SMX Live: You&A With Matt Cutts (2012)

Jun 5, 2012 - 7:55 pm 5 by

Below is live coverage of the You&A With Matt Cutts panel from the SMX Advanced 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.

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Barry Schwartz: 4:02:29 pm
They start off by showing this video
Barry Schwartz: 4:02:33 pm
Really funny
Barry Schwartz: 4:03:04 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:03:12 pm
The stage
Barry Schwartz: 4:05:05 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:05:20 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:06:09 pm
Danny lost an experimental phone
Barry Schwartz: 4:06:21 pm
Matt has the Google Glasses on them
Barry Schwartz: 4:06:29 pm
so does danny
Barry Schwartz: 4:06:43 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:06:46 pm
Early prototypes
Barry Schwartz: 4:07:00 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:07:07 pm
Matt has an app that lets him see link buyers
Barry Schwartz: 4:07:19 pm
If you see, they tape android phones to the huge glasses
Barry Schwartz: 4:07:47 pm
What is going on with Penguin?
Barry Schwartz: 4:08:40 pm
Google says this is not really a penalty
Barry Schwartz: 4:09:04 pm
Panda is between web spam and low quality
Barry Schwartz: 4:09:22 pm
Penguin was for the stuff Panda did not catch
Barry Schwartz: 4:09:44 pm
Penguin was designed to tackle web spam, it does demote web results, but it is not a penalty because it wasn't manual
Barry Schwartz: 4:09:59 pm
There is no whitelist for it, like Panda
Barry Schwartz: 4:10:08 pm
This is now one new signal as part of Google's 200+ signals
Barry Schwartz: 4:10:44 pm
Q) I always thought a penalty was algorithmic or manual, so going forward, should we consider penalties to only be manual?
Barry Schwartz: 4:11:18 pm
A) Yea, that is pretty much the lingo we use in Google. We don't use "penalty" anymore, we use "manual action" vs an algorithmic thing...
Barry Schwartz: 4:11:30 pm
Penalty is you got a manual slap
Barry Schwartz: 4:12:39 pm
Google has gotten more transparent about what they do on the manual side. Ifyou get a manual action on your site, you likely will hear about it (99%) via Google Webmaster Tools messages
Barry Schwartz: 4:13:59 pm
They did a penguin update may 25th
Barry Schwartz: 4:14:40 pm
Danny brings up the WordPress (WPMU) theme site that was hit by Penguin and Matt said they made a nice change
Barry Schwartz: 4:15:02 pm
Matt said they did recover because of the algo update and what they cleaned up.
Barry Schwartz: 4:15:09 pm
Danny brings up negative SEO...
Barry Schwartz: 4:15:22 pm
Matt said it is interesting this comes up around Penguin....
Barry Schwartz: 4:16:02 pm
Matt said it is interesting to see the reaction about it because negative SEO has been around a long time. And Google has changed the words they've used in their guidelines about this.
Barry Schwartz: 4:16:13 pm
It is possible for people to do things to sites, like steal domains...
Barry Schwartz: 4:16:35 pm
Any time Google thinks about an algo they try to make sure there are not false positives. Even with Penguin they worked hard on this.
Barry Schwartz: 4:17:23 pm
Matt said, people ask for a way to mark which links to remove. And Google will work on that in the next few months! See (knew it)
Barry Schwartz: 4:18:07 pm
Matt said people sell links and despite us not counting it, they are penalizing it because they are profiting off of it and they want people to know, this particular link scheme is a waste of time and money.
Barry Schwartz: 4:18:20 pm
Danny, do those unnatural link messages mean those are a manual penalty?
Barry Schwartz: 4:18:46 pm
Matt, yes - that is the differentiator... algo wouldn't send out a notification
Aaron Friedman: 4:18:58 pm
I am glad you were right :-)
Barry Schwartz: 4:19:52 pm
Matt, said of the 700,000 messages sent out, the largest category was pure black hat spam, then black hat but unnatural links was a small part.
Barry Schwartz: 4:20:05 pm
Matt said Google is completely transparent
Barry Schwartz: 4:20:37 pm
Matt, typically if you get a notification you will see a downgrade in rankings.
Barry Schwartz: 4:20:45 pm
Danny, anything new on paid links?
Barry Schwartz: 4:21:10 pm
Matt, always working on improving our tools and how we can spot different methods for spotting thngs like paid links, blog networks and link buying...
Barry Schwartz: 4:21:44 pm
Matt said, you might think you are very careful but the person on the other side wont be as careful. There are almost always footprints.
