Best SEO Blog of 2005!

You may already know this, but Search Engine Journal declared the winner in the “most likely to flame a spammer” category, and I beat Jeremy! Woohoo! I’m also very flattered that people rated me high enough to snag the Best SEO Blog of 2005. Thanks go out to everyone that supported my stab at trying something new this year.

Congrats to the other winners, including Search Engine Watch Blog (Best Search Engine News Blog), Search Engine Roundtable (Best Search Engine Community Blog), Technorati Weblog (News & Blog Search Engine Run Blogs), JenSense (Search Engine Marketing and Contextual Advertising Blogs), and the Official Google Blog (Search Engine Owned Blogs). Congrats also to all the sites that were nominated.

I can’t believe my site has only been live since August; in a lot of ways, I’m still getting my feet wet and getting the hang of things. I can’t wait for 2006; I’ll be trying a few new ways to give (and get!) feedback and advice this year. What would you like to see me try in 2006?

59 Responses to Best SEO Blog of 2005! (Leave a comment)

  1. Kentucky Redneck

    Happy New Year Matt. Congrats

  2. TearingHairOut

    Congatulations Matt, a fitting reward for your efforts.

    Also, Happy New Year! My resolution is not to whine as much in comments.

  3. Wayne

    I can think of one thing. Anyone who post on your blog is registered to receive a site review from the master himself…You. Hold a weekly or Bi weekly random selection that is auto selected by some type of script or however you see fit to choose.

    I believe this is one way to attract even more traffic and visitors to your blog and maybe entice a few more people to read, educate and contribute comments to your blogs. This would also give more examples of what Google is able to detect and show other webmasters what should and shouldnt be done with thier sites according to Google/ You.

    Even though I havent had any of my questions answered yet by you, I hope you seriously consider this. Have a Great New Year One And All!! Lets hope 2006 is a Great Year!!

    PS: if you are already doing the site reviews through some other means, please excuse this post.

  4. Congratulations Matt a well deserved accolade and I look forward to more reading 2006.

    An idea would be to start a questions and answers area on your blog, sort of like this:

    Create an email just for that: q@mattcutts.com have people email their questions there and pick the ones that would be a benefit to the community as a whole and answer them. There are lots of questions regarding Google that I’m sure many would like to ask. I’m talking about the usual “why isn’t my site ranking syndrome’ I’m talking about other issues that would be helpful.

    Just a thought…

  5. You could remove some the Sasquatch, Bermuda Triangle, Loch Ness Monster and el chupacabra mystery from the thing that might be perceived as a sandbox like effect but is not actually a sandbox.

  6. What would you like to see me try in 2006?

    Explain the sandbox effect – in real detail ;)

  7. Nadir

    Congrats Matt but you would excuse me, I really don’t see why you are the number 1 Blog for SEO!.. While you provide great information (from time to time), as a SEO I find more valuable information on blogs such as SEOmoz or Martinibuster Blog.
    Your blog for me became number 1 just as the SUN in the UK the most popular daily newspaper. People enjoy conflicts and controversy, and that’s what you provide with your posts about the spams you uncovered. I have nothing against that, you do whatever you want, that’s your blog, but please next time, don’t put that kind of posts under the category that you named “SEO”. I don’t need to see what a spammy site looks like, I just need useful information.

  8. Well, for um.. there’s nothing else here on the front page, how about a photo gallery? That would be a nice something else and could be a lot of fun.

    I like the “site reviews” and it would be nice to have a couple showing duplicate content.

  9. german

    What I would like to have?

    A site review without penalty to have the time to clean the site (if you start with the sites of this site’s posters).
    There is always something that may be frowned upon (or may not) and I am not sure everybody would like to have a site review from the head of the spam search (by writing this it is also possible you have already gone through my site).And when I say time, I mean it. My sites have together 300 hand written html and php pages (some of them not crawlable because they are not meant to be in the index but I would have to change them too). If there is something to change in the design/structure, I can’t do it overnight (and I am not a webdesigner so it is not my full time job to work on my sites)

    Go on with the test DC. One of my site gone URL only (site: function is also messed up) because of 302 and/or duplicate content and is starting to reapear there. I am not loosing much because it had never shown in the serps but it would be nice to think it could.

