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Matt Cutts Videos: just the juice

As you surely know by now, Matt Cutts has released quite a number of videos . For those who want it now and fast and don't want to spend time on watching/listening to videos, here is a short gist of what Matt said (it is still recommended to watch the videos to get the full detail).

Video #1: Some SEO myths

Issue: Do I get penalties if I have too many sites on the same server (IP) or the same Javascript on many sites?

Solution:
If you have about 2-10 sites, don't worry. If you have 2,000 sites, you probably don't have unique content for all of those sites.

Having the same Javascript on all the sites isn't a problem, but if you have a Javascript sneaky redirect on your 5000 sites, then do be scared.

Issue: Launching a huge site with millions of same pages and tons of links and had problems. What can I do?

Solution: Do a soft launch of several thousand pages at a time.

Issue: Google images: any updates?
Solution: Just did an index update (end of July).

Video #2: static vs dynamic URLs

Issue: Does having a lot of parameters hinder search engine rankings?

Solution:
Generally, static and dynamic are treated in the same way. However, some SEs may strip the parameters and index only that link. The PR just flows as it should.

Use only 2-3 parameters, use short parameters - get rid of any parameters that you can.
A good way to handle parameters is to use redirects for the page look like a static URL.

Issue: Can Google inform the website owner if the site is hacked?
Solution: Not right now. Get your host to do it. If Google does this, it won't be soon.

Issue: Geotargetting to different people, parts of the world, etc. Is it safe?

Solution:
Cloaking is showing different content to users as to the search engines.
Geotargetting isn't cloaking, because the content is based on the IP. If you deliver content to the bots according to IPs (US content?) - just as to visitors - then you'll be fine.

Video #2: Optimize for Search Engines or Users?

Issue: Which is more important - SEO or end-user optimization?

Solution:
Both are important. If you don't have both, you don't do well.
No SEO - no traffic. No user experience - no conversions.

The trick is to see that SE interests and your customer interests aligned. If you do for both SEs and customers, you'll be great.

Issue: Any spam detection tools? Need to test my sites and report competition.

Solution:
No! Matt isn't going to share his tools!

Seriously, Yahoo Site Explorer - to check for backlinks.
Any tools to show who else is on the same IP may be useful as well.

Issue: Does clean HTML markup help rankings?

Solution:
About 40% of the Web is not tidy. We don't want to dump 40% of the Web if they don't validate. An example of an .edu student homepage is given.

But, there is some Accessible Search, which benefits accessible websites.

And you do validate your site, but make your great site first - cross your "i"s and dot your "t"s, that is.

Video #4: Qualities of a good site

Issue: Any comments on Sitemaps? Does the update rate depend on page views?
Solution: Nope, not on page views. All the data is updated on different schedules.

Issue: Any gneral guidelines and recommendations to increase site visibility on Google?

Solution:
First of all, make your site crawlable. Use Lynx and see how it is viewed in it. If you can navigate with Lynx, you'll be in a pretty good shape.

Have user site maps (not Sitemaps).

Have great linkable content. A hook - something that is viral - good content: newsletters, tutorials, videos, etc. Really interesting, what sets you apart from the competition.

Then market your site. Think about your relevant customers and make sure they know about you.

Crawlable -> content -> hook

Issue: What are conditions to cause Google use DMOZ snippet for a site?

Solution:
If your page is about one subject, and the DMOZ snippet is about another, then Google will use the one matching the search query. If your content matches the search query, then your own meta snippet and content snippets will be used.

If you don't want Google to use the DMOZ snippet at all times, use the meta NOODP tag.

(<meta name="robots" content"NOODP">)

Issue: Which is more favoured, bold or strong?

Solution:
Google favours bold a little bit more. So slight difference - don't worry.
(Check Video #9 for an update about this).

Video #5: how to structure a site?

Issue: Matt kidnapped?
Solution: Not really. Not that like anyone cares about the filming background.

Issue: Acquiring a domain name with a lot of links to do a 301 redirect. Will the site be banned?

Solution:
The site won't be banned. If the sites are related, then it's fine.
If sites are not related (about cheap mortages, etc - could raise some eyebrows).

Issue: How to theme the site with keywords in directories?

Solution:
Think more about site architecture: tree link architecture, for instance.
Break the products by topic : clothes, shoes, etc.
Doesn't matter if the keyword is in a directory or in an URL.
Just have the keyword in the URL

Issue: Too many parameters - unindexable URL. Is it OK to serve static HTML pages to the bot?

Solution:
Be wary of using cloaking. If you show the same content, to the users and bots, you'll be fine.

Try to remove parameters or redirect the parameters to static URLs. Don't engage in cloaking.

Issue: How do you do A/B testing? Will Google penalize for perceived cloaking?
Solution:

Do A/B testing where bots don't index content.

