Below is live coverage of the Hot Google Topics & Trends Matt Cutts & Amit Singhal panel from the PubCon 2011 conference.
Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.
Stay tuned! Live updates will begin momentarily.
8:31:17 AM Barry Schwartz: They have arrived.
8:36:12 AM Wissam: morning barry
8:36:21 AM Barry Schwartz: We start in about 25 minutes... I'll take more pics.
8:39:25 AM Barry Schwartz: Danny Sullivan is on my right... He will be doing the un-live blogging at SearchEngineLand.com
8:39:30 AM Lee Odden: Watching you liveblog Pubcon while I'm at ad:tech NY - this is fun.
8:39:38 AM Barry Schwartz: @lee: missing you here.
8:41:57 AM Barry Schwartz: People lined up asking Matt questions. I don't see Amit anymore...
8:45:23 AM Barry Schwartz: People now taking pics with Matt, he is so *hot*
8:45:48 AM Barry Schwartz: This is so funny, he is such a celeb here.
8:48:47 AM Wissam: Did you find Matt Bday ? he have to be less than 45
8:49:24 AM Barry Schwartz: @ Wissam, thinking he is 39 based off of this article http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_13/b4221044336007.htm
8:50:40 AM Barry Schwartz: 10 minutes or so until we start, people still taking photos with Matt and no sign of Amit now.
8:50:43 AM Wissam: wow nice job guys ... was searching for ever lol
@wissam, Danny found it
8:52:31 AM Barry Schwartz: Brett is starting early, please tell people to come check out the live blogging. Tweet it like this "Live blogging @mattcutts @theamitsinghal from Google at #pubcon now at j.mp/udv6Sq"
8:52:55 AM Barry Schwartz: Or retweet this https://twitter.com/#!/rustybrick/status/134307364261216256
8:54:38 AM Barry Schwartz: So modest
8:55:26 AM Barry Schwartz: Matt is starting with slides and then will bring on Amit for Q&A
Matt's favorite tweet from pubcon yesterday was
8:56:30 AM Barry Schwartz: From yesterday's keynote, Leo said search engines aren't going to be relevant in the next 6 months
8:56:42 AM Barry Schwartz: He is mocking that statement in good nature.
8:56:50 AM Barry Schwartz: SEOs might be out of a job in six months...
8:57:03 AM Barry Schwartz: If you took all the time people said SEO is dead, then you'd have a zombie character.
8:57:17 AM Barry Schwartz: SEO is not dead, SEO is a type of marketing and marketing appeals to human nature.
8:57:28 AM Barry Schwartz: SEO is coaching, not marketing.
8:57:46 AM Barry Schwartz: Matt made a video that SEO is not spam.
8:58:02 AM Barry Schwartz: See http://www.seroundtable.com/google-seo-spam-14204.html
8:58:18 AM Brian Ussery: SEO=Coaching, there will always be a role for people who what to present themself better
8:58:25 AM Barry Schwartz: SEO back in the day was more mechinical, not is about human nature.
8:58:28 AM Brian Ussery: Search is about change
8:58:32 AM Barry Schwartz: The other constant is search is about change
8:58:51 AM Brian Ussery: SEO was simple 10 years ago but that is changing.
8:59:06 AM Barry Schwartz: SEO is a completely new challenge, not just content and links, it is now mobile, local, voice, etc.
8:59:46 AM Brian Ussery: The best SEOs understand that you don't want to go where engines are but rather where they will be
9:00:13 AM Barry Schwartz: Back in 2010, the web spam team was focusing mostly on hacked sites instead of search quality.
9:00:17 AM Brian Ussery: In 2010 the webspam team was at war with hacked sites...
9:00:41 AM Barry Schwartz: In 2011, low quality sites was a focus (i.e. panda) and more communication
9:00:45 AM Brian Ussery: 2011 low quality (Panda)
9:01:14 AM Barry Schwartz: Panda was a search quality initiative, not spam team. It was algorithmic change, not manual. We understand no algo is perfect, so tell us if there is an issue.
9:01:18 AM Brian Ussery: Panda is algorithmic change no manual exceptions but no algo is perfect
Google goes back to look and see if there is something they could do better.
9:02:05 AM Brian Ussery: In 2011 webmaster communication is up!
9:02:22 AM Barry Schwartz: At this point, Google is giving many many more heads up to webmasters if they are violating Google's guidelines. Submitting a reconsideration request will tell you if it is a manual or automated thing and what you should do.
9:02:47 AM Brian Ussery: Communication is far better than last year at PubCon according to Matt.
