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Matt Cutts: Straight From Google – What You Need to Know

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I was going to ask how many power bloggers there are, but I think there's a few power bloggers. How many people are relatively new bloggers? [New to] WordPress? Your first WordCamp? OK. Very cool. There is a good reason why you might care what I have to say, which is I am the head of the Web spam or anti-Web spam team at Google. So 90 percent of the WordPress blogs that I see look like this. They didn't even change the default template. Bastards! I'm hoping that a PG-13, R-rated talk is OK, because if Tim Ferriss can outsource his love life, it's OK if I'll show you guys a few slides here. So, yeah: most of the spam that I see looks like this. WordPress is such a powerful tool that the spammers use it, too. Right? So I've seen a lot of really bad sites, but I've also seen a lot of really good sites, and I'm going to try to give you a few tips about things that might be helpful if you want to get crawled by Google. First off, though; let me ask you: Why do you blog? To be read? What do you get out of it? Tim was just talking. He says, "I get access." Right? I had never thought about that before. I made this list and I had to update this slide from backstage. I was like, "Oh, yeah, you want something out of blogging. Fame, attention, money." And then Tim was like, "Access. I get to meet the head of the swim team." OK; I'll add that to the list. But not everybody wants something from blogging. Some people are just doing it for fun. And if you're doing it for fun, power to you, right? I fully support your ability to post cat pictures. Yeah! Rock on! I do it! This is Emmy; this is my cat Emmy. This picture is what led me to adopt, because she's so cute. Ever since she was a kitten she's wanted to just lie on things. She was grumpy this morning when I got up. As soon as I get dressed, she's ready to be perched like a koala bear on my shoulder. So all she wants to do is just lie on, you know—look at her. So it's OK to cat blog. And in fact, we've got two cats and they both like to just— half this presentation was written with a cat sort of perched on me when I'm trying to make this stuff. So if you are a cat blogger, or you like to post poems, or you just like to keep up with your family, congratulations. You're happy. You've won. Life is good. You don't need me. You don't need advice from anybody. Whatever you want to do, you're doing it. But most people want something from their blog. The number one request that I hear is: "I want to do better in Google." So if you're a cat blogger, if you just post poems, power to you. But the rest of this talk, we'll talk a little bit about how to do better in Google. Now the wonderful thing is that you have all made a fantastic choice. This audience looks very smart. I walked in and was like, "Not only are they attractive, but they are really intelligent," because you're using WordPress. WordPress automatically solves a ton of SEO issues. Instead of doing it yourself, you selected WordPress. Now, this is kind of a broad statement: WordPress takes care of 80 to 90 percent of search engine optimization. When I say that, what I mean is the mechanics of SEO. And by that, we talk about how crawlable a web site is. You would be amazed at how many sites throw up a big old blog of Flash, or block a page with robots.txt so we can't even crawl it. So by using WordPress, you've already taken the first big step. WordPress is a fantastic piece of software. But there are a few things you can do to optimize it. I notice a person asked Tim, "Hey, what plugins do you use?" So I threw this screenshot in. These are the plugins I use, and this is literally all the plugins that I use. That's how good WordPress is. You don't need to modify it that much. Akismet: already built-in. Cookies for Comments: shout out to Donncha in Ireland. He does an amazing job of preventing spam. Basically, it sets a cookie, and then when the spammer posts, if they don't have that cookie, you're like, "Yeah, dude. You're a bot." All you did was just post directly. So I hesitate to tell people about this, because it's so useful. that if everybody starts using it, the spammers will adapt. But you guys are cool, so Cookies for Comments: highly recommended. Enforce WWW Preference: So good. You don't even need to worry about it. All this thing does is it says, "Look at my preference. Do I prefer www.google.com or google.com? Whatever your domain is? And it does a redirect so that you don't have to worry about having your domain split between example.com and www.example.com. So this sort of stuff is fantastic. Feedburner [FeedSmith] I like to use, And WP-Super-Cache is a great plugin. So the beauty of WordPress is that you don't need to do a lot of stuff. But before we talk about how you can rank higher in Google, we need to learn a little bit about how Google works. And it's not that complicated. We crawl roughly in order of PageRank. That means the more PageRank you have, the faster you're likely to be found, the deeper we'll crawl on your site, and the more often we'll visit your pages to see if they've been refreshed. OK. Cool. PageRank. Magic green juice. How do I get more PageRank? First: what is