thing where you’d recognize a lot of the stuff from having opened up your own computer,and what’s interesting is rather than have like special Googlebot web crawling servers, we tend to say, OK, build a whole bunch of different servers that can be used interchangeably for things like Googlebot, or web serving, or indexing. And then we have this fleet, this armada of machines, and you can deploy it on different types of tasks and different types of processing.” “So hardware wise, they’re not exactly the same, but they look a lot like regular commodity PCs,” he adds. “And there’s no difference between Googlebot servers versus regular servers at Google. You might have differences in RAM or hard disk, but in general, it’s the same sorts of stuff.” On the software side, Google of course builds everything itself, as to not have to rely on third-parties. Cutts says there’s a running joke at Google along the lines of “we don’t just build the cars oursevles, and we don’t just build the tires ourselves. We actually vulcanize the rubber on the tires ourselves.” “We tend to look at everything all the way down to the metal,” Cutts explains. “I mean, if you think about it, there’s data center efficiency. There’s power efficiency on the motherboards. And so if you can sort of keep an eye on everything all the way down, you can make your stuff a lot more efficient, a lot more powerful. You’re not wasting things because you use some outside vendor and it’s black box.” A couple months ago, Google put out a blog post discussing its data center efficiency , indicating that they are getting even more efficient. “In the same way that you might examine your electricity bill and then tweak the thermostat, we constantly track our energy consumption and use that data to make improvements to our infrastructure. As a result, our data centers use 50 percent less energy than the typical data center,” wrote Joe Kava, Senior Director, data center construction and operations at Google. Cutts says Google uses a lot of Linux-based machines and Linux-based servers. “We’ve got a lot of Linux kernel hackers,” he says. “And we tend to have software that we’ve built pretty much from the ground up to do all the different specialized tasks. So even to the point of our web servers. We don’t use Apache. We don’t use IIS. We use something called GWS, which stands for the Google Web Server.” “So by having our own binaries that we’ve built from our own stuff and building that stack all the way up, it really unlocks a lot of efficiency,” he adds. “It makes sure that there’s nothing that you can’t go in and tweak to get performance gains or to fix if you find bugs.” If you’re interested in how Google really works, you should watch this video too: Google says the average search query travels as much as 1,500 miles .

Mar 29 2012

Matt Cutts: 1 In 5 People In U.S. Have Heard Of SEO

As you may know, Google launched a new product today called Google Consumer Surveys . Googlers are certainly hyped up about it . Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, used the product to put out his own survey about SEO in which he determined that 1 in 5 in the U.S. have heard of SEO. “In my world, everyone I talk to has heard of search engine optimization (SEO),” he says on Google+ . “But I’ve always wondered: do regular people in the U.S. know what SEO is? With Google’s new Consumer Surveys product, I can actually find out. I asked 1,576 people ‘Have you heard of ‘search engine optimization’?” “It turns out only 1 in 5 people (20.4%) in the U.S. have heard of SEO!” he says. “The survey also turned up an interesting gender difference: almost 25% of men have heard of SEO, but only about 16% of women have,” Cutts notes. “Doing this sort of market research in the past would have been slow, hard, and expensive. Asking 1,500 people a simple question only costs about $150.” The survey may only be a small set of people compared to the actual population of the country, but my guess is that’s not that far off. In my experience, outside of work, most people have no idea what SEO is. That’s probably one reason that Google wants to level the playing field in search rankings , when it comes “over-optimized” content . But that’s a whole other discussion .