9:03:03 AM Brian Ussery: Future: long term SEO mobile
9:03:05 AM Barry Schwartz: Talking about the future.... the 10,000 foot view. Mobile!
9:03:18 AM Barry Schwartz: A cell phone is a computer you carry with you everywhere... That is huge!
9:03:30 AM Brian Ussery: Future: long term trend your cell phone is a computer that you take with you.
9:03:37 AM Barry Schwartz: Mobile is the future.
9:03:50 AM Barry Schwartz: Social is another item for the future....
10,000 foot trends mobile & social
9:04:16 AM Brian Ussery: Twitter and Facebook are still esentially blocked from Googlebot...
9:04:21 AM Barry Schwartz: Lots of people talking about social in terms of SEO and some SEOs are getting ahead of themselves. Google can only see stuff on the open web, not stuff hidden to GogoleBot
9:04:57 AM Brian Ussery: In social, you don't really need to optimize for search engines.
9:05:19 AM Barry Schwartz: And local is a trend.
9:05:25 AM Barry Schwartz: Now for the 1,000 foot view.
9:05:29 AM Brian Ussery: 10,000 foot view local, mobile, social
9:05:47 AM Brian Ussery: Googlebot is getting smarter
9:06:12 AM Barry Schwartz: GoogleBot is getting smarter, so they can index more, and understand more about the pages. Also better understanding the content that matters on a page. How much content is above the fold, he said.
9:06:33 AM Brian Ussery: Google is focused on better page understanding and incorporating factors to improve quality.
9:06:35 AM Barry Schwartz: Layout of the page will matter in the future
9:06:48 AM Barry Schwartz: Another 1000 trend, Search is becoming more social
9:07:21 AM Brian Ussery: If voice rec fails, default is Google query.
9:07:25 AM Barry Schwartz: Even with Google Voice Search or Siri, if it can't figure it out, they go to Google.
9:07:45 AM Barry Schwartz: They will also release better tools for searchers
9:07:46 AM Brian Ussery: Google is going to keep rolling out better tools for users.
9:08:26 AM Barry Schwartz: They changed the + operator and they are looking for ways to do that search. So don't be surprised if they offer a verbatim mode or something like it
9:08:58 AM Brian Ussery: Communication and transparency will increase this year.
9:09:12 AM Barry Schwartz: Google will also work on communication and transparency. For example, they tell people if their wordpress is out of date.
9:09:40 AM Brian Ussery: Google my begin to communicate with folks about other software the way they do wordpress.
9:09:53 AM Barry Schwartz: Google wants to be more transparency... Announce more of the search algo changes throughout the year
9:10:29 AM Barry Schwartz: Another trend is sending information to Google, such as for scraper sites ranking above you, what if you can ping google with information so they have it first.
9:10:42 AM Barry Schwartz: 1 foot view of future.
9:10:48 AM Brian Ussery: What if you could send a ping to Google to let Google know you've publised content
9:10:53 AM Barry Schwartz: This is what you can do now
1. Sign up for webmaster tools
2. enable email alert
3. set up fat pings pubsubhubbub.appspot.com
9:13:05 AM Brian Ussery: Matt Cutts computer loaned to Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu for chat?
9:13:19 AM Barry Schwartz: They asked Matt Cutts if they can use his computer for the Dalai Lama Google + Hangout. He gave it over to him.
9:13:45 AM Barry Schwartz: Matt Cutts announced Amit Singhal as his boss and the man who has the entire ranking algorithm in his head.
9:14:14 AM Barry Schwartz: Live Q&A time
9:14:22 AM Barry Schwartz: He has worked with Matt for 11 years
9:15:23 AM Barry Schwartz: He talks about the old times... They pushed out indexes monthly and there was a bug in the PR algo. How he worked with Matt telling Matt to get rid of the spam.
9:15:36 AM Barry Schwartz: He said he is a better person because he knows matt and then then they hug.
9:16:00 AM Brian Ussery: Question why isn't google tracking keywords via analytics?
9:16:14 AM Barry Schwartz: Q) Why not provide more detailed query data in webmaster tools because of the SSL feature that disabled some of it.
9:16:36 AM Brian Ussery: Matt: You can get the top 1,000 queries and 96% of sites get all queries.
9:16:52 AM Barry Schwartz: A) 96% of all sites get all of their queries by downloading the 1,000 queries from Google Webmaster Tools. To give it to the other 4%, it would increase their data storage 4 times.
9:16:59 AM Barry Schwartz: They are looking to upgrading it.
9:16:59 AM Brian Ussery: To increase query number would increase size by 3 to 5 times
9:17:32 AM Barry Schwartz: They are looking to do this via download or APIs.