PageRank? Anybody want to tell me? It is named for Larry Page. Larry page and Sergey Brin, the two co-founders of Google. What is PageRank? It's not that secret of a sauce. It's not green fairy dust. Well, let's just walk through a very simple eigenvector. It's really simplicity itself. So singular-value decomposition… Wait, you didn't show up at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning to talk math? PageRank, at a 50,000-foot view, is this: It's the number of people that link to you and how important those links are. So one of my favorite examples: Suppose you have a buddy from college. And you have a blog, and he has a blog. Suppose you've got 10 links pointing to your blog, and your buddy has 20 links pointing to his. Who has more PageRank? Well, he's got 20 links. You've only got 10. But what if your 10 links are The New York Times, The LA Times, Reader's Digest, CNN.com, and his 20 links are all his buddies from college. Right? So PageRank is not just getting as many links as you can. Please, give me more links; I have to have more links. No! It's also how important they are. So having high-quality content can really make a big difference. I promise I won't get more technical than this. It looks a little complicated. I'll walk through it very quickly, but it's not as bad as it looks. Look at this page right here. These are links coming into one page. PageRank is at a page level, and these are outlinks pointing to your blog. If you've got a bunch of links pointing to your blog, and your blog home page has a PageRank of 9, let's just say 9 in an abstract sense, and you've got three outlinks, you more or less divide that nine by three, and the three goes out on each of the outlinks. That's the basic idea behind PageRank. If you look at the top one, this guy's got a PageRank of 100. He's got a lot of PageRank. And he's got two outlinks. So each of those two outlinks— you take 100, you divide by 2, because you've got 2 outlinks, and 50 goes to each one of those. That's literally the idea behind PageRank. It's that simple. Now, in practice, if it really worked this way, and you have a loop, PageRank would just keep cycling around forever and ever, and mathematically speaking, the world would blow up. You don't want the world to blow up. So there's a little bit of an additional thing, which is that PageRank kind of evaporates. A little bit of it decays every time it goes across a link. But that's literally the idea behind PageRank. It's the number of links you get pointing to you and how important those links are. Now, I always worry when I talk about PageRank, because a lot of people, as soon as they hear about backlinks, they're like, "I need more backlinks! I need a lot of backlinks! I need thousands of backlinks, from thousands of places!" And so this is literally a phrase that I found on the web: this person suffers from what I call BO. You do not want to suffer from BO. That's Backlink Obsession. This guy is saying, "I have 297 links with a PR7. This guy's only got 59 links with a PR6. And he ranks higher, and it's not fair." Don't get down to this level of detail. Think about it at a very high level. You want to have people know about you, and you want those people to be reputable. So you can spend an infinite amount of time learning about SEO. But here's the 50,000-foot view. There's a tension between relevance and being reputable. So Matt Mullenweg: he's got a pretty reputable blog. It's pretty well-known. He's got good PageRank. He beats me. I hate that. He's like the number one Matt and I'm like the number eight Matt. You think, "Can't you tweak it, so you're number one?" No, we can't tweak it so we're number one. So he's the number one Matt. He's got a ton of PageRank. Suppose you're searching for a random thing, like a medical condition. Attention Deficit Disorder. If Matt Mullenweg just mentions the phrase "Attention Deficit Disorder", and he's saying it in passing, like a joke, like, "Yeah, I organized this conference, but I didn't spend a lot of time on it. I've got ADD. But it will be cool, we'll have a good time." That's reputable. His blog is reputable. But it's not that relevant. So another way to think about relevance is what you say on your page, and reputable is what people say about you—how they link to you. So you want to be both. You want to be on-topic, and you also want to be reputable. So we don't want to just return pages that barely mention something in passing. So let's move to the middle chunk of this. Which is: how do I be relevant? How do I be reputable? Relevance is, again, stuff on your page: what you write, including the mechanics of how you write. Tim pretty much nailed this: if you do not love something, don't write about it. Life is too short. Google Wave launched a couple days ago, and there was like this huge thing on TechMeme: everybody's talking about this new Google Wave thing. And there are so many articles I saw where the guy was like, "Will Google Wave take over the world? I don't know. Here is the press release." Right? Literally two sentences, and then he copies four paragraphs from the press release. No one wants to read that! It's boring. You have to have something that you care about. You have to have something—whether it's cats, whether it's Linux, whether it's open government, whether it's