  10. Matt

    Good suggestions; keep ‘em coming. Also, Happy New Year everyone!

    I’m going to bed; S.E.W., what is #8?

  11. Harith

    Good morning Matt

    “What would you like to see me try in 2006?”

    Give us a Google site search box on your blog. Its FREE, btw :-)

  12. 1) Definitely some sample site reviews to educate the rest of us of common mistakes that Google picks up.

    2) Some hints about upcoming/just released ALGO changes that we can use to improve our sites, instead of simply feeling like vicitims of persecution.

    Thanks,
    Brian

  13. Hi Matt

    If the unique content is king in Web, I have problem with my site getting good ranking in SERPs. I add unique content written by our team every day but still not good results. Am i doing anything wrong?

  14. firstly HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR to YOU and YOURS.

    and I’d just like to say how nice it is to come here and know that the information you give is relevant and true and not just pure speculation.
    Thanks Matt.

    what I would dearly like to know

    a) why do sites suddenly disappear temporarily – it’s happened to me 4 times now and although everyone says it is just a temporary thing and it’ll come back, just be patient (still waiting this time though) it is so worrying and so tempting to try and alter something – just in case we’ve upset some algo – a broad explanation from GG as to why this happens would be so welcome instead of the deafening silence which is sooooo frustrating.

    b) why does the cache date change – another worry – yesterday mine was Dec 25, this morning it’s gone back to Dec 22nd.

    c) if GG indexes pages rather than sites – how come the whole site disappears?

    d) if GG places so much emphasis on longevity, unique content, very relevant inbound and reciprocal links how come new, automated price comparison espotting/overture fed sites simply leapfrog above them?

    e) why does GG place so much emphasis on trying to catch the black hats and spammers instead of looking after the bona fida websites.
    If a url is http://www.yellow-toy-ducks and the meta title,description and tags all contain yellow toy ducks, the H1 page title is Yellow Toy Ducks and there are numerous on page references to buying, making and finding Yellow Toy Ducks, and all links point to other Yellow Toy Duck sites – then I guess the site is about Yellow Toy Ducks and if someone searches for Yellow Toy Ducks then this site should come pretty near the top of the GG serps and not
    price comparison sites whose main words are Yellow Toy Dogs and has only one reference to ducks or sites that sell one yellow toy duck among many other items, or articles such as ‘Britney buys Yellow Toy Duck for infant’.

    If GG did this than I’m sure many more webmasters would report more bad sites that managed to infiltrate the serps rather than giving up and trying to emulate them.

    f) how would the good folk at Googleplex feel if they turned up for work one morning and found themselves suddenly demoted, had their salaries cut by 90% and been replaced by the office bully/cheat/procurer of company stationery/paperclips and toilet paper – and when they asked why – were assured it’s simply company policy, you haven’t done anything wrong and you’re not really being penalized in any way – a frightening thought!!

    anyway have a good New Years Day.

  15. Hi Matt

    I better re-prhrase my above statement as I missed a crucial word out:

    It read: I’m talking about the usual “why isn’t my site ranking syndrome’

    It was meant to read: I’m ‘NOT’ talking about the usual “why isn’t my site ranking syndrome’

    It was New Year after all and my mind was in a hundred different places. ;-)

  16. What would you like to see me try in 2006?

    Lightly sauteed octopus tentacles with a wasabi melon relish.

    Why? Because I just made that up and I’m curious to know if it tastes better than it sounds.

    On film would be great. I recommend YouTube :D

  17. Barron

    So as your blog is relatively new, I take it that it’s sandboxed, especially as it has picked up so many backlinks?

    One of my sites has been sandboxed for 8 months despite only picking up 12 backlinks.

    Some kind of explanation as to how the sandbox really works would be useful.

    Congrats on your award.

  18. Well done Matt and here’s to a great new year.

    “What would you like to see me try in 2006?”

    I’d like you to get one of my new sites out of the litterbox in 2006 that would be lovely.

  19. More accurate weather reports that actually explain what Google is trying to achieve with each change. You don’t to give away any secrets, just provide us with some additional guidance.