9:17:34 AM Brian Ussery: The fact that 96% of queries come from Google Analytics is pretty impressive.
9:18:05 AM Brian Ussery: Sorry not Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools.
9:18:33 AM Barry Schwartz: Q) I noticed a sudden drop on one of his web sites, they do anti virus stuff. Sites are ranking above me that are lower quality. I submitted a reconsideration request and even tried calling. What do I do?
9:20:25 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Amit said they have been focusing on high quality sites this year. Our preference is to do things algorithmically, because they scale. Google has tested Panda. It has been a very positive change across all known measurements. All of their measurements said they have done a great thing. Our responsibility is to Google users first and at the same time to pubslihers who build the web. As Matt said, no algorithm is perfect, so please send us reports of issues.
9:20:42 AM Brian Ussery: No algo is perfect, please send feedback but Google is listening.
9:21:14 AM Brian Ussery: Google has created an excel sheet of 500 sites from a thread in Google Webmaster Help Forum.
9:21:46 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Matt said one misconception is that Google is not listening. They have a thread and they built a spreadsheet of 500+ sites from that thread. They are listening so submit stuff in that thread. But there is one guy on his team responsible for false positives.
9:21:57 AM Brian Ussery: Matt Cutts: Google wants to get it right but sometimes that takes time.
9:22:48 AM Barry Schwartz: Matt: The web is one of the only places where the small guy can move faster than the big ones. Intel had 13 redirects ending with a 404.
9:22:52 AM Brian Ussery: The web is one of the only places where small sites can beat large sites.
9:24:03 AM Brian Ussery: Big guys aren't always better than small guys.
9:24:16 AM Brian Ussery: Often what is online is also offline.
9:24:51 AM Brian Ussery: Returning high quality site is what users like
9:24:54 AM Barry Schwartz: Amit on the trade off of high quality and precision
9:25:14 AM Brian Ussery: There is something about brands that users associate with relevance.
9:25:36 AM Barry Schwartz: Google's algorithm looks for things that are good for relevance for users. Search quality is returning higher relevant sites.
9:25:37 AM Brian Ussery: The definition of search quality is to give more relevant high quality results.
9:25:45 AM Barry Schwartz: They do not care about brands persay
9:26:49 AM Barry Schwartz: Q) Someone said Google doesn't care about quality, specifically talking about how Google does a bad job on closed pages Google Places. He also gets phone calls from Google about checking on Google Places results.
9:27:31 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Matt answers it... He said Amit is a voice of purity... A small number of people can improve the quality while most of the team work on algorithms
9:27:43 AM Brian Ussery: According to Matt Google has spam fighters in 40 languages.
9:28:03 AM Barry Schwartz: There is still a little black hat stuff going on in local results... Matt's team doesn't work directly on maps, but they do try to help.
9:28:09 AM Brian Ussery: Matt says, his team helps maps.
9:28:31 AM Brian Ussery: Matt says the question is "who do you trust?"
9:28:37 AM Barry Schwartz: Who do you trust more? Internal Googlers, 3rd parties? etc. Matt said they are open to any way to how they handle local edits.
9:28:49 AM Brian Ussery: speaking of edits in Google Maps & Places
9:29:00 AM Barry Schwartz: That is brian's nose
Matt says, the maps team... WOW nice photo :)
9:29:53 AM Barry Schwartz: Q) SSL Search, Brett asks about it.
9:30:19 AM Brian Ussery: Matt uses encrypted.google.com 2 factor authentication
9:30:23 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Matt uses SSL and 2 form authentication. The trend is that search is becoming more personal and he expect search to become more personal in the upcoming months.
9:30:41 AM Brian Ussery: SSL works better in Chrome but Google is working from that.
9:30:53 AM Barry Schwartz: 96% of sites get all of their queries if they download it via GWT and they will add more features.
9:31:04 AM Brian Ussery: You can get 96% of queries from Google Webmaster Tools.
9:31:04 AM Barry Schwartz: People get upset about advertisers still getting queries.
9:31:29 AM Barry Schwartz: Advertisers optimzing for Hilton for the hotel, don't want to optimize for Paris Hilton searches. So they need to know what they are paying for.
9:31:54 AM Brian Ussery: Matt: Advertisers don't want to pay for "Paris Hilton" if they are buying "Hilton". If folks are paying they need to know if they are paying for the right word.
9:32:35 AM Barry Schwartz: Another reason, if you are an advertiser and Google says the referrer doesn't have a query, what will you do. You will download the top 1,000 queries that are in GWT. You will do exact matches based on the GWT keyword data. So you will be able to figure out the top queries this way anyway.