transparency, whether it's Google, whether it's search—you have to talk about something that you care about. If you're not doing that, you're not going to be doing as good a job. And so one of the pieces of advice that I give is to try to write often. And if you write often, if you write every day, if it's something you really care about, you're going to get a lot of practice writing. And you're going to write good stuff. OK: Keywords. Let's do a little exercise. Matt said earlier today that the theme of this conference is getting to know your neighbor. So we're going to do a little exercise where you get to know your neighbor. I'm holding in my hand a little device— you might have seen them before— you stick them into computers. They store things. Maybe you put your presentation on it. You give it to a friend; she sticks it on her computer. Maybe you're proofreading a friend's paper and you take it. Maybe you put pictures on it. Maybe your mom sends you one. You've all seen these. This is not alien technology. Think in your head: if you were going to go Google and you were going to type in what this is, prepare your search query. What is this? What is this device? Don't say it out loud. OK; I'm going to Google. I'm going to go buy one of these. Ooh; it's retractable. Wow; cool. Now, turn to the person next to you and compare notes. Literally take a minute and say, "What would you search for on Google, and what would I search for on Google?" I'll wait. OK; cool. Now you've gotten to know your neighbor a little bit. So let's hear: what did you type into Google to find this? Flash drive? USB drive? Thumb drive? What else? What have I not said? Retractable? So you think, "Oh; yeah, this is a USB drive." Your neighbor things, "No, this is a thumb drive." And the person on your right thinks, "No; it's a flash drive." And somebody might not even use the word "drive". So the takeaway is: if you were a blogger, think about all the different ways that someone can describe something. Think about all the different ways that you can naturally fit that into your post. Now, I'm not talking about saying, "Would you like to buy a thumb drive? If thumb drives are you, then you would like to get a thumb drive, which is really good." We'll see an example of that later in the talk. Instead, think about ways to naturally put that in your post. "Hey! Buy a flash drive. I was using this one thumb drive which is really cool. It works via USB." I've used most of my major keywords in a couple of sentences and it still sounds natural. You don't have to stuff it. You don't have to be really unnatural. There's another thing, which is jargon mismatch. A lot of the time, if you are in a particular industry, you're thinking about the words people are going to use, and you don't think about what a regular user is going to say. For example, earlier today, or earlier this week, we were doing a site review, and we were giving SEO advice to people who had sites. And this was a site; this was pretty cool. This is the University of California at San Francisco, and they have a site about HIV. What is this? Oh, my God! This is the home page! You land on the home page, and you're like, "Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-1 Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV-1 Transmission in the United States". What is that? I don't even know! Is this a technically good paper? Probably. I have no idea what the hell it's about. Right? It's an editor's pick. Someone has selected this paper. It's important for some reason! This one's about swine flu. Is there something I need to know about swine flu and they're not telling me? I don't know how to translate it into regular English. Right? Translate it into regular English. For example: I've seen the queries that people type. This is the sort of stuff that people type. Right? [laughter] "Do I have AIDS? I don't know!" Right? So think about that. Think about—OK: What are the things that you can do to type that will be normal? Now, the interesting thing is this site had a section called "basics". And if you clicked on "basics", these were the things you saw. "I just tested positive. Now what?" That should have been the front page. Right? It's obvious to us, but sometimes your own site can be like that. You're like, "Oh, yeah; I've got great content. Yeah. This is fantastic stuff." But a regular person is like, "What the hell are you typing, dude? I don't even understand this. Is it English? I think it's English." So you'd be amazed how much help you can get just from feedback, just from asking your friends or a regular person to sort of look at this and say, "OK. Cool." Now there's another tool that you can use. And in fact, Tim mentioned it. Thanks for stealing my thunder, dude! But it's pretty nice. It's called the Google Keyword Tool—Adwords Tool. If you search on Google for "keyword tool", it's number one. Not because we hard-coded it. We don't do that. It just ranks that way. A lot of people link to it. So I was doing this site review, and there was a site: icarkits.com, and they sell iPod car conversion kits. Which is pretty cool. Their main trophy phrase, if you looked in their title, was "iPod car". I went to the Google Keyword Tool. I typed in "iPod car" and I said, "Show me keywords related to 'iPod car'." Have you guys