SMX Live: Ask The Search Engines

Mar 10, 2011 - 4:05 pm 0 by
Filed Under SMX West 2011

Live Blogging Coverage SMXBelow is live coverage of the Ask The Search Engines panel from the SMX West 2011 conference. This coverage is provided by Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick and Brian Ussery aka beussery.

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.

Finished Auto-Refresh: Off
Barry Schwartz: 1:17:43 pm
Here we go...
Barry Schwartz: 1:18:31 pm
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Barry Schwartz: 1:19:39 pm
Matt Cutts, Software Engineer , Google Inc.
Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager – Webmaster Outreach, Microsoft
Rich Skrenta, CEO, Blekko
Barry Schwartz: 1:20:05 pm
Duane is the public face of Bing in the forums and blogs...
Barry Schwartz: 1:22:06 pm
Rich of Blekko founded DMOZ and now bans them
Brian Ussery: 1:23:39 pm
Ask The Search Engines
You’ve heard the lingo: PageRank sculpting, duplicate content penalties, canonical tags, sitemap structure, nofollow… and most recently a lot about the potential impact of Google Instant. In this session, you can ask questions and get direct answers from engineers from Google, Microsoft and the other search engines about crawling, indexing, ranking and other organic search issues.

Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land

Q&A Moderator: Robin Aguilar, Principal SEO Analyst, AOL

Matt Cutts, Software Engineer , Google Inc.
Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager Webmaster Outreach, Microsoft
Rich Skrenta, CEO, Blekko
Barry Schwartz: 1:23:56 pm
Using segmentation programs on your web site, showing one version to another and another version to another -- is that cloaking?
Fabio Ricotta: 1:24:08 pm
The last SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday was an interview with Duane - it was awesome
Barry Schwartz: 1:24:08 pm
Bing said, be careful, it can be an issue.
Barry Schwartz: 1:24:34 pm
Matt said there are valid reasons. The test, do you have code specific for GoogleBot, then it is high risk.
Brian Ussery: 1:24:57 pm
Matt: If you treat Googlebot differently you might be detected as cloaking by Google.

Barry Schwartz: 1:26:30 pm
Links from syndication web sites help or hurt?
Brian Ussery: 1:26:50 pm
Matt: First click free might be one exception but the best rule is to ask if you're doing something special for search engines.

Danny: Does Google take cookies?

Matt: no

Danny: Do links from articles get treated as unique content?

Duane: No
Barry Schwartz: 1:27:17 pm
Bing: Look at the quality of the site your links come from. We are good at seeing patterns and they can see the same content and links duplicated 200 times.
Brian Ussery: 1:27:37 pm
Duane: It's your choice but not a wise investment of time...

Brian Ussery: 1:29:34 pm
Danny making a joke about Matt coping Duane's answer :)

Matt says syndicated article links don't count as much and we try to not count those links as much.

Rich: At Blekko, we detect duplicate content and we try to determine the first article and then ranking to determine the canonical.
Brian Ussery: 1:30:24 pm
Duane suggests not syndicating content to build links.
Brian Ussery: 1:30:46 pm
Duane says contact other experts....
Brian Ussery: 1:32:18 pm
Danny: How do you build links in a 100% white hat manner?

Danny points out that the New York Times quotes him without a link and links to spammers.

Barry Schwartz: 1:34:11 pm
Matt said, People think, I need to rank in search engines to get traffic and to do that I need links...
Brian Ussery: 1:34:19 pm
Matt says to get links be exceptional and people will link to you
Barry Schwartz: 1:34:32 pm
But you shouldn't think that way.. think what you can do different and fun to get people to really like your site...
Brian Ussery: 1:34:36 pm
Matt mentions woot as an example
Barry Schwartz: 1:34:49 pm
Ask yourself, how is my site different from the rest in the room and then think, how can you make it more different.
Brian Ussery: 1:34:55 pm
Matt says be different and the links will follow.
Barry Schwartz: 1:35:19 pm
Duane, have a passion for what you do and that will come through...
Brian Ussery: 1:35:19 pm
Duane agrees with Matt and says be passionate and you'll be successful...
Barry Schwartz: 1:35:55 pm
Duane from Bing said how many links you need to rank well?
Brian Ussery: 1:36:07 pm
Duane: how many links do you need on a page to rank well.
Barry Schwartz: 1:36:11 pm
Duane said you don't always need hundreds of links to indicate to a search engine
Barry Schwartz: 1:38:29 pm
Danny asked, can we get a PageRank this button so people can say they like this site... Hey you have block this site now...
Brian Ussery: 1:38:44 pm
Danny: Why no like button from Goggle?

Matt: Cool, I'll mention it to the team
Barry Schwartz: 1:39:12 pm
Matt's wife actually drew the happy and sad faces on the Google Toolbar
Brian Ussery: 1:39:18 pm
Matt: My wife drew the happy and frown buttons for the first Google Toolbar
Barry Schwartz: 1:39:18 pm
I did not know that
Keri Morgret: 1:39:20 pm
click for full size
Brian Ussery: 1:41:05 pm
Danny: Do tweeted links rank higher than others?

Matt: I don't think so but starting this week social features may change that a bit for individuals.

Brian Ussery: 1:42:59 pm
Danny: How should new Q&A sites treat pages with questions but no answer?

Rich says site is low quality.

Brian Ussery: 1:43:31 pm
Rich: likes pr for launching a new site. Cool content is cheap
Barry Schwartz: 1:43:38 pm
Rich is ranting about SEOs, he said he was an SEO (well, he implied it) and now he is a search engine blocking spam
Fabio Ricotta: 1:44:45 pm
Another prove that tweets can boost rankings is searching for "excel guide" and finding the Distilled guide published yesterday
Brian Ussery: 1:46:54 pm
Rich: Create unique content and you'll get links...

