Short article of free SEO tips

Jefferson Graham of USA Today stopped by the Googleplex a little while ago and we talked about SEO tips for business owners that want to run their business, not live and breathe search 24 hours a day. The result is an article of search engine optimization (SEO) advice that you could hand to any friend that runs a mom/pop business who wants learn a little more about SEO. Experts won’t be surprised, but Graham’s article covers the basics for a general audience very well.

65 Responses to Short article of free SEO tips (Leave a comment)

  1. Dave (Original)

    Get other sites to “link” back to you.

    Google says it looks at more than 100 pieces of data to determine a site’s ranking. ***But links are where it’s at***, once your search terms are clearly visible on your site and the title and description tags correctly marked.

    ***But links are where it’s at***

    Matt, this is again, only feeding the link, email spam for links, PageRank and link buying frenzies and see those who don’t “not live and breathe search 24 hours a day” BANNED/PENALIZED by Google.

    Surely any half-decent article *aimed at the average Webmaster* should state that, links must be earned, based on good unqiue content, for them to count towards PR and ranking? Exchange links with ON TOPIC pages and submit to directories that do NOT require a link back so Google know the site exists and what ‘flavor’ it is.

  2. The take away from Graham’s article that I thought was most valuable was, get a blog. Matt, you have made this point and live it. You have a blog, a WordPress blog, which in my opinion is the most efficient in terms of optimization and CMS. And you write in it often. A WordPress blog comes with so many tools for the average guy to plug into (pun intended) that once you have a WordPress blog you almost do not need to worry about tagging, titles, content structure as it prompts you for this. If you write interesting stuff, people will link to you, stumble you etc. I have been giving this advice to my friends for years now and it amazes me how many still are looking for an easier way. Easier than what I say, getting a WordPress blog? They often say they have not the patience for the WordPress 5 minute install or and go off mumbling something about ‘I want to know the real tricks of SEO’. So my point is Graham’s advice can be better summarized into one point, that is, get a WordPress blog and use it properly, if you are a new person to SEO and websites.

  3. Harith

    Matt,

    As “basics for a general audience”, the article might be very helpful. But if you keep teaching SEO for free, there is a risk that you put several SEOs out of business. We don’t that to happen, do we :)

    Btw, I don’t see you I see feeling “Vacation-y” this year. How come :)

  4. Harith You are right about this … sometimes this is the only reason i feel seo dont have any future … lol

  5. Andreas

    As usual, 1+2 are very good advices, then it becomes google’s beloved grey theory again. (Links:) A plumber from Ohio or Dentist from New York do not get any links apart from a few friends from completely different areas. (Content:) A plumber and a dentist may not have the ability to write lots of stories for their blogs (the article suggested something ‘funny stories’, but it may also very well be simply ‘professional articles’). They naturally end up with basically the same content hundreds of other plumbers in Ohio and dentists in New York publish on their sites (i.e. there are not many unique tooth whitening procedures existing).
    Thats why I say, Matt, open Google up for link exchanges again. Do not discount link exchanges. Last time I was at my local dentist, he has flyers from a toothpaste product there (related) and from a hotel (unrelated). My local driving range has flyers from a nearby spa and a restaurant. These flyers are published mutually.

  6. I’am agree wit Harith but i think that this article on Usatoday is for general audience that ask what’s SEO so it’s useful. Not all are webmaster, programmer, blogger.

  7. Harith

    Ankit,

    “Harith You are right about this … sometimes this is the only reason i feel seo dont have any future … lol”

    No worries. SEO is here to stay, develope, grow and nurish.

    I see no harm in Googlers making Quality Guidelines clear for webmasters or publishing documentation regarding Google.

    But I don’t think that Googlers are qualified to act as SEO teachers or advisors.

    I just wish to continue regarding Googlers as friends, not compititors :-)

  8. Are you sure about point 2:

    “There’s also a third tag, to add keywords, or search terms, but Cutts says Google doesn’t put much weight in its rankings on that one.”

    If there is even a tiny bit of weight then I’ll put them all back in again but I understood that Google (and just about everybody else) ignores the keyword tag.