ever heard of this iTrip thing? It's a transmitter—an FM transmitter. So it's more like a 30 dollar thing. It's not the 400 dollar thing that they sell. But their trophy phrase showed up 550,000 times a month. People searched for iTrip 246,000 times a month. So here's this keyword right here where people are looking for information about iPods and cars, and you are ignoring them. I did "site:icarkits.com iTrip". They didn't have the word on a single page on their site anywhere. If you don't have the word on your site, it's very hard for search engines to return that site. Sometimes we can. You can type in "automobile" and we can return if your page has the word "car". We can do that a little bit. But if you don't have the word "iTrip" anywhere on your site, you're probably not going to rank for the query "iTrip". Now it turns out that these guys actually had content about the iTrip. They have an iTrip trade-in program. So you send in your 30 dollar iTrip, and you get like 10 percent off on the 100 dollar kit. So in the middle of the site review the guy edited his page. And by the end of the site review panel, he had "iTrip" right there on the front page. So he's starting to get more traffic already. So think about the niches and the keywords that you're targeting, and put them on the page. I don't want to get too technical, well, how technical do people want to get? OK; cool. Me, I get a little bored. But OK. Here's one thing that I recommend: I like to do a custom structure on my URLs: /%postname%/. You know, if your blog has "p=123", You're missing out on an opportunity, which is that Google looks at a lot of different things. We look at over 200 things. PageRank is just one of them, whenever we rank things. Other things we use: things in the title, things in the URL, even things that are like really highlighted, like h1 tags and stuff like that. So if your blog has "p=123", you are massively missing out on an opportunity to put a kew keywords—not keyword stuffing—just a few keywords in your URL. So mattcutts.com/blog/samplepost— it works pretty well. If you want to throw in the date, feel free, but make sure that you put the title and the keywords in your URL in some way. Now here's a power tip: Notice something interesting: I did a post where I completely—for a while, at least— dominated the keywords "how to change your default printer in Firefox on Linux". I know; I was number one. It was awesome! That niche was mine. How did I do it? Well, I made a good descriptive title: "Changing the default printer on Linux and Firefox". Notice that I changed the URL as well. So in the title, I've got "changing"; in the URL, I've got "change". Because sometimes users type "changing printer" and sometimes they type "change". Now this is not spam. I'm not throwing in a ton of irrelevant keywords. I'm not even throwing in a lot of keywords. I'm just throwing in one or two variants that people might type. No one's going to look at this post and say, "Oh, my God; the title is a little different than the URL! Oh, my God; he took out -ing! Throw him in the clink!" That's not the way it works. But just by doing some simple things like having title and URL, and viewing them as separate opportunities to put a few keywords in, now you can rank for both "changing" and "change". Relatively simple, but a lot of people don't think about that level of detail. So if you're doing a post, it's worth doing the post and then going to the Google Keywords Tool. Think about the words you want to rank for, type those words in, make sure those words are in your post. This is a little bit in detail, but you can also have your categories be good keywords. Don't just make your categories "cool stuff". My categories are "Linux", "search", "SEO"… so if somebody has those categories, they're like, "Oh, OK; now I don't have to include the word 'search' on every single post; it's in my category." If you're going to put keywords in your URL, like I showed, it's better to do dashes. So, my-dash-keywords. Underscores can work. Dashes are a little bit better. But no spaces is pretty bad. Has anybody seen the site expertsexchange.com? Right? Some people like it; some people don't. If expertsexchange were all one word, you know, it can be "expert sex change?" You don't want to rank for "expert sex change". And if it's all one word, some people are like, "I read it a different way!" So put some dashes in there and then you can have separators. Search engines do look at dashes. They do look at separators like that. Now if you use underscores of if you have used spaces up until now, should you go back and change every single thing on your previous posts? Should you rename them and change all those old URLs to add dashes? No! Why? Because of Ferriss' Law: don't do things if they're not fun. Search engines do a relatively good job at doing separators. But spend your time on making better content. Don't worry as much about small things like that. It's just something to be aware of going forward in the future. And finally, talking about relevance—we're talking about on-page stuff: Don't overdo it. This was a site that put itself up for review earlier this week. Can you guess what it's about? It's about furniture. It's a lot about furniture. In fact, if you notice, the first paragraph is all one sentence. Let