    My site dropped like a rock in September and I’m still trying to figure out what that update was all about. I’d make some changes IF it didn’t hurt the user experience.

  20. Congratulations on your well deserved award Matt.

    Also to SERGEY or LARRY (two other guys who apparently work at google – lol!) – who have been nominate as Business Person(s) of the Year 2005 by The Sunday Times. Apparently they stated something search engine thingy – or something!!

    New for 2006?
    More explanations of SEO/ techno stuff in plain English ie simple for the non-tech people who have websites. Like myself – I have several websites but I’m not really a webmaster (more a web monkey!) I just follow the manual. I’m mostly interested in my subject area and photographs/ writing etc. All of this SEO stuff is difficult to get to grips with as there is so little written about it – books I mean. In the UK none of my local bookshops have any books on SEO – I had to go to amazon for a Dummies book. This is despite the fact that we have four bookshops and this is a University town. I think that there are very many people like myself who only have a vague idea of the trends/ changes/ in and outs of the SEO world. You have to remember that there was no such subject 18 months ago.

    Anyway – keep up the good work and Happy New Year for 2006!

    Regards David

  21. Stephen

    “What would you like to see me try in 2006?”

    Would love you to fix the Canonical url problem ! – he he.

    To be fair as I have said before the Canonical url problem seems to have sorted out for some homepages on the test DC – just these page dont have any rank.

    Does that make sense – is this expected at this stage and more waiting required, more development on the DC – or time for the Canonicalpage feedback to Google :(

  22. Matt – still looking for your post on how to get quality/trusted backlinks. Happy New Year!

  23. Congratulations Matt. The award is well deserved…

    2006? I’d like to see a lot more of the same, since it’s always a great read, inspiring (generally) good comments.

    Out of all the great suggestions above, I couldn’t think of anything completely original, but I think the most useful would be an “Ask Matt” ability like Vincent suggested, for separating fact from fiction, and asking specific questions.

    This would give you lots of food for thought concerning what to write about, and then people might not ask so many questions in their comments.

    Keep it up, and happy new year!

  24. Matt,

    Your material is far and away my “find of 2005.” Yours is the voice of reason and common sense that I cannot do without.

    And not an algorithm to be found! What a bonus. ;-)

    Congratulations. Thank you. Best wishes for 2006.

    All the best,
    Ken

  25. Happy new year to Matt and all.

    I’d like to see more regular site reviews – not just for sites which use hidden text & other easily spotted BH techniques, but maybe – for sites that are failing to rank well because of poor site construction, poor internal link structures, silly mistakes (not in coding but in “optimization”) etc etc…

    No offence but it seems like most of your reviews to date have been focussing on sites employing fairly obvious (although not always easily spotted) blackhat methods… those of us struggling to compete without resorting to such methods are given very little specific advice on legitimate ways to improve our rankings (just a lot of conflicting information from people who aren’t necessarily well motivated to help competitors)… some guidance from you would be fabulous and site reviews would be a damn good way to do it IMHO.

    Thanks for all your help in 2005, congrat’s on your blog success so far and good luck for 2006 (and always remember – if you weren’t Matt Cutts – you too could constantly live in fear of a new google algo which would ruin your livelihood overnight) :)

  26. ScottW

    Congrats Matt. I’m glad to see that all the great info you’ve put in your blog is getting you some love. Does “Best SEO Blog” come with a performance based incentive for you? I hope so.

    Take care and Happy New Year.

  27. maxD

    I think site reviews would be cool.
    Entertaining seeing peoples site being ripped to shreds.
    Larry and Sergey would be cool too but I guess they are too busy buying billionaire toys to post here.
    What constitues quality, defined mathematically rather than”link to sites you like”
    Matt Cutts to interview someone who he respects and post it here.
    Own up to the sandbox existing.
    Put adsense on this blog and sell text links just so people can bitch about you.
    Post some rants about what really p***** you off in the search industry.

  28. Congrats Matt. Thanks for all of your (free) hard work!

  29. Aaron Pratt

    I can think of one thing. Anyone who post on your blog is registered to receive a site review from the master himself…You. Hold a weekly or Bi weekly random selection that is auto selected by some type of script or however you see fit to choose.