  9. Been needed a nice, simple summary of SEO for some clients, so thanks! Its not an easy thing to explain sometimes.

  10. Harith,

    Don’t worry about Google teaching SEO. You know what they say. “Just because they know how to build a piano, doesn’t mean they´re great at playing it” ;)

  11. Harith, certainly there are a lot more non-SEOs than SEOs out there, and I like the idea of a bed and breakfast owner reading this article and saying “Hey, maybe I’ll start a blog about our B&B.”

  12. I didn’t enjoy the article and I’ll tell you why.

    Why should anyone solicit their “friends” for a link in order to please a search engine? It coniving. It is a link scheme of sorts. Shouldn’t the search engine be able to determine important content without the content having to be fluffed up externally.

  13. The article talks about links as a popularity indicator, but Google has devalued the importance of many types of linking that are typically done in an effort to improve organic position in just the last six months.

    In facto here is just one example of how Google feels about links – now even Blogger dynamically adds a “no follow” tag in all links entered in blog post comments. Posting comments with links back to your website USED to be a good SEO linking approach.

    It bears clarification in that Google appears to like “slow” links to articles, blog content, and particularly something that has good topical information and character, not just a link to have a link.

    I would really appreciate your expounding links from a Google-viewpoint as the majority of your readers here, are pros and really want to hear more on the topic of links.

    From my personal viewpoint link programs that many SEO firms sell to clients at a high profit are actually discounted by Google and at this stage in time will not even affect organic position. For that matter it appears that even link bait articles when posted off-site the parent site are not impacting Google’s organic placement position, but that links coming into a site to these type of informational articles (one way inbound to hosted information content) without a reciprocal link in return are considered much more meaningful.

    So if Google says links are “key” let’s hear more on this specific topic. :0)

  14. Andreas – why would a plumber in Ohio need great ranking in Google? All he needs is a few more stories, or links from happy customers, than the other plumbers in Ohio, and I’m guessing he’ll come out top of the list.

    I suspect getting listed at sites providing their professional certification is also good for a lot of trade folk. Local business listing seem to help a lot still, and are usually available freely.

    It is folks competing with global products and services that have the real issue to face. As plumbers can get by with a page that says they are a plumber, where they are, and how to contact them. On top of that soft skills like ensuring the phone is answered when it rings is probably more crucial than a better web presence.

  15. Harith – I totally agree with you although these are just basics but we have to stop Matt. He might give out some secrets in future and put us out of business!

  16. Well, if links are where it’s at, maybe I can pick up some extra money placing links for bed and breakfast blogs.

    But for that one remark, I would say the article surpasses the quality of most SEO-written “how-to” blog posts.

  17. canadafred,

    Can you tell me how to market a business without promoting it? I’s sure like to know that secret… :) Doesn’t exist of course. Google is simply measuring how well known a website is by looking at links that point at that website. They do that because it reflects the importance of the site.

    You can’t determine how important somebody is by just looking at their face. Why do you know that Bush is the president of the USA? By looking at his face???

  18. Lol @ Peter (IMC). Well put.

    I send out a very similar article to prospective clients who turn us down when they are shocked to how much it will cost them. At least the basics give them a good insight for kicking of a… hmmm.. no… not SEO project, but just a generally good website which is search engine friendly. Nothing more, nothing less.

  19. I agree with most of it. Over doing has diminishing returns beyond a point. My goal is if I can get company to adopt basic information flow architecture, design appropriate URLs, Titles, metas and h1 – that’s it.

    After that focus on biz dev activities to generate tons of links back to your site.

    But, John’s point is right that expectation from SEO professional is totally out of line to the good practices of SEO activities.

  20. Dave (Original)

    Can you tell me how to market a business without promoting it?I can. Upload a site with unique quality pages designed for humans and Google will do the marketting for you.

    This blog is a classic example. I might be wrong, but I don’t believe Matt has done 1 iota of marketting and out-ranks many a SEO business.

    Of course, this rules out the need for any SEO which is why the whole concept of “SEO” is myth. That is; Castles built on sand and built on the tide line.

  21. Dave (Original)

    Can you tell me how to market a business without promoting it?

    I can. Upload a site with unique quality pages designed for humans and Google will do the marketting for you.

    This blog is a classic example. I might be wrong, but I don’t believe Matt has done 1 iota of marketting and out-ranks many a SEO business.

    Of course, this rules out the need for any SEO which is why the whole concept of “SEO” is myth. That is; Castles built on sand and built on the tide line.

  22. Harith

    Matt,

    Thanks for feedback on my first question. Fair enough.

