Matt Cutts You & A at SMX Advanced LIVE Google+ "Blog"

UPDATE: Now complete! Session is over.

Starting in about 5 minutes at 5 PM PDT I will live blog the Matt Cutts "You & A" question and answer session on this post (if the conference wifi holds up). Refresh every few minutes for updates for everything +Matt Cutts reveals (or obscures ;-)!

#smx   #mattcutts   #seo  


Danny: Any new announcements?

Matt: I'll intersperse them between questions.

Matt and Danny are throwing little hummingbirds into audience.

Matt: Another aspect of the Payday Loan update will be coming out soon, maybe tomorrow or later this week. Tackles different things than previous rollout. This will go after spammy queries; previous one was after spammy sites. 

Danny: What happened to meta filter (like Digg before Digg)? Looked like he got hit by Panda, but Google said there was none at the time. 

Matt: Was not Panda. I have a ton of respect for Matt (the owner). Affected by an algorithmic update, but not Panda or Penguin. Osner's report was good feedback for their engineers. They've been in touch with him. Haven't yet found signals that could help, but they're working on it.

Owner  was concerned about all the link removal requests he was getting. Cutts said that was not the problem. Google had not told anyone that the Meta Filter site was a problem for their links. 

Matt: Trying to figure out how to handle reconsideration requests better. Building into templates for recon requests an open space for notes, so that Google can give the webmaster better idea of what he still needs to do. 

(Matt just beaned a woman with a stuffed hummingbird!)

Danny: Rolled out Panda 4 and Payday Loans 2.0 on same day. Messed with heads of webmasters who got hit. Why not tell people what hit them? 

Matt: Fair feedback. What happened was "an interesting indexing situation" where the two overlapped more than they intended. We want to show in GWT things that are actionable. Panda is a long term thing to fix. Also there are 500,000 algorithm things that could affect someone, not just the "named" ones. 

Danny: Why not a Google "weather" service?

Matt: We do try to announce large changes. But yes, good feedback.

Matt: Webmaster Tools check it out: Fetch and render as Googlebot gives better view of what Google actually sees on your site. Much more to come. Over next few months:

 - better robots.txt testing
 - continue to make site moves easier
 - better reports about language version syntax
 - error reporting for apps

Danny: Penguin update since Oct?

Matt: I don't believe we have. Probably about time...

Danny: I get link removal requests for Search Engine Land (for links they spammed into our comments). I tell them maybe you should delete the comment. They say they didn't know it was in a comment. They were depending on a tool that autogenerates emails to the supposed bad sites. You make people do this link walk of shame, but now its a punishment for publishers. Why not just disavow links and leave the publishers out?

Matt: Point taken, pendulum might be too far on the "link walk of shame." But it's tricky. Want to make sure all the white hat people aren't put at disadvantage because of the bad guys.Wouldn't be fair if they could spam and then get out too quickly.

Danny: Remember when you said we were going to get kw data back on GWT?

Matt: We're still working on it.

Danny: Give us the forever data. You have the machines. 

Danny: Guest blogging for links is dead, right? Then why are major companies still doing it?

Matt: Takes time for even large sites to get the memo.

Danny: Is linkbuilidng just dead at this point?

Matt: No, it's not dead. People in this room have a different view of the web than avg people. Actually the no-follows on the web is a very small minority of links. 

(Side comment: "Bing is a perfectly fine search engine" - Danny suggests this as a tag line for Bing!)

Duanne Forrester wrote that if you know where your links are coming from you're doing it wrong. Matt says that's a bit too far. Matt says his linkbuilding strategy is to post useful things with a unique perspective. Easier to be real than to fake being real. The era of ranking shortcuts is quickly coming to an end. 

Danny: Video about page w/o links, that it didn't work.

Matt: Old days engines didn't have links.

Danny: would it work now?

Matt: Context of that video was that there are other things to do than just links.

Danny Author Rank

Matt: Can't get into that. The long term trend is that we will use that data more. 