    Yea’ that homeslice! Boiy!

  30. Ian R

    Congratulations on a well deserved award. I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Have a Happy New Year.

  31. Matt,
    Congrats to you and a Happy New Year! I remember when you first started talking about the blog at SES..I wish you continued success. All the ideas above are great and would help out the SEO community, inturn helping Google.

    My wish for 2006 would be more of the spammer reviews, with the addition of no spammy site reviews that are doing things right.

    Happy New Year Matt and everyone!

  32. claus

    Congrats Matt, and Happy New Year :) Although there are plenty of good search blogs around yours is certainly in the top. And entertaining too.

    I know that there are lots of official Google blogs, and other Google bloggers as well (see shameless linkplug: http://searchlogger.net/ ). But yours is often pretty hands-on and hence often more interesting than even the official ones. Plus you’ve got that “official-non-official-Google-voice”, like it or not.

    Anyway, regarding this particular blog, it seems discussion isn’t really working when you’ve got 500 people posting questions and commentary after each post. Plus what they write on their own blogs and so on and soforth. There’s just no time for all those individual follow-ups, and quite a few interesting discussions get left behind.

    So, here’s my point:

    Wouldn’t it be an idea to team up with some of those other Google bloggers and make a concerted effort? Some sort of “This is not an official Google group blog – just a few Googlers who like search”?

    Not only would it enable you to get some work done (or whatever), it would also give your audience more food for thought. And it would probably boost the internal Google information-sharing as well. Oh, and you would feel a lot better about gadget posts :)

    I’m not sure about the format – perhaps a blog, perhaps a forum, perhaps a wiki. Perhaps a combination. Anyway, get cloned, or team up with somebody :)

    ——-

    Oh, and get a contact form on this blog. Why do all bloggers forget that? It’s not always that what you want to say is a comment to something else.

    Perhaps with a semi-complicated puzzle required for activation, whatever. As long as it’s there. I bet most will just comment anyway, so it should not give a lot of extra work.

  33. Sweet! Feedback time!

    Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea: I’m a big fan of this blog. I think Matt does a lot of cool stuff with it, and the fact that someone’s being that open with the rest of us, knowing of the potential for a bunch of people to flame, insult, degrade, belittle, bitch, whine, moan, and complain at him is very high, shows what type of strength of character Matt has. I truly don’t know if I could sit there and have to put up with some of the crap he does on here, and I’m sure there’s a bunch we don’t see that he has to delete.

    I like the site, and it’s why I’m a regular poster/feedbacker on it. But…he asked for improvement, and in order for him to have the chance to do it, I’m going to give him the benefit of as much input as I possibly can. It’s not in the interest of complaining, but in the interest of constructive criticism.

    With that disclaimer out of the way, here goes.

    Suggestions

    1) How about one of these threads per month? A “how am I doing” kind of thing…needs change throughout the year, right?

    2) On the point about reviewing websites: I’d like to take the suggestion one step further. There are those of us who post regularly to your blog and try to help out where and when we can (for example, Aaron Pratt). And I’m sure some of us out there have sites that we would like a little guidance on (there’s one in particular that I’d love to get some feedback on).

    So, my thought is this: what if we’re able to submit our sites to you via a private form (or blog post) for review and you pick the ones that would improve if we tweaked one or two things and focused on those? But pick based at least partly on the feedback that you get from us in return; in other words, those of us who give you more to work with should get more back.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I honestly wouldn’t mind if you ripped into a site I did if I could see how I could improve on it and make it better both to the engines and to you. Even if that means I took a little short-term blog heat here, I’d deal. It’s how people learn.

    3) More posts where you take pics of stuff and then photoshop really lame effects in. That just rocked. :)

    4) This isn’t for you specifically but for Google in general: a way to know that if and when we report spam sites, there’s some acknowledgement that it has been looked into. It doesn’t have to be a great big diatribe, but a 5-10 minute “we looked into a.com and its backlinking strategy is appropriate” would work. Just something so that we know that, if we’re trying to help you guys out by reporting this type of thing, you’re trying to help out searchers in turn by looking into it.