me just read the last half of that paragraph: "Manufacturing and offering for sale innovative modern furniture and antique wood furniture made according to our valued customers' esteemed order and requirements of home furniture, hotel furniture, as well as office furniture, for the use of indoor furniture and outdoor furniture purposes." Furniture, furniture, furniture, blah! FURNITURE! You can overdo it. Google doesn't say, "Oh, my God! He included the word "furniture" 400 times in the post! It must be really, really relevant. It's got to be 400 times better than that other post that only mentioned furniture once." That's not the way it works. After you mention furniture once, two, three times, we know you've got furniture on the mind. It's OK. You don't have to say furniture as every third word. You also don't need to bold it. Users don't like this, believe it or not. Other things that this site did: Rattan; you've heard of rattan furniture. At some point they misspelled it as "rotten" furniture. Well, judging from the web site, I don't know. So you don't need to do this. You can mention furniture two or three times and that's enough. You don't have to go overboard on it. So, to sum up on-page: being relevant, being on topic, talking about the things you care about. Find something you care about, and as a result, you'll write about it more often, which gives more material that search engines can find. And pay attention to the mechanics, some of the small things that I've mentioned, but don't overdo it. Right? If you're reading it aloud and it sounds stilted, you're overdoing it. If you give it to a friend, and you notice your friend is like sneering or raising their eyebrow, you're overdoing it. OK; so that's half the battle. Now let's talk about how you gain a reputation. How do you get to be more known? How do you get more PageRank? And more people linking to you? Be interesting. Anybody ever heard of Fake Steve Jobs? Has anybody bought the book? It's pretty good. I was like, "This one note gimmick cannot last for an entire book." It can! It's a lot of fun. I love this. He's like, "I fired that idiot Jerry Yang." I'm like, "Whoa." This guy's pretty mean. Now it turns out this was actually Dan Lyons. He's got a pretty sweet gig at Newsweek now. So he did pretty well. Earlier this week, someone started a fake blog for Carol Bartz, who's the CEO of Yahoo. The first post, I was on the floor laughing so hard. I instantly added it to my Google Reader. I want to see what else they have to say. So being interesting is really important. If you're the guy who's phoning it in and you're like, "Oh, I want to rank on Techmeme, or I want to write about celebrity news, so I'm going to talk about John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston for the 88,000th time, and I'm not going to add anything new to it, no new insight." Don't bother writing it. You want to be interesting. And again: it helps the more you write. You get practice. You get into the habit. This is a blog by Sergey Brin, who's one of the co-founders of Google. Did you know that Sergey had a blog? He does. He's written two posts. I've never asked Sergey about the blog. On the one hand, it's cool; he's written two posts. On the other hand, his last post was September of 2008. People are not going to Sergey Brin's blog every day, saying, I wonder if Sergey wrote something new? Yeah!" But if Sergey is posting every day or every week, people will come and check. They will come and say, "What's new with Sergey?" So you have to update often. Now this, I have to admit, is my favorite slide in the entire talk, because I am going to tell you the real, true, deep secret of blogging. And that is Katamari. Has anybody played Katamari? [hums Katamari Damashi theme music] What is Katamari? It's a Japanese game where you play The Prince. And The Prince starts out, and he's got a little Katamari that's five centimeters tall. And he rolls up things. He can roll up paper clips. He can roll up stamps and coins. Eventually, he can roll up bigger stuff. He can roll up gum. He can roll up a wooden block. And when you're done, you have a Katamari hundreds of meters tall, and you can roll up islands, and the Earth, and buildings. And you hear these people scream when you roll up the buildings. It's awesome. I love Katamari. I think a lot of people play it stoned. I play it perfectly sober. I do! The Katamari philosophy is this: Start small. Start in a niche where you can do well. And that might be a very small niche. It might be the "change the default Firefox printer on Linux" niche. But then build up, build up, build up. Don't overreach. When you're The Prince, and you're rolling up in Katamari, you can't roll up a skyscraper the first thing. You have to get there gradually. If somebody tells you there's a shortcut where you can be the number one gadget blog in three days, and you can beat Engadget and Gizmodo, laugh in their face and send them packing. Because it doesn't work that way. But one thing you learn in Katamari is that you're always reaching. You're always trying to roll up bigger and bigger things. So if you want to be the world's best gadget blogger, start out with a smaller niche. Start out with a niche like, "OK, I'm going to write about a particular type of phone." You know? Google