Danny: Aren't you useng that now?

Matt: I'm a big fan of the idea behind AR. But when is it coming? That's a more difficult problem to solve.

Matt: We are open to looking at all sorts of signals, but I'm not going to say any particular signal works. 

Danny: Wouldn't engagement figures be helpful?

Matt: My experience is that it's noisy, skewed and gets spammed. Not off the table for the far future. but I'm skeptical about it.

Danny: Are you preferring an https over http?

Matt: As far as I know there is no preference now. I'm a fan of getting the web more encrypted.

Danny: expiration of manual actions? 

Matt: Some penalties have an expiration that's short. Worse ones (black hats) will last much longer, potentially years. But even that has an expiration eventually. GWT no longer allows you to do a reconsideration req if there is no manual action in effect. 

Danny: Is the KG carrousel gone crazy? It resets after every click.

Matt: Havent' seen that, will pass it on.

Danny" Is Google+ dead

Matt: Google+ is not dead. We are not currently using +1's in general ranking. 

Danny other social data? Facebook links?

Matt: We don't have a deal with Twitter and Facebook so we have to try to crawl them like other web pages. If their links are no-followed, we honor the no-follow.

Danny: Can I reavow a disavowed link?

Matt: Can, but there's a big time lag. 

Danny: How do I reavow?

Matt; Upload new disavow file without the link. But be careful about trying to game that.

Danny: The future of search in one word?

Matt: No.

Danny: Responsive or what for mobile?

Matt: I tend to like responsive. All will work with Google. Mobile is important. It will be most of your traffic soon. If you aren't thinking about it, you need to now. For example: do your forms have markup for auto complete?

DAnny: Site speed as a ranking factor. Penalty or better if you're good.

Matt: More if you're really slow, it will hurt you than a boost for fast sites. 

Matt: We need to do a better job of reaching out to small businesses and other non-SEOs. 

Danny: What about neg SEO?

Matt: We're aware that people worry about it. We try to do the algo so it's not a useful thing to do.

Danny: Fave SEO tools?

Matt: Fetch as Google Bot.

Matt: One of the ideas behind Hummingbird was dealing w/ natural language conversations better. Matt demonstrated a conversational search with multiple questions, using the keyword only in the first query on his Android phone. Very impressive! He got nine questions down, all the way to asking to navigate to the first Italian restaurant shown near the Space Needle. Space Needle only mentioned in first query.

Works better on mobile now, but getting better for desktop.

Matt: Links in java script can be crawled and discovered.

Matt: the future of search in one word: quality

Danny: why is Buzz Feed killing in the rankings?

Matt: they actually email us asking why they aren't ranking as well as they think they should! Everyone thinks their site is above average and Google underrates them. 

Danny: Actions against black hat tactics for YouTube?

Matt: Our ears are open to that feedback. It takes time to get to everything. There are engineers looking at it.

Matt: Linkbuilding as a service often tends to be high risk. Every tool and service you've heard at this conference can be beat with your own creativity and resourcefulness in your content. White hat linkbuilding is called "being excellent." Sweat plus creativity.

DAnny: such a thing as manual benefits? Getting on a Google white list?

Matt; No. Well, very rare, but there are some sites that would get picked up as a false positive that we manually white list so they don't get hit, but again, very rare. There are no exception lists for Panda. 

Danny: fave 30 day challenge? 

Matt: I used to think I hated biking until I biked to work every day for 30 days.

Danny: Last inspiring words?

Matt: Get ready for mobile. Reduce mobile friction on your site. 

Danny: If you could be anything else, what would you be?

Matt; I owe my wife years of whatever she wants to do! Seriously, there's a lot of evil in the world. I'm drawn to the evil ;-) I mean as trying to solve it. Clark Kent without the Superman. 

Danny: What would your superpower be?

Matt: Seeing spam! 

Danny: That's why the web is ruined for SEOs!

Matt: I'm just happy being me!

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