    5) Another major algorithm update, just so we all have something to bitch about. :) Seriously, on this note, I loved how you posted the one test DC and let us all have a look at what should be going on.

    But what I’d like to see happen is that there is a specific test DC. What I’d suggest is a subdomain like http://betadc.google.com where you can test stuff out and let us know what you’re doing. This way, we could see what’s coming and fix our sites [b]before[/b] we get burned, and we could also provide feedback on specific aspects on whatever you’re testing as well as results.

    So if you’re testing a backlink filter, you can say “do you know of any sites with really crappy backlinks? Search for them under various keywords/phrases” and we can report back. After all, 50 sets of eyes is better than 1.

    6) I’m not sure if this is because you didn’t see it or whether it’s because you didn’t think it was worth your time, but I left you a private message about 5 days ago concerning a potentially very large SERP manipulator, and haven’t seen any sign of acknowledgement yet.

    Don’t get me wrong…I’m not mad. Like I said, you may not have seen it (it’s in the Text Link Follow-up thread, in case you didn’t). You’ve probably got a billion of ‘em, and I’m the same as everyone else on here (no better, no worse).

    But that leads to my suggestion: maybe in the portion where you moderate the posts, you could give yourself a button indicating that “yes, I have read and acknowledge reading your post and if any further action is necessary, I’ll get back to you”. Ideally, it wouldn’t be a form letter, but I can understand if it would be.

    The point is…it’d be a nice feature for your users to know that, when they do tell you something privately, it’s there.

    SPEECH! SPEECH! SPEECH

    Dude, you won an award. You need an acceptance speech.

    Here, I’ll get you started.

    “I’m just…I’m just…I’m just so happy to be nominated. :~~~~~~~~~~) I’d like to thank…I’d like to thank the fans…the fans of my blog…:~~~~~~~~~~~~) and my mom…and…and…Elvis, who was a big inspiration in my life and never stole from my bag of weed :~~~~~~~~~)…”

    (Take it from here, big man.)

  34. One more thing:

    Have a happy, safe, and very sportsmanlike 2006.

  35. Matt –

    Congratulations on the awards!

    I was a bit surprised about beating Jeremy in the flaming award though, you tend to be more … diplomatic.

    More case studies and more about the evil and mysterious killer filters like duplicate content, selling links?, reciprocal linking?, where a site does not violate any guidelines and remains in the index yet the site’s rankings are effectively killed.

  36. TearingHairOut

    I’ll add another line or two to Adam Senour’s speech for you:

    (sniff) You all like me very much (sniff). Blogging is important…we must show the world what happened here. SEO must be taught in our schools. There is the one true creator who created Google (actually make that two creators) and they love us all….

  37. Congratulations on the award Matt!

    I think you are doing a great job with the blog. I wish you could give more specific info. on Google’s algorithm. How about adding some polls or more website critiques?

    Have a happy new year!

    Marc

  38. TearingHairOut

    I thought of one thing that you could do for 2006 – give an answer to the following query:

    Do networks that place rotating text link ads on members sites (as opposed to paid static text links) constitute a ‘linking scheme’ as per Google’s list of “Don’ts”?

  39. Congrats Matt,

    What you can try to do? Uhmn…make this website’s PR 10 :D

    Can you?

  40. Congratulations Matt!

    How about telling us of a way to expedite the Google Analytics waiting process. I mean, at this point, I’d be willing to pay (within reason) to have the service, instead of waiting indefinitely.

  41. Congatulations Matt, a fitting reward for your efforts.

    Also, Happy New Year!

  42. Aaron Pratt

    You go Adam! ;)

    That sounds like some fun stuff…

  43. Harith

    Good morning Matt

    I see the folks at WMW talking about New Serps on Google since 1st January 2006 !!!

    Are we approaching BigDaddy ? :-)

    Have a great sunny day.

  44. Happy New Year Matt,

    Suggestions,.. :)

    What does Google not like about it’s own search engine? It’s (too) low ability to catch spam sites? I’m sure of it but that’s not interesting enough.