    That leaves us with only one unanswered question: Should we expect to see you feeling vacation-y anytime this year. Or have you decided its beter to wait to 2009 :)

  23. Small plumbers in Ohio need SEO more than you might think. The proliferation of directories, Angie’s List-type sites, and ersatz Yellow Pages sites make it very difficult for small businesses to rank for anything but their business names without at least a basic SEO program in place. Those directory sites flood the indexes with template-driven pages based on service/city name databases, and drown out the individual small business sites. Then on top of that, most small businesses have sites designed by companies who are solely concerned with aesthetics and functionality and are lucky to have any links worth mentioning. So the poor business owner is baffled when he can’t find his beautiful, expensive website in Google unless he searches on his domain name or is willing to tunnel through a few dozen results.

  24. Dave,

    The reason that Matt’s blog is accessed so much is because he is riding the Google popularity wave. He is pressent on many events and he talks to many people that have their own website and they link to him. They do that because Matt is promoting Google and himself in these events.

    If Matt would be an engineer that never leaves the office and is not known, then he would have to write stuff that Google wouldn’t allow in order to get attention to his blog.

    Promotion exists in many ways. Don’t believe that Matt isn’t doing any promotion. But I would agree that personality has a lot to do with it. Some people naturally are considered more interesting than others.

  25. Harith, I don’t have any long-term vacation in my plans right now, at least not like I did the last couple years. I am planning to hit SIGGRAPH (a computer graphics conference) down in Los Angeles in August. I haven’t been to SIGGRAPH in 8-9 years, and I’d like to catch up with what I’ve missed. Nothing else is on my vacation list right now though, although I’m open to suggestions. I thought about hitting BlackHat/Defcon this year, but don’t think I’ll get the chance.

    Peter (IMC), I would mention that Steve Yegge (a different Googler) writes an interesting blog on his own, and it picks up natural/organic links, e.g. Jeff Atwood just did a blog post that talks about several of Steve’s points: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001138.html .

  26. Harith

    Matt,

    God bless. You remind me of myself when I was in your age. Always on the move :-)

    However as I see you open for suggestions; why not take a travel to China together with Mrs Cutts and your folks in Kentucky?

  27. Dave (Original)

    If Matt would be an engineer that never leaves the office and is not known, then he would have to write stuff that Google wouldn’t allow in order to get attention to his blog.

    Peter, I don’t subscribe to that theory at all.

    Matt blog is also the site (of many) that PROVES that the “sandbox” is just enough SEO myth.

  28. Blogs are great, and there is a word press SEO add-on you can install in that works like a charm. At least for me it does. kind of refreshing, it does the work for you after title and keyword entry.

  29. To answer Peter (IMC)

    Time and time again I see how crafting unique, important, evolving and interesting content generates the best types of links, the naturally awarded ones based on merit of the content; perhaps not to the huge volume in comparison to link building schemes but ultimately the most powerful types that help propel web pages up the top rankings and then sustains them at the top.

    In many ways, 10 good hard earned links are worth more than a thousand shitty swapped or bought ones.

  30. Matt, I was exagerating a bit of course. But Steve gets links from the official Google blog. Why did he get those? First because he writes great content of course, but you can’t tell me that being a Googler didn’t help. The point I’m trying to make is that you need to have connections. You need to know people and people need to know you. Just content is difficult to promote. It’s the person or company that really gets promoted. An obvious example would be to copy some content from the dell website and put it in your own blog about dell. That doesn’t work. People won’t link to you for that content, not even if they didn’t know you took it from the official dell site.

    Canadafred, That’s pretty much the point I was trying to make. You gave an example of what the best types of links are and that those work best. I agree completely. But content on its own is helped enormously by the fame of who writes it. Once you have the name and fame, the links will flow in much faster. You get that fame, first by writing the content, but (usually) you also need the aproval and that’s more related to you then to the content itself. Obviously who you are is reflected in what you write.

    There is a reason so many people complain about the importance that Google puts in links. It’s because they don’t know how to get them. Not talking about link schemes here. Their real problem is that that they don’t know how to promote them selves.

    Matt for example is pretty good at promoting him self. His personality shines through in this blog. It’s not a cold blog about just Google algorithms,…. He does posts on his vacation, his cats, puts pictures on here of various unrelated things he does. The man behind the website is clearly visible, he replies to people’s coments, etc. and this creates a bond. People come back to his blog because they feel like they can actually communicate with him.