Android, or Crackberry, or Palm Pre. And then you can imagine embiggening, to quote The Simpsons, embiggening that niche. You're writing about more and more important things, and bigger niches. And eventually, over time, people get to know you, and you're writing about important things, and people are sending you links, and they're sending you things to review, and life is good. The Katamari philosophy works very, very well. OK; what else about gaining reputation? Oh, yeah; this is the only slide where I have like cool dissolves and stuff. There are so many other ways you can get links. You can provide a useful service. There's a law professor—his name is Eric Goldman— and he is a "blawger". Have you guys heard of the "blawgers"? They are law bloggers. Yeah, law bloggers. I like it. He writes posts about how people have Adwords trademark policy. And not everybody cares about that. But he's got his niche, and it's really, really useful, really insightful, because he's a law professor. He knows things that regular people do not know. So you can provide a really useful service: things like a newsletter. Original research and reporting is huge. There's a guy who writes about search. His name is Danny Sullivan. He's very respected, because he's written about search for 10 years. And one thing he did is he just looked at, "what are the spam levels on Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail?" And for a month, he tracked all of the spam that he got. Which would be the most annoying thing in the world to do. There's another 400 spams… But he tracked it. And at the end, at 30 days, he was able to say which service had less spam. It was GMail. Woo! Yay! But that was great original research. Anybody could have done it. Anybody could have counted their spam folder and done that analysis. Have people heard of Louis Gray? He's a great blogger. One of the ways that he got to be known is he looked at his referrers. And referrers are your search engine logs. This is like web logs, where people are coming from, where they're visiting from. And he just noticed some strange user agents, like Read Burner or stuff like this. And then he was like, "What the heck is Read Burner?" And then he did a blog post about it. And like two days later, the people were like, "Yeah, we're making a totally new service, and you found us out." And he did that like three times in a row. So just by looking at the bots that were visiting his site, he was able to do some really cool stuff. And from there, he just hustled his butt off, which I respect a lot. Lifehacker. Anybody read Lifehacker? I like to call Lifehacker productivity porn, because you spend more time learning how to be productive than the actual productivity that you get. But you read about productivity all the time. It's so cool; like Merlin Mann and these guys. No; the fact is that Lifehacker saves you a ton of time, because they have these really high-quality tutorials and guides. Creative niche. If you have one good idea, that can carry you so, so far. Lolcats. Anyone? Rock on! I've made lolcats. F My Life? Once sentence? You should seriously search for all of these on Google and add them to your Google Reader. It's like the best way to burn time in the entire world. F My Life is just all these people who have sex and then their grandmother walks in and stuff. And One Sentence is just like they write one creative sentence. It's really, really fantastic. Some people can draw. Penny-Arcade, they can draw. XKCD, the guy can't really draw, but he's really funny. And he knows a lot of science and technical stuff. He found his creative niche. Open source can be a fantastic way to get links and reputation. Write a good project. People will use it. Case in point: WordPress. Tons of people use it. WordPress doesn't need any PageRank. It has amazing amounts of PageRank. Live blogging. Is anybody live blogging this? Cool. So you guys are probably going to get three or four links automatically which the rest of us are just sort of sitting back and enjoying ourselves, because you're actually writing about what's happening in this session. If you can make it to a session that's interesting, live blog it. If you're lazier than that, two days later, you can say either you hated WordCamp or you loved WordCamp. People love lists, so if you give people 11 reasons why WordCamp ruled, create controversy. If you cry wolf too often, if you have too much negative energy, people don't like to read you as much. But it is something you can do. And Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed— there's a lot of people who get to know all these people on various social networks. And it can make a big difference. So I had the pleasure of speaking at WordCamp 2007, and one of my funnier favorite lines was, "Should you do a podcast?" Everybody who's doing a podcast is probably downstairs listening to the other session. But the litmus test I said was, "Should you do a podcast, or should you do a video?" Well, put your picture up on Hot or Not, and if you're a six or higher, then you should do a video. If you're a five or below, you should do a podcast. I already said this was an attractive audience. So you guys should all do video. The fact is, these days a Flip is a couple hundred bucks. And you can make a video in two minutes and it can