    I guess one of the main problems with the Google algorithms is the incredible, enormous, astronomical amount of computing power it requires. A simple PR update is a rediculous amount of work. One of the problems with the Google algorithms is that they analyze as much data as possible and all in the highest detail. Obviously it won’t be possible to continue doing this.

    So my suggestion: Create algorithms that require much less computing power.

    How to do that? I have my ideas, but I leave it to you guys to figure it out on your own,. ;)

    Cheers,

    Peter

  45. Del Maxwell

    Matt – I’d like you to start a site and not publicly state that you (a Google employee) are the owner, and see if people still care about what you say and if they still link to you.

  46. I second Phic…

    Explain the sandbox effect – in real detail

    Would really love to know more about sandbox effect.

  47. Congrats on the awards!

    I really don’t have a request for you to change anything on the way you approach your blog. It has been great to just have a reliable source for information about our ever changing profession. All we ask are for regular updates on major/minor changes that are happening that will allow us as web designers to provide accurate help to those we service.

  48. Hey Matt,

    Congrats on winning the blog award!

    I was wondering: How come my site isn’t indexed in google? http://www.merchant-account-info-center.info is over a month old. I have submitted three times but I am sure by the third submit that is already two times too much. Any suggestions? I want google to like me :)

  49. Very useful stuff Matt! I am inspired to go through these blogs including yours :)

    Best wishes,
    SEM Times

  50. smoke2much

    I think you should create permanent accounts for posters of comments, which I guess would make this more like a forum than a blog, but It would be better that way anyway. Blogs are overrated. I think your ready to expand on this site and make it more interactive for us repeat visitors.

    Thanks for all you do, you deserve the award.

    Happy New Year!

  51. Matt,
    I believe this is the fastest way to let you know in case if noone at GG goesn’t know about it yet.

    http://google.by Do you know about it?

    I read the article written in Russian at http://www.it-belarus.net/news/read/2004/08/14/

    The agency which owns this domain (belarus agency ActiveMedia) claims that they negotiated with Google regarding google.by and Google said they don’t interested at Belarus market. But as you can see here we go – http://www.google.com/intl/be/, this is Belarus mirror for GG, the legal mirror. But Google.by is just a pure traffic theft

  52. David

    I understand everyone wanting more information about seo and a personal site check, too. But this is not a forum or a google service (or did I miss the matt cutts API?).
    I like the personal touch of this blog and hope it won’t change.
    Remeber: To comment on this blog is not a right – it’s a privilege.
    People should make suggestions about which issues are interesting to know more about from Matt’s perspective, but not expect anything. He has a job and life- this blog probably takes him more time to maintain than he thought in the first place.

    IMHO the award was well deserved – not only because of Matt’s good articles but some of the very best comments posted by others.

  53. Hey Matt,
    Here’s another SEO Blog “popularity” contest you’ve shown up on:
    http://www.kbcafe.com/iBLOGthere4iM/?guid=20060101232742

    What’s best about these things is the interesting blogs that you might not otherwise see.

    As far as suggestions for 2006, how about more gadget posts?

  54. I am merely trying to find out if the site is sandboxed (nothing I can do to fix) versus I did something serious and it is fixable. I don’t expect a long drawn out diatribe about how to fix the site. A simple yes I am sandboxed or a simple no is all is required.

    Matt is a great guy and he has about as much spare time as a homeless person has spare change. So I realize he may not be able to give me a map of the problem I am faced with. If I have a direction then thats all I really need. Afterall I can read this blog and figure out the problems on my own :)

  55. Artyom,

    That’s an interesting Google clone. Being born in Belarus, it’s even more interesting to me, but I think the Belarussian search market is so small that it’s not a top priority for them.

  56. Hey Matt, congrats on the award!

    I’d love to see some surveys on your blog in 2006. Unscientific, sure, but interesting nonetheless.

    Possibly survey topics:

    - How many hours spent per week “optimizing” websites
    - Matt’s best post of the week
    - Breakdown of specialists versus do-it-yourselfers on your blog
    - Most significant optimization challenges (for ex: getting links, writing content, etc)

  57. Those are good stuff, Matt! Congrats and happy new year!

  58. To comment on this blog is not a right – it’s a privilege.
    Thank u for the opportunity

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