Here are eight highlights from the Q&A session with Matt Cutts from the SMX Advanced 2014 conference.
- Google will now add more details when rejecting reconsideration notifications to websites that have been hit with an algorithm update. A webspam analyst can now add a note to the notice that goes to the website owners about what exactly the problem is, where they should improve and what they should do differently. Whereas before Google would only send a category of what was the ‘problem’ is, now the webspam analyst has the option to go into detail and add a personal touch with some information about what Google would like to see different about the site.
- To the question: ‘Why not tell people who have been hit with an update what update they have been hit with?’ Cutts says it’s “fair feedback”, and something they will visit for the ‘larger’ updates like Panda or Penguin, but he reminded the audience that there are over 500 different algorithms, and for the smaller ones it would make more sense to keep it simple rather than to confuse people with all the details of their algorithms.
- On link-building: Matt recited a quote that said, “If you know the source of your links you’re on the wrong track.” He did elaborate that that is taking the idea to the extreme, but the idea is if you post quality content your reputation will take care of the link-building process. I’m not sure if I agree with this to the fullest extent because if you are a new website who’s going to know if you’re posting quality content? Good content is not by itself enough. On the other hand, I know where Matt is going with his statement, which is basically, don’t go to the point of essentially buying SEO links.
- Carousel criticism: Google rolled out a feature earlier this year called the carousel which populates the top of the search results page with pictures related to the search term. The interviewer, Danny Sullivan raised a problem he personally noticed, and apparently, the audience did too, in which he would click on one of the pictures to get more information on it, then he would be taken to another carousel. Matt was indeed taken by surprise by this information and basically said he would pass it along.
- The issue of the “right to be forgotten” judgment came up, and Matt recited Google’s distaste for it. This judgment gives European citizens the right to request Google to remove links about them if they feel those links are irrelevant or inadequate. It won’t remove the website that contains the information, but it will remove the links to those websites from search results. Google maintains that they value freedom of expression over individual privacy and that this ruling takes the wrong turn.
Now, they say they are receiving tens of thousands of requests per day, and that number is growing daily, and expected to soon approach hundreds of thousands of daily requests. As someone who has dealt with malicious competitors, I sympathize with those who want to clear their names in search results, but ultimately I believe that reaching out to publications directly, and, if necessary, the court system, is the right way to handle it, not a blanketed government intervention approach.
- Matt Cutts called Bing, “a perfectly fine search engine”. That was worth a few laughs from the audience.
- Matt Cutts smacked an unsuspecting audience member in the head with a stuffed animal hummingbird toy and apologized amid laughter. Obviously, it was by accident.
- And finally, Matt confirmed that if your site is very slow you will be penalized. It isn’t so much that faster websites get rewarded as much as slower websites get penalized, and it is on this last point that I will lead you to our contact page because it very important to have a website design, hosting, and marketing company that is has a good track record, and can get your business on the right track for success.
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