Don't use a PHP redirect - user server-side scripting to serve different pages. Don't do anything special for the Googlebot to avoid being accused of cloaking.

Issue: Ginger or Marie Ann?
Solution: Marie Ann.

Video #6: Google Terminology

Issue: What's the difference between data refresh vs algarithm update vs index update?

Solution:
Google used to index once every month.
Now they crawl ane refresh index every day. The biggest change is the algorithm updates now.
No index updates any more.

Index updates are rare.

Algorithm updates can happen at any time it needs to be improved to improve the SERPs quality.

Data refresh is changing the data the algorithm works on.

Index update is like changing the car entirely. Algorithm update is like changing an engine.
Data refresh is like changing a gas in a car. Every couple of weeks.

June-July 27 were data refreshes which were the results of the algorithm live for 1.5 year.
If your site dropped at July 27, then take a fresh look and try to make the site very useful.

Video #7: Google Datacenters

Issue: Should the results from the same C block be the same or not?

Solution:
They should be roughly the same, but not always. If you are checking datacenters every day, pay more attention to your logs and write quality content.

Video #8: Supplemental Results

Issue: "site:tableandhome.com" gives 10 000 results, "site:tableandhome.com -intitle:common buy" gives 100 000 results, all supplemental. Help?

Solution:
Seeing supplemental results off the beaten path is ok. A concept of a beaten path: one word search - a big deal. A 20 keyword phrase or with intitle modifier - off the beaten path.

Two changes to try make site results more accurate another to change the infrastructure to work more accurately.

Issue: The pages were moved and redirected.

Solution:
There are two bots: main Googlebot and supplemental Googlebot.
Supplemental pages are refreshed much less often. They are getting fresher and fresher, though.

Issue: The site was put in the supplemental index with PR6.

Solution: There is new infrastructure for the supplemental index. Things will be getting fresher and improving. Stay tuned.

Video #9: Lightning round!

Issue: Just home pages? Using - operator is fine, but it's not enough.

Solution: Good suggestion. See if people will do it.

Issue: Strong vs Bold (emphasized vs italics)

Solution:
As it was said earlier, bold was more preferred. Now the truth is that both strong and bold are given the same weight. Same goes with emphasized and italics.

So go mark it up semantically correct. Google will treat it the same. (Yuri: bold vs strong, not semantic-non-semantic.)

Issue: More kitty videos?

Solution: Maybe. They are scared of the lights for now.

Issue: What are the new services of Google discovered lately?

Solution: Good job, but won't say much.

Issue: What about duplicate content?

Solution: Google does a lot of duplicate detection. Exact duplicate, near-duplicate detection, etc. Pretty good work on it. Make sure your pages with content look as much different as possible.

If you have same content in different languages, don't worry.

If it is Canadian and for the US, they'll detect it and won't treat it as duplicate content.

Issue: Does Google treat blogs differently?

Solution: Not really.

Issue: Edu and Gov links

Solution: No direct value applied to .edu and .gov links. They tend to have higher PR and are more reputable.

Video: #11 Reinclusion requests

Issue: How to do reinclusion requests?.

Solution:
Since the post about reinclusion requests the procedure has changed a tad. The best thing to do is to register in Sitemaps. Will show penalty for legitimate sites. Send the reinclusion request with as much info as possible (site hacked, black hat SEO, details,etc). The most important thing is that you need to tell Google that it won't happen again.

Video #12: Google Webmaster Tools

Issue: Google Webmaster Tools

Solution: http://www.google.com/support content has been refreshed - a lot more fresh content.

Sitemaps was renamed to Google Webmasters Central
http://www.google.com/webmasters - lots of different tools. Official Google webmaster blog as well (by Vanessa Fox).

The Google Webmasters tool has a lot of tools such as robot.txt checker, link checker, spam penalities (penalties) and preferred domain. A preferred domain solves the canonical issue (www vs non-www version) by letting you selecting the single version via the Webmasters controls.

Also, you'll be getting the keywords you rank for, how much traffic you get, etc.

Video #13: My tips for SES

Issue: Any tips on SES?

Solution:
Go ahead, get checked in, get a bag and drop all except the schedule in the hotel.
You can use a backpack with a laptop and food in different pockets. Useful on a deserted island, too.

Sit down and circle the most interesting sessions.

Try to go to the Google Dance. There should be (were) the opportunity to ask Googlers some questions at the "Meet the Googlers" session.

Sit in the back of the room so you could jump to another if the current isn't very interesting. There are 4 tracks running at a time so you'll be 'in a pretty good shape'.

The more people you talk to, the better. Bug Matt next time you see him (unless he's preoccupied with something).

Summing up

Generally, as you may have noticed, there isn't anything extraordinary in what Matt advises: unique, quality content, make content indexable and promote your site ethically to do well.

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