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Matt Cutts Pubcon 2013 speech takeaways and digest

| Posted in category Google Search Engine Optimization Search Engines Search News

SEO NewsWe all know Matt Cutts will never tell us everything.

But every time he speaks at an event or a conference, thousands of SEOs worldwide listen to him carefully hoping to extract maximum of valuable information from his words.

The head of Google webspam team gave a keynote speech at Pubcon 2013 in Las Vegas last week.

But to save your time and effort we will cover the points of this speech that might be important for SEO in practice.


Speech breakdown and actionable recommendations

1. "If you are paying for PageRank, you probably aren't doing something right." Google has identified a lot of the press release sites and ignores the links but doesn't penalize press release users.

Takeaway: Now you know you won't be punished for links from press releases. Press releases won't help you with link building, but at least they're harmless. So if you have newsworthy events to share, write and distribute press releases with traditional PR goals in mind: publicity, brand awareness, attention of journalists that write in your niche. Forget about using press releases for the sake of getting a dozen of links: Google won't take them into account anyway and it won't improve your rankings.

2. Authorship 15% reduction is very likely to take place. Google is going to pick more authoritative writers and websites to show authorship and rich snippets in SERP. They've tested this method and it adds to search result quality.

Takeaway: authorship will probably work better with adding authority to your website. Just mark-up without building strong presence is not a solution.

3. Matt talks about +1's and other social signals. They do not have a direct impact on rankings, but a positive history of social signals can add to your authority and improve your search presence in future.

Takeaway: don't focus on just getting more +1's but think long-term strategy - in fact, here we are going back to websites authority.

4. Use the disavow tool as a last resort.

Takeaway: make sure you've done everything to clean your link profile before disavowing the links. It shouldn't be a first-to-do point if you see that your link profile may hurt your strategy.

5. The future of search will be about machine learning, mobile search and social identity plus authorship.

Takeaway: Google will understand users' queries better. Hummingbird is connected to these Google intentions, thus our recommendations for this algo will become even more relevant with time.

6. Ads above the fold will be at Google’s interest in future.

Takeaway: pay attention to what users see first when they’re coming to your website. Look at the quality and quantity of ads and remember that people go to your website to get valuable information, not to look or click on ads.

And more advice from Matt (and Google):

  • It’s time to get ready for mobile seriously, because it's on right now and the importance of mobile presence will increase.
  • Use Autocomplete for your website forms to make user experience better.
  • Rich snippets appearance can depend on website quality, so make sure your website is all okay not to lose these. Don’t miss the chance to receive more clicks from SERPs thanks to rich snippets. Do not attach authorship markup to low quality or completely irrelevant content, which can lead to your authorship markup disappearance from the SERP.
  • Pay attention to authority. Google wants to be able to push you up a little higher for search queries related to a topic in which you are an authority. "Keep writing about it, keep developing, keep deepening the amount of content you have," says Matt.
  • Remember that Google was not created for SEO. Google wants to organize information, not to be a promotion tool. That is why it's so strict about low quality websites and bad content.

To sum it up

Matt likes to play with words and is not precise about things he doesn't want to tell us. He is still very unclear about definitions of social signals, about authorship and authority nature and their impact on rankings. He just lets us know these factors' importance will increase in the future (or has been increased lately).

  • Create great content and quality websites for people, not for Google

  • Build your authority and investigate your niche deeper, be consistent about it

  • Keep up to the trends (mobile + semantic and voice search)

  • Build a strong network or community around your websites to use the most of social signals, think not quantity but quality in connection with authority

 If you have time and patience, feel free to watch the whole speech.

What are your impressions about Matt's speech? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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