Barry Schwartz: 4:22:04 pm
Google is enforcing it more and more recently
Barry Schwartz: 4:22:26 pm
Danny, people are saying, everyone else is doing paid links so got to do it...
Barry Schwartz: 4:22:37 pm
Matt said, if everyone is jumping off the bridge, then...
Barry Schwartz: 4:22:57 pm
Matt, most SEOs say SEO is much harder now than it was back in 2004. And it keeps getting harder.
Barry Schwartz: 4:23:11 pm
Matt was not happy how they handled spam back in 2004 and now he is much happier
Barry Schwartz: 4:23:48 pm
Danny, affiliate links, should they be nofollowed?
Barry Schwartz: 4:24:08 pm
Matt, we handle these well. But even though we handle them fine, if you are worried, do a nofollow.
Barry Schwartz: 4:24:21 pm
Danny, when you launched in Google, links were votes...
Barry Schwartz: 4:24:34 pm
That has changed? it is the "democracy of the web?"
Barry Schwartz: 4:26:17 pm
Matt, Douglas Adam said Space is Big.... the fact is the web is like that. Everyone in this room, 235TB of data, YouTube gets 72 hours of video upload any minute. There is more data being generated on the web anywhere else. The fact is, links are not dying because ifyou look at the actual percentage of nofollowed links on the web it is less than a percent or so.
Barry Schwartz: 4:27:00 pm
Danny: 30 day challenges are your thing, like I am going to use Bing for 30 days or so.
Barry Schwartz: 4:27:13 pm
Matt said, I try to do good habits (joking)
Barry Schwartz: 4:27:45 pm
Danny, i'd like to see you or your team, and spend 30 days building links for a small little business and see how it is.
Barry Schwartz: 4:28:25 pm
Danny, basically to put their shoes on your feet and then give them your shoes so they can see what Googlers feel. B/c their is a disconnect.
Barry Schwartz: 4:28:32 pm
So do that as a disconnect.
Barry Schwartz: 4:28:42 pm
Matt, that is one of the reasons I started a blog.
Barry Schwartz: 4:29:00 pm
Matt, that is why many of the people on his team have small non biz related web sites.
Barry Schwartz: 4:29:19 pm
Danny, what is up with the war on SEOs?
Barry Schwartz: 4:29:27 pm
Matt, it is a war on spam, not SEOs
Barry Schwartz: 4:30:07 pm
Matt, how do I look real, how do I have real links, look natural, etc... that is what people are talking about.
Barry Schwartz: 4:30:12 pm
Matt, just be real!
Barry Schwartz: 4:30:46 pm
Danny, you guys consider bounce rate off a search result to the site?
Barry Schwartz: 4:31:25 pm
Matt, we do not use Google Analytics in their rankings. But bounce rate from the search results is noisy. There are redirects, spam, etc.
Barry Schwartz: 4:31:56 pm
Matt, when the Google Toolbar had the happy/sad face. 75% were happy face and you saw happy face rings.
Barry Schwartz: 4:32:17 pm
Matt, bounce rate doesn't measure quick answers you get. You get the answer and leave, so it isn't a good metric for Google to use.
Barry Schwartz: 4:33:14 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:35:13 pm
Q) I asked if there was an update (as a joke)
Barry Schwartz: 4:35:33 pm
A) Matt said, barry emails me once a week asking if there was an update. Yea, no update but it was funny.
Barry Schwartz: 4:37:02 pm
Q) Is 10% still [not provided]?
Barry Schwartz: 4:37:40 pm
A) The trend continues to get larger and places like Firefox are starting to adopt SSL search also. That puts marketers at a disadvantage but we need to put users first.
Barry Schwartz: 4:37:58 pm
A) So they released more data to make up for it in Google Webmaster Tools
Barry Schwartz: 4:39:00 pm
Side note, they threw a penguin at me - so I am keeping it
Barry Schwartz: 4:39:53 pm
Q) Just make it happen in Google Analytics
Barry Schwartz: 4:40:03 pm
A) Analytics has a lot more machines and Webmaster Tools does not.
Barry Schwartz: 4:40:15 pm
Q) Where is the block site feature and then it goes away and comes back and goes away
Barry Schwartz: 4:40:38 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:41:00 pm
A) You can block sites with Google extension in chrome and they are bringing it back into the SERPs, there is a bug
Barry Schwartz: 4:41:12 pm
A) They did use that data for Panda
Barry Schwartz: 4:41:37 pm
Q) What about the sites linked to WordPress, why didn't they get hit by Penguin
Barry Schwartz: 4:41:57 pm
A) WordPress sites linking to WordPress are much more reputable in general compared to those WPMU
Barry Schwartz: 4:42:05 pm
Q) Why isn't AdWords SSL secure?