    If you look at all the famous blogs you will find that many of them have this personal touch.

    You could argue it’s because of the content that was written. But really it is because of the person that writes it.

  31. Dave (Original)

    To answer Peter (IMC)

    Time and time again I see how crafting unique, important, evolving and interesting content generates the best types of links, the naturally awarded ones based on merit of the content; perhaps not to the huge volume in comparison to link building schemes but ultimately the most powerful types that help propel web pages up the top rankings and then sustains them at the top.

    In many ways, 10 good hard earned links are worth more than a thousand shitty swapped or bought ones.

    Amen to that! Finally, someone has applied plain old common sense.

    Now, all we need is to EDCUATE the average Webmaster so that are NOT penalized/banned from Google due to a standard “SEO Professional” (cough) charging the usual exorborant fee to do their “Link Building” crap.

  32. @Peter IMC, I basically agree with your position, but the question is what constitutes good promotion for the average webmaster.

  33. Thanks Matt. Enjoyed it.

    I agree with Todd, blogs seem the way to go. It seems as if some SEO stay away from blogs. Can’t understand why? I have seen a lot of websites rank better with a blog, especially those using WordPress.

  34. Matt, not that you don’t get asked enough SEO questions, but I’ve got one you could maybe answer sometime in the future that may clear a lot of things up. I bring this up because of this post http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/xml-sitemaps-the-most-overrated-seo-tactic-ever/1193/. Are site maps good for SEO and can they even have a negative SEO effect?

  35. Mark,

    The main thing I learned with pretty much every type of marketing is: You won’t know what works unless you try.

    That’s the problem with most people I think. They don’t know where to start. Basically you just have to start somewhere and then you keep testing and trying things out untill you´re satisfied with the result. Promotion is not math in which you can calculate the result uprfont. :)

    And some people just have this ability to do it right the first time.

  36. Patrick Daly,

    XML Sitemaps for search engines tell the search engines which pages are in your site. You can even indicate which pages are more important and which are less. But they don’t help in anyway getting you higher rankings. They´re not meant for that in anyway. They´re just meant to help a search engine to understand your site better. But if you would already have built your website completely search engine friendly than your xml sitemap is pretty much unnecessary.

    If you have a dynamic system you could have some trouble with the URL’s that the system generates. In this case the sitemap is useful because it can help prevent indexing duplicate pages and things like that.

  37. Dave (Original)

    but the question is what constitutes good promotion for the average webmaster.

    If you mean “what constitutes good promotion for the average webmaster” in Google. It’s same for any level Webmaster, good unique content that earns VOTES in the form of links.

    That does NOT include link exchanges, directorty submissions and “link building”.

  38. Nice article – sure it will be useful to many people Matt. There are so many business owners that spend a lot of time on search these days.

    For anyone interested, coincidentally we had also published an entry on SEO on our blog last week since we were getting a lot of questions about it and felt that it was better to write something that would be useful to our users:

    http://peopleperhour.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/basic-seo-how-to-get-traffic-from-search-engines/

    Hope you find it helpful. Comments are most welcome.

  39. It’s clear from the article, and from other things I have read that Google puts a lot of weight on blogs. I think it puts too much weight on them. What ends up filling the web is a bunch of people writing about things they know nothing about just so they have a frequently updated blog or to be the first to write on a breaking topic. The emphasis on blogs has the effect of dumbing down the Internet to the least common denominator.

  40. Slowly the mom and pops are getting this, and the web will be better for it: “Hey, maybe I’ll start a blog about our B&B.”

    It would sure be an interesting world if we expanded FriendFeed to include everybody, and the feed included a report on what everybody said, wrote, and did. (opting in required but encouraged).

  41. Well, as of the SEO it is not only worth getting backlinks. Blacklinks should be from the relevant content sites otherwise it does not help that much.

  42. Andreas said: “Thats why I say, Matt, open Google up for link exchanges again. Do not discount link exchanges. ”

    Andreas, Noone at Google including Matt has ever said “do not link exchange” .. They have told us to avoid “excessive reciprocal linking”. Translation? Google doesnt want us using FULL DUPLEX and FULLY AUTOMATED link software and services that force linking without editorial discretion.

