Confirmed SEO Facts (by Matt Cutts)
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13 November 2012

Confirmed SEO Facts (by Matt Cutts)

After many months following the blog and video posts of Google’s Search Quality Group big cheese “Matt Cutts” I have been making notes and decided to write down some of his confirmed statements.

Please note these are taken from the video blogs of Matt Cutts over the past year. Google could change their algorithms and any point on here may then become redundant.

In case there are newbies out there Matt Cutts works for the “Google Search Quality Group” and has become famous (or notorious?) for his video blogs on Google .

Also note that there is always the chance that everything he is telling us is in fact a load of tosh – always best to try and get some hard research to prove the theories like SEO Moz do….

On-site SEO factors-

  • Use hyphens or commas as “Page Title” or header separators - not underscores. Matt Cutts on Seperators
  • If possible use a file extension (.html) or at least have mime type to help Google and also users. Matt Cutts on File Extensions
  • You can “unleash” hundreds of pages (obviously all with great content) at once with no penalty -thousands of new pages, however, “may” flag up for review. Matt Cutts on Unleashing Pages
  • A HTML Sitemap is still recommended by Google for googlebots & for users. Matt on Sitemaps and Apples
  • Google does not “penalise” duplicate content - it will just show one page over another.  If there are 3 pages of duplicate content on your website it generally will only show 1 result on a Google results page, (unless the search is incredibly longtail and specific – but of course we now get the “omitted results” link displayed). Google just shows the content that it feels is most relevant to the users search. New algorithms take into account things like content age (so original content is more likely to rank higher). (Greg gives the best explanation, not Matt) Greg Grothaus on Duplicate Content
  • A webpage being 4 levels down in the URL (example.com/some-news/2011/march/a-great-news-article.htm) is just as valuable as a webpage 1 level down (example.com/a-great-news-article.htm) IF linked to from a top level page. Matt Cutts on URL Levels
  • In SEO terms,“example.com/tools/hammers/a-great-hammer” is no different than having  ”example.com/tools-hammer-a-great-hammer”. In user terms, however, it can start to look spammy to have multiple keywords separated by a hyphen. Matt Cutts on URL’s
  • “Read More” dropdowns CAN be seen as hidden text (blackhat) if large areas of text are hidden with only a small area of visible text. If there are reams and reams of text hidden below a javascript/accordion type button with only a few words always visible then it will show as being hidden text to Google. Instead use tabs to show as much content as possible that switches with tabbed buttons. Matt Cutts on Hidden Read More’s
  • Using the visitors IP address to change the title & heading to the local language/dialect is perfectly acceptable. Geo-location content is not classed as content cloaking. Matt Cutts on Geo-location
  • It is better to have keywords in the URL as it is taken as a factor in the ranking results, albeit only one of over 200. Matt Cutts on Keywords in URL’s

Links and off-site factors

  • Google will not penalise a website that uses the “no follow” attribute on all of its outbound links - Matt Cutts on No Follow
  • On-site links are no longer restricted to 100 links per page (as Google guidelines used to state). It is perfectly reasonable to have more if the page and site is rich in content. Common sense is needed, however, as 1000′s of links on a page could indicate a link farm. Also keep in mind that pagerank on a page is divided out to the links on the page (a PR4 page with 40 links will mean each link gets a 1/40th chunk of the PR) so it may be beneficial to have only important pages linked to from a high PR site. Matt Cutts on link numbers
  • Links at the bottom of the page are treated differently than ones at the top or within the content body. Matt Cutts on link locations
  • The amount of 301 redirects to a domain will not penalise you. 301 redirects carry link text (anchor text) but if there are too many new links being generated to a 301 redirected URL it could look shady. Matt Cutts on 301′s (old)

 

Other interesting facts -

  • Matt Cutts quotesCurrently the Google bots only crawl from ip addresses in the USA – not from any other country. Matt Cutts on Googlebots
  • A good best practice for mobile sites is to have it on a subdomain, e.g. mobile.example.com and to show the mobile site to mobile viewers and googlebot mobile, whilst showing the regular version to regular viewers and standard googlebot (not classed as cloaking). Matt Cutts on Mobile Sites
  • Blocking the search engines from seeing some pages on a website (e.g. robots.txt) means it will not be seen if users are using safe search on Google, so at one point many pages on the whitehouse.gov website were not shown by Google to safe search users as they potentially could give adult material. Matt Cutts on Safesearch
  • Twitter IS now indexed by Google different to a standard webpage. However historic tweets may not be continually indexed.Matt Cutts on Twitter Indexing ….. and here again
  • If you are penalised by Google spiderbots for what it detects as duplicate content or blackhat issues then the next time it comes round to indexing the webpage/site it will take a fresh view of the page, i.e. the changes you have made to fix the problems will be then taken note of. If, however, you have been a very naughty boy and Google have taken manual action to penalise your website then they typically set a time-out on the penalty that varies due to the severity of the cyber-crime. Matt Cutts on being Penalised
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