be any kind of creative you want. Podcasts are fantastic. I would really recommend making videos these days, because it's not that much harder to make a video than it is to make a podcast. And a lot of people just really enjoy watching this sort of stuff. This one got 15,000 views in like a day, and we literally threw it up. This was one tweet. It was like, "hey, here's a video." We hadn't even posted on the blog about this. It's really easy to do video and it can drive a lot of attention to your site. And in fact, videos tend to rank relatively well on Google. OK. I will whiz through this part. I do not want to sell you guys on anything. I use WordPress rather than Blogger, so I'm not going to say, "Google is the top. Always use Google. Go for Google." But there are a few tools that you should know about. I'll show screenshots of the first three. Google Website Optimizer. So you've already heard about the idea of A/B testing. If you're really that into power blogging, you might want to try different templates and see if certain ones have better return on investment, if certain ones give you more conversion, and there's something to let you do A/B testing. You can get a free site search. And here's a tip that very few people know that use AdSense: You can use these two tags to mark out the meat of your blog post. And then AdSense will target the meat of your blog post and it won't target all the frilly stuff, the boilerplate, the archives, all that kind of stuff. So if you use AdSense, I highly recommend that you add these tags around your post, because your ads will get more targeted, people will click on them more, and you will probably make more money. Let me show you a few quick screenshots. I did a post on my blog that a lot of people ended up reading called, "Free links! How to get free links!" Which everybody would like free links. The trick was, we have something at Google.com/webmasters that will show you the 404's on your site and who linked to them. So for example, the link in purple: ie7/promopage, with the parentheses: Jeremy Zawodny, who was a blogger at Yahoo and now is at Craigslist, linked to my blog, and the link was broken. Jeremy has got a lot of PageRank. It might be worth dropping Jeremy an email and saying, "Hey! Do you want to take that parenthesis off?" And now you've got a free link from Jeremy Zawodny, because he'd already linked to you; he'd just linked to a 404. So this is a completely free service; you can use it and find out about all kinds of people who are linking to sites or pages on your site that don't really exist. One more quick thing about Google.com/webmasters: we'll give you all kinds of crawl stats. So for example, this is how much time Google spent downloading pages on your site. You can see it took a huge drop down. That's because I changed my theme, and it does better CSS handling. So you can see the amount of pages being downloaded. All this stuff is free. It can be pretty handy and help you diagnose issues. Google also lets you set whether you want to have http://www.mattcutts.com or http://mattcutts.com, which is kind of handy. Here's a quick tip: Anybody use Google Analytics? I love you guys. OK. Here is something you might not know about Google Analytics. You can click in Settings and Top Landing Pages, and this will tell you which blog posts get the most visitors. This one, about hacking your iPhone, anybody want to guess when I wrote that? 2007. I wrote this blog post in 2007, and it's the number six page on my site. What does that tell me? Maybe I should go back and update that post. Because everything in it is probably wrong. Or maybe I should write a new post. Here's another one. One of my top ten posts is "Three Solid Gmail Productivity Tips". It was a total throwaway. I was like, "Oh; people don't know this, so I'll throw it up." They love it. Maybe I should write give more Gmail productivity tips. So when you're sitting at a blank screen and you're thinking, "I really should blog something today; I haven't blogged in like two weeks," you can get some good ideas about what to blog just from looking at where people are already going on your page. What about bounces? Yes! So bounces tell you how often people land on your page and then leave. Right? If people come from Digg, they come on your page, and then they leave. So if you try to reduce the amount of bounces, that can mean more people on your site, which can mean more ads, it can mean more revenue, it can mean more clicks, all that sort of stuff. A very simple trick, which I haven't done on my newest template, is "show related posts". Right? Someone has just finished reading your blog. It was a great article. They have a warm, happy feeling towards you. What do they do now? They leave. Why? Because you didn't give them anything else to do. Show them related blog posts. If there's one blog post, and they liked it enough to read down to the bottom, they might click and read some more. So that's like the simplest way in the world to reduce the number of bounces, which leads to more people on your site for longer periods of time. FeedBurner's kind of nice. You can tell where people are coming from, how many visitors and stuff you are getting. I've only got about five minutes left, so let me just finish with some things which you should probably not