    Link exchange is alive and well on today’s web especially among niche and hobby sites just like it was in the pre-Google days over a decade ago. The company I founded and established a licensed US patent on, LinksManager, has thousands of clients worldwide actively linking up with sites in their realm of interest. Their rankings are all solid and they get traffic from the links themselves.

    SEO FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) has spread misinformation about link exchange on today’s web because SEOs would rather you spend thousands a month with their services rather than you produce good content for your end users, and link building via traditional methods.

    What we might ask Matt to do is one day blog about how to link exchange within Google’s guidelines.

    Do not believe the FUD that is rampant on the web regarding link exchange. Link up with other sites that benefit your end user’s experience. Keep your links well organized and on topic. If you use software to manage link exchange, make sure it is EDITOR BASED so that only you control who you do and do not link with. Finally, obtain links SLOWLY and NATURALLY. Don’t obtain links in high volume overnight as that creates a synthetic trend that search engines can spot easily. Unless you have found a cure for cancer, its not natural to obtain hundreds of links every day. A natural link rate is more like one today, none for five days, 2 the next day, none for the next 3 days, 1 the next day, and so on…

    If you would like to learn more about how to conduct link exchange within published search engine guidelines, check out my company’s extensive linking school at http://linksmanager.com/linking-articles-archive.html which is based strictly on facts and published guidelines, not FUD and speculation by self proclaimed SEO “experts”.

    Matt: Hope you don’t mind my jumping in here but as you can see from Andreas’ comment, some webmasters are confused when it comes to acceptable link exchange practices. We need to help webmasters clarify what is acceptable and what is not.

  43. Thanks for sharing. In the world of real estate, many of us have become very leary of link exchanges. Blog, Blog, Blog… seams like blogging and perhaps writing articles is the new key??

  44. Joel from “LinksManager” wrote this:

    “not believe the FUD that is rampant on the web regarding link exchange. Link up with other sites that benefit your end user’s experience. Keep your links well organized and on topic. If you use software to manage link exchange, make sure it is EDITOR BASED so that only you control who you do and do not link with. Finally, obtain links SLOWLY and NATURALLY. Don’t obtain links in high volume overnight as that creates a synthetic trend that search engines can spot easily. Unless you have found a cure for cancer, its not natural to obtain hundreds of links every day. A natural link rate is more like one today, none for five days, 2 the next day, none for the next 3 days, 1 the next day, and so on…”

    Ok, let me get this straight. Correct me if I am reading you wrong. You state to not generate a lot of incoming links too quick as it might alert Google to what you are doing. Then you state to do the link exchange thang slowly so as not to put up flags as well. You also state you need to get incoming links “NATURALLY”.

    Now tell me Joel, please explain to me exactly what you mean by … natural, when all the time you also work for or own a company specifically in existence to act as a middle man for link exchanges?

    I am confused.

  45. I read about the faith that people have in anything that came off a computer and give a half-smile. Only a half, because all too often I trust what the computer says, too.

    So it’s easy to empathize with canadafred and wanting to focus on generating the best content you can and not having to market it. That the world would recognize it and knock on your door.

    And because Google does a great job 80% of the time, and 18% of the time using it to query a site’s pages is better than using its own search, it’s easy to be unhappy when it doesn’t do a great job on the remaining 2%. Sort of the equivalent of seeking out the reclusive writer or inventor …

  46. Dave (Original)

    It’s clear from the article, and from other things I have read that Google puts a lot of weight on blogs. I think it puts too much weight on them.While that IS what many articles errounsly allude to, long with a emphasis on links (including the article Matt linked to) it is false, IMO. I believe Google couldn’t give a hoot whether the site is a blog, or not, why on Earth would it?

    Common sense tells me that Google ranks ALL pages with the exact same algo and I highly doubt that Blogs get a boost just because they ARE Blogs.

    In regards to link exchanges. THOSE WITH NOTHING TO HIDE, HIDE NOTHING.

    If your site is new, then selectively exchange links with similar sites. NOT for PR or any ranking boost, but to tell Google your site is there and what the flavor of the site is. Hence the reason Google suggests link exchanges and quality directory submissions, in their Webmaster Guidlines for NEW SITES.

    Then, link out on your pages to other pages that would help a human landing on that page. Pages you upload should be designed with humans in the forefront of your mind.

    Keep doing the last paragraph perpetually and other sites (that Google trusts) will give you votes and thus PR.