Barry Schwartz: 4:42:53 pm
A) I wouldn't mind revisiting it personally. But because AdWords customers would do exact matches only and their keyword lists would swell. So a much larger matching. There is a logistical reason for it he said.
Barry Schwartz: 4:43:23 pm
Q) If you submit a warning for unnatural links do you submit a reconsideration request?
Barry Schwartz: 4:43:31 pm
A) Yes, because it was a manual penalty
Barry Schwartz: 4:44:19 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 4:44:23 pm
Matt is now playing with Penguin and Panda
Barry Schwartz: 4:45:31 pm
Post Panda, Google's spam team works much closer with search quality team...
Barry Schwartz: 4:45:44 pm
So those two groups is much more intergrated
Barry Schwartz: 4:46:15 pm
Q) Rich snippet spam???
Barry Schwartz: 4:47:09 pm
A) Why can't I get rich snippets people asked him and now people ask why do these other people have rich snippets, they are stinky... Now there are hacked sites abuse rich snippets. so they made some algo changes and they are getting harsher with that and if you abuse them, they may never let you use it anymore, etc
Barry Schwartz: 4:47:49 pm
A) We got a unnatural link warning, the SEO company is no longer in business
Barry Schwartz: 4:48:52 pm
A) Matt, we want to see a real effort in that you remove those links. We want to see effort. We look at a random sample to see if those links are removed or not. If you remove 90% or so, you are in better shape. We understand it is difficult and we are talking to the webmaster tools to add a disavow link feature.
Barry Schwartz: 4:49:26 pm
Danny said, make sacrificial links so you can take them down whenever you get a message to show good will.
Barry Schwartz: 4:50:06 pm
Q) if you can't get rid of the bad links, can you get rid of the page itself?
Barry Schwartz: 4:50:26 pm
A) You can do that if you don't need the page. It shows effort, people even scanned in images of letters they sent to people to remove links.
Barry Schwartz: 4:50:42 pm
Q) What percent of web spam reports do you take action on?
Barry Schwartz: 4:51:17 pm
A) We have a good list of leads (spam sites) ourselves. We have shut down tens or hundreds of thousand of these sites. So we have to take into account one spam report vs what they have.
Barry Schwartz: 4:53:44 pm
Google +1s data has to compete with the other signals just like any other signal. Just to +1 by itself won't affect its ranking.
Barry Schwartz: 4:55:06 pm
Danny, badgering Matt on +1s and how much Google is pushing it
Barry Schwartz: 4:55:48 pm
Matt, I am taking the opposite stance and don't use Google+ for a purpose of ranking. But he is careful with his words cause he can't say don't use it and he can't say use it.
Barry Schwartz: 4:56:06 pm
Q) Why did you call it Penguin? (I asked this)
Barry Schwartz: 4:56:35 pm
A) Panda was named after a lead engineer... The engineer that did it was asked to named it and he picked Penguin.
Barry Schwartz: 4:56:50 pm
Q) If you were hit by Penguin and Panda, should I just give up?
Barry Schwartz: 4:57:08 pm
A) Sometimes, but both are algorithmic and if you change the site and your signals, then you can come back.
Barry Schwartz: 4:58:07 pm
Q) Paid inclusion...
Barry Schwartz: 4:58:35 pm
Q) is it coming to web search? you guys said it is never coming... and now...
Barry Schwartz: 4:59:22 pm
A) It is disclosed, it is a separate box. It is about disclosure. Googles' web rankings are as pure as they were 10 years ago. We have lots of things around it.
Barry Schwartz: 5:00:35 pm
Q) I do a search query on your name on your name and people are really really mean to you... Do you just shrug it off.
Barry Schwartz: 5:01:38 pm
A) Well... I have a lot of people yell at me over the years, I've had time to develop a thick skin. You want to be apathetic. And we try to listen to the criticism within the hate of some of those emails.
Barry Schwartz: 5:02:53 pm
Matt said, it is funny to see people on black hat forums saying I am going to do X,Y Z and then it doesnt work and they say "it is not fair."
Barry Schwartz: 5:03:03 pm
Q) What is cool that you like in search now?
Barry Schwartz: 5:04:09 pm
A) Stuff I can't tell you about... But I do like knowledge graph... telling people you are spamming is nice....
Barry Schwartz: 5:04:15 pm
Q) just in general?
Barry Schwartz: 5:04:34 pm
A) I enjoy the fitbit thing
Barry Schwartz: 5:05:17 pm
That is about it for today, see you tomorrow
Barry Schwartz: 5:05:33 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 5:05:44 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 5:06:01 pm
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