Matt Cutts Releases SEO Video Quickies
Perhaps as part of an extended response to his recent cameo appearance on a WMW thread started by Reseller, Matt Cutts posted three videos answering questions asked previously on The Simple Life, er Grabbag Friday. Here’s the cliff notes:
- Does updates of sitemaps depend on page views? Matts: No, page views isn’t really a factor when things are updated in sitemaps.
- How do I improve my site’s visibility on Google? (make sure its crawlable, then market it with a hook). 1) Make sure the site is crawlable. Try viewing your site via a text browser, like Lynx. Use an HTML sitemap to help spiders along; use Google Sitemaps in addition to that. 2) Market your site - “think about the people who are relevant to your niche, and make sure they know about you. You also wanna be thinking about a hook - something that’s viral.” Good content, social bookmarking sites, etc. “Fundamentally you need something interesting that sets you apart from the pack.”
- What conditions cause Google to use the DMOZ snippet, when there is already a valid meta description tag on the page? Result is query-dependent. If you have a page about Christina Aguirella but your DMOZ listing says the page is about Britney Spears, a “britney spears” search will display the DMOZ description, whereas a “christina aquirela” search will display the page’s meta description snippet. Of course, if you don’t want the DMOZ description, you can use the NOODP meta tag.
- Does Google favor bold or strong? In general, Google slightly favors bold. Keyword: slightly. Recommendation: Just code your site the way you want. Update: In his latest video, Matt Cutts mentioned he followed up with a Google engineer about this and was shown that Google’s algo treats B exactly the same as STRONG, and EM exactly the same as I. So, there ya go.
- Does having many sites under one IP/server matter? There’s a range: 4-5 sites on a similar theme = no problem. 2000 sites = probably spam.
- If you’re launching a site with millions of pages, launch softly.
- Don’t worry about including the same JS off different sites, Google Analytics or Google Adsense for example. People do this alot and unless you use the same sneaky code on 5000 sites, you shouldn’t worry.
- Google image index update happened last weekend. You can read Matt Cutts’ comment regarding the update on a recent WMW thread titled Google: Has There Been an Image Update? started by ianevans.
- Should I build for search engines, or for people? Both SE optimization AND end-user optimization is important - otherwise “you won’t do as well.” “The trick in my mind, is to try to see the world such that they’re the same thing. You want to make it so that your users’ interests and the search engines’ interests are aligned as you can.”
- How do I detect spam? Try Yahoo site explorer, which shows you backlinks. Tools to show you everything on one IP address. Use Google Sitemaps to find any problems with your own sites.
- WC3 validation, does it matter? “40% of all html has syntax errors. and there’s no way search engines can remove 40% of its index, just because somebody didn’t validate. I wouldn’t put it at the top of the list.” Could be a signal in the future especially after the release of accessibility search.
Follow Up: Matt posted another batch of videos today. In the last video, he said Supplemental googlebot will be refreshing pages and following redirects more frequently as time goes on. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Aug 2: In this video released today, where Matt makes me want to go grab a drink from the fridge, he mentions something that will have all adult webmasters’ heads reeling. I know many people who like to put a whole bunch of adult keywords in their meta keywords and description tags. Those people are also usually not so fond of using ICRA tags. According to Matt, Google uses those tags to filter out adult content from Safe Search. Gotta love it.
He also goes into explaining what happened on June 27 and the difference between an index update, an algo update, and a data refresh. Matt mentions PageRank enough times in this video to make PR naysayers cringe. Few keypoints: Google’s index is in an everflux (no more updates ala 2003); PageRank updates daily; over-optimization can hurt your site. Yes we all knew that already, but what exactly is data refresh again?
Aug 3: Matt Cutts throws another curve ball at SEOs in this new video, where he dismisses a .gov myth and credits the power of .edu sites mainly to PageRank. According to Matt, .gov/.org/.edu sites aren’t really treated differently from any other type of domains. “It’s just those sites tend to have higher PageRank…because more people link to them.”
I left a question on his blog regarding WC3 because I believe some errors result in crappy description snippets being displayed on a Google site: search.
BTW, here’s a few GoogleGuy quotes from the same WMW Google communication thread, where a couple of people bitched about Google not responding to frustrated webmasters :
There was a data refresh on June 27th that lots of people ask about, but there was also a data refresh in the last 1-2 days that refreshes the same data. Going forward, I’d expect that the cycle time would go down even more, possibly down to once a week for that particular algorithm.
126.96.36.199 has some newer infrastructure that makes site: queries more accurate, and in general that infrastructure also improves results for other queries too. But the infrastructure at 188.8.131.52 is orthogonal/independent of many other changes.
BTW, Thanks to Peter over on V7N Blog for throwing me a bone. I hate to bitch but writing a full-fledged post at 4 in the morning just to publish something that reads almost exactly like every other Matt Cutts video blog post can get frustrating. No point in speedy delivery when you got no visibility.