  47. Dave (Original)

    It’s clear from the article, and from other things I have read that Google puts a lot of weight on blogs. I think it puts too much weight on them.

    While that IS what many articles errounsly allude to, long with a emphasis on links (including the article Matt linked to) it is false, IMO. I believe Google couldn’t give a hoot whether the site is a blog, or not, why on Earth would it?

    Common sense tells me that Google ranks ALL pages with the exact same algo and I highly doubt that Blogs get a boost just because they ARE Blogs.

    In regards to link exchanges. THOSE WITH NOTHING TO HIDE, HIDE NOTHING.

    If your site is new, then selectively exchange links with similar sites. NOT for PR or any ranking boost, but to tell Google your site is there and what the flavor of the site is. Hence the reason Google suggests link exchanges and quality directory submissions, in their Webmaster Guidlines for NEW SITES.

    Then, link out on your pages to other pages that would help a human landing on that page. Pages you upload should be designed with humans in the forefront of your mind.

    Keep doing the last paragraph perpetually and other sites (that Google trusts) will give you votes and thus PR.

  48. “Now tell me Joel, please explain to me exactly what you mean by … natural, when all the time you also work for or own a company specifically in existence to act as a middle man for link exchanges?”

    Original Dave,

    Good question. I simply meant if you are making linking decisions for the end user, your link acquisition rate will be natural ie you should be rejecting irrelevant link requests. Since you asked, all our software does is manage the mind numbing data management tasks related to managing link building through link exchange. We do not send out requests en massse for our users nor do we force linking nor do we support full duplex linking. I dont want to get into any more specifics because I am not here to promote our business. I simply wanted to explain that no matter what software you use to manage link building, make sure it doesn’t force you to link to any site willy nilly without editorial discretion. When editorial discretion is maintained, a natural link acquisition rate occurs.

    Quick example: I have a personal website in the aviation industry that is nine years old. I have promoted the site primarily via link exchange with other aviation related sites over these years. My rankings are #1 for my primary keywords and have been for many many years. Over the past nine years, I have generated about 1000 incoming links from other aviation related websites. Although 1000 might seem high, its low when you do the math: on average 9 links per month. It’s safe to assume search engines don’t mind how many links you have as long as you obtain them over a natural period of time.

    A brand new website that has been online for 6 weeks for example and has acquired 500 links in a short period of time had better either be quite newsworthy otherwise it might send a red flag that those links were earned via unethical means (link buying, full duplex link exchange, etc).

  49. The major thing is that SE´s like Google ao will flag a fresh site with a unatural exploding of links in a short time. i think it is also a question how old is your domain. with a “old” one you won´t get these problems.

  50. Dave (original)

    Joel, I didn’t ask the question. IMO, 99% of “SEO” tools do more harm than good and at the very least see Webmaster focusing on the wrong things…….totally.

    Content pages that EARNS VOTES is where it’s at, not links to try a fool Google. It’s a loosing game in the long term.

    Doing well in the SERPS is a Marathon, not a sprint where you try and cheat to win.

  51. Hi Joel, I asked the question. (Doug)

    You wrote this:

    “I simply wanted to explain that no matter what software you use to manage link building, make sure it doesn’t force you to link to any site willy nilly without editorial discretion. When editorial discretion is maintained, a natural link acquisition rate occurs.”

    Why would someone need to “manage” links in the first place? That’s the main question I do not understand and I’ve been at this longer than most. If a link IS natural, no need to manage it, right? The only times I know of when someone might need to manage links is if it’s an exchange and you are concerned the other link will stop linking back to you. If a link IS natural, you don’t have that concern in the first place as you are linking to another site because of your visitors and not because of a search engine.

    I doubt it makes a difference how you answer my questions Joel. I feel link companies like you are the biggest prob we all have for new webmasters and new site owners. They get confused about what the definition of “natural” really is since there are link manager things out there, which taken all by itself is just not natural at all. Do you see? :)

  52. SW

    I don’t mind SEO, it’s quite effective, it would just be nicer for Google to respond to our SEO efforts quicker, especially now in such an economic crisis where it looks like internet ecommerce could be more important than we ever thought. So many people have lost jobs and their homes and now are turning to ecommerce to make anything that they can. Customers can’t afford to drive all day to shop for something and others just prefer a good deal that they can get online only.