do. This is an email that I got in September 2008. You can see it's "be a lazy Google millionaire!" Here I've been working at Google for nine years, and I could have just filled out forms and collected my cash! If only I'd known! If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Has anybody ever heard of this Google Money Tree thing? Consumer Reports just wrote about them. The Better Business Bureau got 478 complaints about them, and the last 460 hadn't even been responded to. "Learn how to make $107,389 in six months filling out forms and doing searches on Google and Yahoo." I call bullshit. This stuff is not endorsed by Google. It is incredibly spammy. What tends to happen is you pay $3.88 for access to something and you're secretly enrolled in a program where every month you're billed $72 until you opt out. That's what's usually going on with these money tree systems. So you see these things, and people are like, "Oh, you make tons of money! You can't help but make money! You're too stupid to tie your shoes and you make $107,000." People still fall for it, just because it has Google in it, or it has Google on a potted plant. "Oh, well it's got to be from Google!" No, it's not from Google. Don't do this sort of stuff. One thing I love about WordPress is Matt and Automattic, in the terms of service for WordPress.com, specifically say, "Don't spam." Don't do things like paid posts. It pisses off your users. It tends to get caught pretty quickly. And right there in the terms of service, "Don't do things—third-party sites— that would boost the search engine rankings", that sort of stuff. Enough said. The one plea that I would make, the one ask that I would have, is please keep your WordPress updated. And we've just barely got enough time to show an example of that. The American Nazi Party. Is anyone in here pro-Nazi? Any big fans of the Nazis in here? I didn't think so. I tend not to be a big Nazi fan myself, so I thought it was really funny. This is hilarious, by the way. Evidently, for Nazis, put in a bunch of eights, and your comments are like way cool. Like, "Ah, you are a much better Nazi than me! You have eights in your comments!" But I thought it was hilarious, because if you go down to the bottom of the Nazi Party archives, Oh, no! Maridia, Hoodia, cheap Cialis, Cialis for women. I didn't even know they had Cialis for women! Ah, man! And so you have this dilemma. Who do you hate more? The Nazis, or the hackers who have hacked the Nazis' web site? [laughter] I don't know; it's an issue. But it happens, and the best thing you can do to try to avoid it is make sure that you have done good security yourself. So in particular, there's this really cool site called Save the Internet. And they fight for net neutrality and all this sort of stuff. But earlier this week, if you went to blog/wp-content/uploads/authors/pletal, you can buy Viagra from this Canadian pharmacy. And it's got to be trustworthy; it's the number one Internet drug store! It's very simple. WordPress has gotten much, much better about security. There are automatic updates. All you have to do is take advantage of them. And if you're a super power user, and everything you've heard up until now has been completely boring, you're like "Oh; I know that," here's one power tip: add an .htaccess to your /wp-admin. What this says is—and these are fake IP addresses— what this says is only these two IP addresses are allowed to reach your wp-admin. So when the hackers come in, and they are trying to use some brand new zero-day exploit, they can't get to your blog to hack it. If you search for like "protect wp-admin" or "htaccess", and I will put this up on my blog as well, so you don't have to frantically write it down, it's a fantastic thing to say, "Yeah? You know what? Only I can get to my blog." Let me close out by just saying a huge thanks to Automattic and WordPress. I was looking back at my talk from 2007 and I had like six things on my wish list. Three of them were already done without me even asking for it. Automatic updates for security, better protection for /wp-content, and "rel=canonical". I haven't even talked about rel=canonical, because you really don't need to know about it. It's a standard that lets you say, "Given two web pages, here is the web page that should be the preferred one in Google." And the folks at Automattic have basically built this in. It's already live on WordPress.com. As I understand, in the core of 2.8 it is coming as well. So you don't have to know anything about it. All you need to know is that you'll do better in search engines because you won't be dividing PageRank between multiple pages. The Automattic folks and WordPress folks have been fantastic about being receptive. That's it. I'll be around throughout the rest of the day, if anyone has questions. Thank you.

Video Details

Duration: 46 minutes and 23 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Producer: Dave Curlee
Views: 241
Posted by: wordpresstv on Aug 27, 2009

Matt Cutts from the Web Spam team at Google showcases the good and the bad of WordPress as seen through the eyes of Google, including basics on how Google search works and how you can boost your blog's results in Google searches.

Video produced by John P and Dave Curlee.

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