Coffee With Matt Cutts (and a few hundred other people)
By Ash Nallawalla, Trainsem.com
At Webmasterworld, there was an early session with Matt Cutts which covered everything from his time at university to his present work as an anti-spam engineering at Google. For those of you who don’t know, Matt is something of a legend and his blog is avidly read by search marketers for clues into Google’s thinking on various ranking practices.
To start the session, Matt told the audience when he was at university (in 1999) in North Carolina, he took a course on search engines and after applying to Google, he asked how much they would pay him. He thought he might not hear from them, but they did, and the rest is history (editor’s note – who cares about the pay, what about those early share options…).
Not surprisingly, paid links was a hot topic. Someone asked what was the borderline? Matt replied if a paid link passes PageRank, it can come under suspicion. If a link manipulates search results, it is suspicious. But aren't AdWords paid links? No - they do not pass PageRank, so they are not.
Matt gave the example of a site with an article about Alzheimer's Disease that linked to an organisation that wanted money from you instead of giving you information. To Google, this is a flag for a paid link that would not pass PageRank. whereas if would have been different if the link went to an information site.
How about directories that charge for a link? There is a detailed Google Webmaster Central blog post about paid directories. Signs of a directory to avoid - no contact information, private registration, poor data in whois, expired domain redirected to the directory site, uncustomised phpLD script, requires a reciprocal list or takes only paid submissions, no quality links.
Asked about sites sharing the same IP address, such as on a virtual private server (VPS), Mat said that spammers drop an IP address when it has been banned, but the new occupant need not worry. When a whole subnet in a C class is doing strange things, only then do innocent sites have something to worry about.
What about ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol) used by newspapers to make articles available only to subscribers after a certain period? This is a very recent initiative that extends the robots exclusion protocol, so Matt is still studying it and doesn't anticipate any issues for SEO.
How many 301 redirects can a site have? There is no limit. You can change them after two weeks if you wish, with no harmful effect, but don't chain 301s in a loop.
What is the best way to migrate a site to a new IP address?
1. Lower your DNS time-to-live (TTL) to something like 5 minutes and leave it like this for a day.
2. Bring up the site on the new IP address and wait a day or two.
3. Drop the files on the old IP address once you see Googlebot crawling the new address.
How can we report a scraper? This happens with AdSense sites. You should use the link in "Ads by Google" to report such a publisher by filling out a spam report.
Should you buy a site with existing (good) links? No, they will not help with ranking.
Search Engine Room: February 28, 2008
Australia's first Group Buying Summit was staged in Sydney on May 7, 2012. It was a good day with 135 delegates and lots great presentations. Speakers included:
Search Engine Room, Australia's original search event, is returning to Sydney in mid November, 2012.
Please subscribe to newsletter for event updates and if you have any queries, contact Martin Kelly.
Meanwhile, check out images from the last Search Engine Room below.