    I just think that as more time passes and as more and more businesses are established online, spiders need to keep up and understand that there is more to a website than a backlink. More weight needs to be put on original content. A LOT MORE. It takes a minute to get a link but it takes a lot of effort to come up with a page of content. And even if you get thousands of links, there’s always a quick, black hat way to do it. On the other hand, original, fresh content still is created the old-fashioned way.

    Just because a website is established a while back doesn’t mean that it’s the best one out there. In fact, many established websites have stopped trying because they make money anyway because they’re on top of Google.

  53. Dave (original)

    Joel, just checked some of your link “votes” (cough), nuff said :)

  54. Dave, not getting into a mudslinging match with you here. Contact me directly if you want to discuss cordially.

    Doug, there are so many data management challenges when it comes to sorting out over a dozen link acquisition methods that we support. Our software was designed pre-Google to take the sting out of dealing with link requests, and the challenges of managing actively publshed exit resources in a variety of publishing models. Contact me directly if you would like to discuss.

  55. I like that Matt Cutt pushes blogs. It will fill the Internet with valuable content and will make the internet community more alive. It also gives a fillip to the companies to exchange more ideas with the customers. Communication is king.

  56. Matt, the video and article are great for smaller firms who have no idea about how to get noticed on Google. I work with lots of smaller firms and the information is very useful.

    If people keep it simple and network their business as they would offline, results will follow.

    I agree with Rick Trethewey though that even localised search terms can be hard to rank for though these days – maybe more needs to be done in the algorithm to allow the smaller, less ‘seo savvy’ business owners fight off the national brokers, agents, directories etc whom seem to rank above the small guys for even the most local of search terms.

  57. Oocla (rider of mutant horse)

    “Can you tell me how to market a business without promoting it?
    I can. Upload a site with unique quality pages designed for humans and Google will do the marketting for you.
    This blog is a classic example. I might be wrong, but I don’t believe Matt has done 1 iota of marketting and out-ranks many a SEO business.
    Of course, this rules out the need for any SEO which is why the whole concept of “SEO” is myth. That is; Castles built on sand and built on the tide line.”

    With all due respect — WHAT?!

    Matt Cutts’ site, by the very nature of his involvement with Google get an ENORMOUS amount of link-backs. This blog, by its existence, IS linkbait. Check these stats for mattcuts.com/blog/ :

    PageRank = 7 (to put that into perspective, GE.com has a 7 too! Digg.com has an 8, TomCruise.com has a 4 — Matt is more important than Tom Cruise, and just as important as General Electric! At least as far as Google is concerned…)

    Links pointing to his domain = 436,404 (he’s a Link Monster)

    Links from Technorati Alone = 16,519 (he’s a verifiable Blogosphere Darling)

    Links from del.icio.us = 2,544 (he’s a Bookmark Bastion)

    Links from Wikipedia = 43 (he’s Wiki Sasquatch)

    Matt Cutts has what amounts to a major brand name… Matt Cutts, Inc. A true celebrity in Webmaster/Search Industry circles.

    And by his appearances at major conferences & tech shows (SMX, etc.) he is marketing his personal brand quite well…

    If you’re a startup or small business, and you want the sort of power/traffic that Matt Cutts, Inc. has…this is the sort of publicity you can only achieve by “knowing the right people”, and/or by spending millions in Venture Capital on advertising & marketing.

    Yes, he’s grown his site by publishing a lot of content that a lot of people want to pick apart like a riddle — looking for a few nuggets of info that will give them some sort of insight into the Great Black Box that is Google. But even if half of his posts per year were just photo collages of cats, he’d still be Bigger Than Tom on the Net.

    In principle, for the most part, I agree with the “publish great content and they will come” idea.

    However, you will NEVER achieve the sort of PageRank & notoriety that Matt has by content alone. The Net is simply too big, and audiences too fragmented. You need to be a celebrity to achieve what Matt Cutts, Inc. has.

  58. Doug, there are so many data management challenges when it comes to sorting out over a dozen link acquisition methods that we support. Our software was designed pre-Google to take the sting out of dealing with link requests, and the challenges of managing actively publshed exit resources in a variety of publishing models.

    Am I the only one that thinks that this is a bunch of BS full of meaningless buzzwords and phrases designed to confuse the great unwashed rather than to actually answer a question?