9:33:03 AM Barry Schwartz: Matt said they won't back off the SSL option. If anything they might move forward where advertisers wont get the information.
9:33:06 AM Brian Ussery: Matt doesn't expect Google to back off SSL. If anything they might move forward.
9:34:23 AM Brian Ussery: Next question about press releases: What can you do to prevent release from being duplicate content?
9:35:06 AM Brian Ussery: Links form press releases can be good but only when folks pick it up and create their own story.
9:35:19 AM Barry Schwartz: Amit said, as they focus on quality, they focus on authorship, who wrote what, who they are, who their friends are, etc.
9:35:29 AM Brian Ussery: Authorship, who knows what and who knows who that is what social is all about.
9:35:45 AM Barry Schwartz: End of the day, High Quality will win - said Amit.
9:36:01 AM Brian Ussery: AS explaining authorship and expertise importance in content.
9:36:03 AM Barry Schwartz: Amit added that is why we are proud of you for keeping to build high quality content.
9:37:18 AM Barry Schwartz: Matt asked, did you ask me how to effectively spam Google with doorway pages.
9:37:31 AM Barry Schwartz: lol
9:38:13 AM Barry Schwartz: Matt said in general they try to remove the part of the site that is spamming. Sometimes they take action on the entire site.
9:38:32 AM Brian Ussery: Google reserves the right to prune or snip part of a site.
9:38:35 AM Barry Schwartz: But do not do what you want to do... It is very high risk.
9:38:58 AM Brian Ussery: Matt suggests telling boss that doorway pages are a bad idea.
9:39:09 AM Brian Ussery: AS says don't do it man
9:39:42 AM Barry Schwartz: Q) I am looking to hire an SEO, everyone keeps telling me, "you need more links." I don't see how links will improve the quality of my site. It seems like such a gamed system. Guidance please...
9:40:29 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Matt, what matters is not ranking on all your phrases, what most matters is how much money you are making. Links is a part of it. It is gamed but it is much worse than it is. None of the tools show you which links Google actually trusts. So keep that in mind.
9:41:04 AM Barry Schwartz: People do not see which links Google trusts and do no trust.
9:41:16 AM Brian Ussery: The link structure on the web but they could easily be misinterpreted
9:41:25 AM Brian Ussery: Not all links are counted
9:41:38 AM Barry Schwartz: When the NY Times wrote an article about flower sites spamming Google, they took a look at those spam links and not one of those links counted. Not one!
9:42:00 AM Brian Ussery: Really good editorial links can be good along with 200+ other signals but just random links not so much.
9:42:32 AM Brian Ussery: Only Google knows what links they are actually counting.
9:42:47 AM Brian Ussery: Next question back to SSL:
9:43:03 AM Barry Schwartz: Q) Back to SSL, I've seen some clients with 30% "nolisted" and you said less than 10%. What are you guys going to do to get this data?
9:43:04 AM Brian Ussery: What can you do if 30% of keywords aren't shown
9:43:48 AM Barry Schwartz: A) We believe in the privacy, which is why we say privacy is the reason. You may not agree, but that is how we feel.
9:44:59 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Regarding the high percentages. I said when this is fully rolled out, single digits will be affected. That has been the case, but some individual sites are above 10%. On aggregate, it is less than 10%.
9:48:33 AM Barry Schwartz: Q) Matt, Can we go back in time to get the SSL missing queries historically? Amit, what is your biggest tip to SEOs?
9:48:40 AM Brian Ussery: Danny asking what is the biggest tip you can give in tweet format?
9:49:11 AM Brian Ussery: Matt says Google is considering providing 2,000 queries or 60 days of data.
9:49:14 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Matt: We have a choice, we can either give more data, i.e. top 2000 queries. Or we can give you data in the past 60 days as opposed to 30 days. We do not care... We can go either way.
9:49:22 AM Barry Schwartz: They might do more vs longer.
9:49:55 AM Brian Ussery: Matt asking if folks would rather have more queries or go back in time
9:50:05 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Matt polled, 60% prefer back in time vs more data.
9:50:08 AM Brian Ussery: Go back in time wins here 60 -40
9:50:34 AM Barry Schwartz: A) Amit: Google considers a high quality site a site you would tell your child to go learn about a topic from that site.
9:50:47 AM Brian Ussery: AS: what does google consider a high quality site. High quality is content you can send you child to to learn something
9:50:54 AM Barry Schwartz: That is all... Great session. Next session in about 10 minutes!