Matt: Forums are organic and grow as such. If you run a really good forum that is good and content is valuable.

Duane: As Matt said, social media everyone acts like social media is a new thing but does anyone remember the old days?
Brian Ussery: 1:47:34 pm
Duane: If you want to write a q&a site become the leading expert on your subject.
Barry Schwartz: 1:47:40 pm
click for full size
Barry Schwartz: 1:48:04 pm
click for full size
Brian Ussery: 1:48:16 pm
Danny: What about exact match domains and anchor text?

Matt: We are looking into this
Barry Schwartz: 1:48:23 pm
What is Google stance on paid press release submission...
Barry Schwartz: 1:48:36 pm
Duane said, so buying links again?
Bryant: 1:48:45 pm
Matt using a thinkpad and not a CR48?
Barry Schwartz: 1:49:02 pm
@Bryant, pictures don't lie...
Barry Schwartz: 1:50:35 pm
Matt said the directly linked link on a press release they generally do not want to count.
Brian Ussery: 1:51:03 pm
Danny: What about links in paid press releases?


Duane: If it is part of a bigger promotion then sure maybe use a pr agency. Most press releases today nobody sees. Be thoughtful.

Matt: Directly paid link doesn't count but if editor writes article that is where you might accomplish the goal.
Barry Schwartz: 1:51:49 pm
Matt said don't hide text... Even using CSS to do so.
Barry Schwartz: 1:52:39 pm
Can links hurt you? How do you stay safe?
Barry Schwartz: 1:52:56 pm
Matt said they have a monthly meeting with the webmaster tools team... and this came up....
Barry Schwartz: 1:53:22 pm
Basically, people want a way to give Google a list of links they do not want to count.
Brian Ussery: 1:53:23 pm
Danny: What can we do when link farms link to us?

Matt: For the most part those links aren't counted.
Barry Schwartz: 1:53:37 pm
but this is low on Google's to do list...
Brian Ussery: 1:53:49 pm
Matt: We try to make it so others cant hurt you
Bryant: 1:54:12 pm
If this is Q&A can you how paid directory submissions are treated?
Syed Hussaini: 1:55:38 pm
It seems that online-exclusive retailers have become disadvantaged with new placement (& design) of the local listings - it seems they're becoming more prominent by the day. Considering that even consumers are increasingly buy online, are there any possible adjustments pending - that could balance the local business / regular organic listings prominence?
Brian Ussery: 1:57:15 pm
How does blekko id spam?


Potential Blekko spam signals:
Aggressive participation in ad networks
Low rank
Thin content
Brian Ussery: 1:59:02 pm
Danny setting up Matt with with AdSense question :)
Barry Schwartz: 1:59:13 pm
How many spam clicks does it take to wipe someone out in Blekko?
Barry Schwartz: 1:59:24 pm
"I do not have that data" Rich said.
Brian Ussery: 1:59:32 pm
How many spam clicks doe it take to be marked as spam in blekko

Rich: don't have info
Barry Schwartz: 1:59:39 pm
Rich said we do not consume XML Sitemaps, we like links humans can see.
Brian Ussery: 1:59:53 pm
Blekko is only four months old
Barry Schwartz: 2:00:03 pm
Danny said, are you not a grown up search engine? ;-) Rich said we are 4 months old.
Brian Ussery: 2:00:33 pm
Why did crawl rate decline with Panda?

Matt: we may crawl less if you have poor quality content
Barry Schwartz: 2:12:41 pm
Barry Schwartz: 2:13:09 pm
Sorry about that... They decided to update the RAM on all of our servers at the same time. It was suppose to be one server at a time with no down time... Sorry...
Barry Schwartz: 2:13:49 pm
Lighting Round...
Barry Schwartz: 2:14:15 pm
Why does Webmaster Tools show old data...
Brian Ussery: 2:14:22 pm
Barry Schwartz: 2:14:22 pm
It takes time to update
Barry Schwartz: 2:15:04 pm
Last Q:
Brian Ussery: 2:15:18 pm
Danny joking that Maile only knows Sitemap answers...
Barry Schwartz: 2:15:34 pm
Sites rip off my content and then outrank me... what can I do?
Brian Ussery: 2:16:00 pm
Matt: Low quality content and helping authors
Barry Schwartz: 2:16:15 pm
Google will be working hard on this, this coming year...
Brian Ussery: 2:16:16 pm
these will be themes this year.
Barry Schwartz: 2:16:33 pm
Google said it would be cool to say in Webmaster Tools to say this is my content.
Barry Schwartz: 2:16:59 pm
Most of the time, scrapers link to you.... but it is something on Google's radar for 2011

Brian Ussery: 2:17:30 pm
Matt: I don't worry about scrapers on my site
Syed Hussaini: 2:18:37 pm
What do you think Fabio?
Kanwar: 2:18:43 pm
How search engines differentiate between good and poor content?
Brian Ussery: 2:18:54 pm
Duane: Maybe you need to look at business model and see where I should be asking for value.
Barry Schwartz: 2:20:35 pm
In ten minutes, next up...

* Ask The SEOs - Barry Schwartz
*Conversion Optimization Science - Keri Morgret
Brian Ussery: 2:20:41 pm
Matt has three potential features for poll:

More transparency

Want to be able to say this links dont count

What about 404s

Expedited removal
Brian Ussery: 2:21:36 pm
Duane says I'd like to know more from you.

Rich says he likes 404 outbound and is going to try to implement before google
Brian Ussery: 2:22:19 pm
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