Vlog #52: Fili Wiese - Former Google Search Quality Analyst Turned SEO

Mar 9, 2020 • 8:16 am | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine Roundtable Vlog by Barry Schwartz
 

Fili Wiese

After years and years of knowing Fili Wiese, the two of us sat down one-on-one to discuss SEO. Fili Wiese is most well known for his work at a Googler, working with Google Search Quality in 2007 and stayed with the company for almost seven years. He then left Google to do SEO and is now full time at SearchBrothers.com with another former Googler Kaspar Szymanski. Yea, interesting...

Here are the timestamps for the sections of this talk:

  • 2:20 - Google Search Quality Analyst
  • 6:22 - How Google Manually Penalizes Web Sites
  • 7:32 - Becoming An SEO Consultant
  • 11:16 - Google Penalties & Manual Actions
  • 19:10 - Disavow Link Tool & Nofollow

He had a web hosting company in the early days, this was before Google was big. He then left that company and joined Google in 2005 because he had a passion for coding and information retrieval. We briefly talked about how librarians see search and how that is unique. He joined the search quality team early one, when it was first being formed. We briefly discussed how the organization structured worked back then between Matt Cutts’ team, search quality team and the webmaster trends team. He worked mostly with organic search quality and then spend a bit of time with the ad team to work on quality there, specifically working on invalid clicks.

Fili personally penalized over hundreds of thousands of web sites over his tenure at Google. He discussed the different methods used to issue and find penalties. Also, he said there is a good chance that your site was once penalized by him.

There are a few Googlers that have turned into SEO consultants over the years. Fili is one of them, but there are some others. SearchBrothers is a two person consulting first with two former Googlers. He said just being the two of them, they can discuss things that the NDA would not allow for, because it is just two former Googlers. I asked, is it fair, that Fili can sell SEO services? We kind of didn’t get into the answer but jumped to some topics around keyword stuffing and he shared an example of a site that did this; a funny case.

We then talk about Google penalties and I asked what do people do not know when it comes to spam. He said that even if something is not specifically written in the Google webmaster guidelines, it can still be marked as spam, based on the intent. He said Google is now about policing the web but rather protecting its search results. We then talked about Penguin, algorithmic penalties versus manual actions. Fili explained that with manual actions, you need to take care of it, because it prevents your site from growing. Fili said every penalty is solvable, and it might not be wise to trash the domain to move forward, despite some previous advice.

We also discussed the disavow link tool, what to do if Google gets rid of it. He doesn’t seem to be a fan of the idea that some Googlers want to get rid of the disavow tool.

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