    Joel, no matter how you spin doctor it, no matter how many terms either you or the idiot charade make up (my personal favorite being “full duplex link exchange”…that’s right up there with “procurement” as far as bastardized terms go), the fact remains that link exchange in the manner that you present it is unnatural. The only natural link exchange that isn’t part of a cross-promotional business model (which the SEO definition of link exchange never seems to include) is the implicit agreement that occurs when two site owners or webmasters provide links to each other at separate occasions within a natural context because each believes the other may be of some use. This doesn’t involve software, or “EDITOR BASED LINK EXCHANGE”, or “full duplex link exchange”, or any other silly term you may make up or borrow from someone else who made it up to try and rationalize an unnatural web behavior. It just involves two people who each believe the other’s resource to be of some use and has nothing whatsoever to do with SEO…nor should it.

    This isn’t “FUD” (by the way, anyone ever noticed that only the blackhats use this abbreviation?) This isn’t speculation, either. Anyone who has removed a link exchange page (even an “EDITOR BASED LINK EXCHANGE” page) and seen vanished rankings restored overnight can tell you that. This is a really simple concept that people like you have turned around and completely distorted.

    If something is useful as a resource to your end users, link out to it. If you get a link back from it, great. If you don’t, you’re still helping your end users and that’s supposed to be the primary goal.

    And by the way…organic IBLs can be subject to spikes. Different content spreads differently throughout the web, and some things catch on quickly for human reasons. Ask IncrediBILL about that sometime. He’s got a terrific example of it.

    Link exchange is a silly idea propagated by offerors of silly products and services to a populace that hasn’t yet learned how to read political language vs. actual substance.

  59. The article made for a good read!

    I like to link to decent articles by writing about a subject and then linking to something relevant I have read that I found interesting and useful.

    I like to get backlinks to my things by reading a decent article and then posting a relevant reply.

    I believe the best way to link is to do so naturally due to merit just the way Google and Matt Cutts outline. Too many poeple IMHO try to do things the lazy way and take short cuts by abusing the PageRank system with un natural linking methods. I have a top 20 listing for “Best SEO Advice” and am now working on attaining a top listing for “Best SEO Tips” but the fact I already have such an early result for “Best SEO Advice” proves that Google really does reward those who put the effort in to do things properly.

  60. Hi Matt
    I wish to ask an experts opinion of directory submission in seo, that i am currently trying to address. I have done several directory submissions for several companies and results have appeared within days on search engine results pages. My concern is that for a specific company in which i have completed directory submissions a few weeks ago, is that no results have shown and even worse the page rank has slightly dropped and all blog website links have completely vanished from the search engines result page. In my opinion i think it is because of the keywords in which i am currently using and its high competitveness, have resulted this situation. If possible can you tell me any factors or solutions that can help me improve my seo for directory submissions? Either way, any help regarding this matter will be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

  61. Yeah it’s always harder than it sounds. I have a social network website with over 1k members but I’m making close to nothing because it means nothing unless your getting good seo. Most free cms has good seo not just wordpress but it’s still difficult to get good backlinks and people aren’t just going to backlink to you. So he’s going take hard work to make some good money and if your blogging about a popular subject your more than likely going to get a low google rank. But I do agree that good backlinks + good content = success.

  62. Respected Matt Cutts,

    Can you please help me? Why My blog is not able to get Google Adsense. How Can I remove “page type” issue.

    Waiting for your kind reply!!
    Your FAN from India

  63. Actually big companies always choose Google Adwords instead of SEO. And that’s how, it’s like SEO is only a tool for small businessmen to get more exposure online.

  64. Nathaniel November 28, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I need to add to Nathaniel’s post even though it is a year old.

    Maybe I can spark up another analysis on back links a year later as things have supposedly advanced on this critical SEO process. I want to ask about automated link submissions.

    Can Google detect the auto-submission process steming back from that url some how? If so does it effect the websites linking power? See you on top, T.

  65. “Actually big companies always choose Google Adwords instead of SEO. And that’s how, it’s like SEO is only a tool for small businessmen to get more exposure online.”

    @Amit: Not necessarily. Through my research, I’ve seen many Fortune 500 Companies optimizing specifically for organic. Yes, they spend a lot on Adwords as well, but it’s not as if they choose one over the other. Lots of companies invest quite a bit of time in SEO, whether they outsource OR have their employees working on it internally.

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