While most of the people who take our seminar know what Google is, they have no clue on how it works. Matt Cutts works at Google, and is used to speaking to people who eat sleep and breathe Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so- some of this will be over a lot of peoples heads- but- he’s posted a series of videos of himself- answering questions:
Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO Â» Google/SEO
I’ve linked to his category- so as he adds more video, they should all be there. As of this writing, he has 10 videos, each about 5 minutes each. The bad thing about answering these as video, is that Google can’t index everything he says- a transcript- which would help him actually achieve Search Engine Optimization. Remember, google can’t tell what a picture, a video, or a podcast contains unless you explain it- either in Alt text or descriptions. Tagging each video with keywords helps, but nothing beats a complete transcript or a very good text description. By writing about his videos and linking back to them, I’m helping make his site rank higher on the subject of Search Engine Optimization- how ’bout that!
Some things I picked up from watching all 50 minutes (so you won’t have to):
Google likes content- optimized for both SEO and the user experience. It doesn’t help to have all the keywords if people don’t want to stick around on your site.
Google doesn’t give blogs a higher rank- however, if your site is totally “crawlable” and has clean code- that sure helps. W3C validation is good- but not totally critical to Google. He says the reason is simple: something like 40% of code out there has syntax errors. If you don’t know what a syntax error is- that’s an even better reason to use something like WordPress which writes most of your code for you.
Speaking of WordPress- I would almost bet my TiVo that Matt is using WordPress for his blog/site- I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
One thing he was pretty clear about- Google people don’t like to be fooled. SEO games to build rank are frowned upon. Always make your site look the same to the googlebot as a regular visitor would see it. Hiding white text on a white background would be bad. The issues of localization and cloaking are described pretty well- and if you need to know more- watch the videos.
If you don’t want to be a Search Engine Optimization slave- the simple answer is have good content- original content. Don’t copy and paste- quote and discuss. The more content you have on your topic- the better.
And as a note- Matt, if you do see this, I’d be honored to have a comment on this site!