Mar 22 2012

Google On How A Lot Of Your Links Don’t Count

Google has over 200 signals it uses to rank results. Given Google’s legendary PageRank algorithm, based on links, it has led to a lot of people worrying about links way too much. That’s not to say quality links aren’t still important, but just because you have a whole bunch of links, it doesn’t mean your site is going to rank well. Google’s Matt Cutts posted an interesting webmaster help video under the title: “Will Google Provide More Link Data For All Sites?” It’s Cutts’ response to the user-submitted question: In the wake of the demise of Yahoo Site Explorer, does Google Webmaster Tools plan to take up the reigns this product once provided to SEO’s everywhere? Cutts responds, “What I think you’re asking is actually code for ‘will you give me a lot of links?’ and let me give you some context about Google’s policies on that. I know that Yahoo Site Explorer gave a lot of links, but Yahoo Site Explorer is going away. Microsoft used to give a lot of links. And they saw so much abuse and so many people hitting it really, really hard that I think they turn that off so that people wouldn’t be tempted to just keep pounding them and pounding their servers.” “So our policy has been to give a subsample of links to anybody for any given page or any given site– and you can do that with a link colon command–and to give a much more exhaustive, much more full list of links to the actual site owner,” says Cutts. “And let me tell you why I think that’s a little bit more of a balanced plan. Yahoo Site Explorer, they were giving a lot of links, but they weren’t giving links that Google knew about. And certainly, they don’t know which links Google really trusts. And so I think a lot of people sometimes focus on the low-quality links that a competitor has, and they don’t realize that the vast majority of times, those links aren’t counting.” “So, for example, the New York Times sent us a sample of literally thousands of links that they were wondering how many of these count because they’d gotten it from some third party or other source of links,” he adds. “And the answer was that basically none of those links had counted. And so it’s a little easy for people to get obsessed by looking at the backlinks of their competitors and saying, ‘oh, they’re doing this bad thing or that bad thing.’ And they might not know the good links. And they might not know that a lot of those links aren’t counted at all.” “So I also think that it’s a relatively good policy because you deserve to know your own links,” he continues. “I think that’s perfectly defensible. But it doesn’t provide that much help to give all the links to a competitor site unless you’re maybe an SEO, or your a competitor, or something along those lines. So for somebody like a librarian or a power searcher or something like that, using link colon and getting a nice sample, a fair fraction of links to a particular page or to a particular website, is a very good policy.” “I think that’s defensible, but I don’t expect us to show all the links that we know of for all the different sites that we know of, just because people tend to focus on the wrong thing,” he concludes. “They don’t know which links really count. So they tend to obsess about all the bad links their competitors have and only look at the good links that they have. And it’s probably the case that surfacing this data makes it so that you’re helping the people who really, really, really want to try to get all their competitors backlinks or whatever. And I just think it’s a little bit more equitable to say, OK, you’re allowed to see as many of the backlinks as we can give you for your own site, but maybe not for every other site. You can get a sampling, so you can get an idea of what they’re like, but I wouldn’t expect us to try to provide a full snapshot for every single site.” Links obviously aren’t everything, and if you follow Google’s changes, it’s easy to see that other signals have been given a lot more significance in recent memory. This includes things like content quality, social signals and freshness. If you’re that worried about the number of links you have, you’re living in the wrong era of search. Granted, links have value beyond search ranking. They still provide more potential referrals to your site, but in terms of Google, the search engine is moving more and more away from the traditional 10 organic links anyway, with more personalized results, fresher results, blended (universal search) results, and more direct answers .

Jan 29 2012

Beware The Fake Matt Cutts

One or more people are going around impersonating Google’s head of web spam (and now “Distinguished Engineer”) Matt Cutts, leaving comments on various articles on the web. It’s been going on for a while. Usually, if you pay close enough …

Jan 11 2012

Google’s Matt Cutts: “Search, Plus Your World” Returns More Than Just Google Content

On Tuesday, Google announced the launch of “Search, Plus Your World,” which is a set of new personalized search features. For a longer explanation, you can read here, but basically, it involves Google suggesting Google+ content and profiles based on …

Sep 14 2011

Reasons Why Google Toolbar PageRank Would Drop, According to Google

Google’s Matt Cutts posted one of his webmaster help videos discussing Google Toolbar PageRank, why it’s only updated a few times a year, and why webmasters might see their PageRank drop. He also talks about how to get back in …