Gone to PubCon and SXSW + Lots of Videos!

Expect light blogging for a week or so because I’m traveling. I posted my 2009 travel schedule, but I’m doing a keynote at PubCon in Austin and then I’ll stick around for South by Southwest. It’s my first time at SXSW, so if you see me, say howdy!

For the PubCon keynote, we’re going to try something different. I’ll talk for 20-30 minutes, but we’ll also do a question and answer session where we take questions from the audience, from Twitter, and from this Google Moderator page.

If you can’t attend PubCon, we’ll still feed your search-info addiction with some videos. Peter Linsley just posted his recreated Google Image Search presentation from SMX West. I took questions recently and so you can watch three different videos that I did. For example, here’s a video about nofollow:

We’ll be releasing one new video each weekday for a while, so keep your eyes on the new Google webmaster videos channel on YouTube.

42 Responses to Gone to PubCon and SXSW + Lots of Videos! (Leave a comment)

  1. Dave (original)

    Matt, from reading your blog over the last feww Years and the mentioning of multiple new elements for SE’s ONLY, it seems to me that “make sites for humans” is becoming less and less. While making sites for SE’s is ever increasing. Do you think Google is painting themselves into a corner?

  2. If only your celebrity status at PubCon carried over to SXSW. 😀

    Ill be on the look out for you at SXSW!

  3. Hi Matt,

    Good video. I’m glad that once and for all we cleared this up : nofollow links are not followed by Google. Many say things like “a video on YouTube can have thousands of views and yet the links in the description are nofollow – but Google must take them into account because so many people watched the video”. This kind of statement always made me say : “what ?” . People often talk without thinking.

    I’m really glad that this nofollow thing is cleared up.

    @TomaBonciu on Twitter

  4. one off-topic question. Matt we would like to build tool for our website to check is a review that user submits plagiarized and copied somewhere from web. In webmaster guidelines you say that is forbidden to send automated queries to google. we would quote peaces of review and search google to see is content somewhere posted already.

    Could you please advise us we have like 200-400 reviews per day. I guess we are not the only one who are facing similar problem.

  5. Matt – thanks for the video update. We all appreciate the work the Google team has placed in webmaster files (and the new canonical meta tag support!) and totally agree with you when you say that marketers & SEO’s should be focused more on ROI. That said, many clients still want to see keyword and search engine placement for peace of mind, branding, and visibility and we would love to see a Google “approved” way to check placement for specific resources

  6. Thanks for clearing that up. I do think Wikipedia’s policy of nofollowing external links does help with spam, I think they should put alittle more trust in the sites they use as “resources” for their information.

  7. Understand your point, the opposite declaration (“Yes, we are following some nofollow links” !?) would have been weird, but how do you define “minuscule” ?
    With all the social media and blogs using the nofollow tag automatically (e.g. native w/ WordPress), i am surprised to hear it’s peanuts … and despite the fact some of these links are actually good editorial ones !
    We may also ask why nofollow links appear among other links in the Google Webmaster Tools, what’s the point here ? Thanks

  8. What’s the deal…no love for Pittsburgh? Gives me inspiration for putting together a Pittsburgh SEO Event. Sound interesting?

  9. lucky you!! Enjoy SXSW…not sure how much you’ll be hanging out at the concerts, but if you have to choose a few, go for Lisa Hannigan, Efterklang, Ben Harper, PJHarvey, One Day International, Langhorne slim, White Lies, Howe Gelb, Au Revoir Simone, just to name a few…
    have fun!

  10. I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with the point about wikipedia links having no bearing on SE rankings. In a few different cases, I’ve seen pages make a huge jump in ranking within 24hrs for its particular keyword, providing a link was placed on a wikipedia page with that matching anchor text.

  11. Thanks for your explications… And if you want take vacation in my Island (Reunion near Mauritius) : you can ! I will not here during April 😉 So you can kkep save my appartement ;-D

  12. The goatee… either just a little more, or something a lot less.

    Just sayin 😉

  13. Well this isn’t exactly what I would have liked to hear Matt but thanks for the clarity on the significance (or lack of) links from Wikipedia.

    That will save us valuable resources.


  14. One minor suggestion, Matt…can you adjust yourself about 10-15 degrees to your right (our left) when you shoot videos in that room? The feet moving around in the background pose a bit of a visual distraction.

    Other than that, cool stuff.

    zoransa: have you tried http://www.copyscape.com yet?

  15. The goatee… either just a little more, or something a lot less.

    Nah, dude, he’s gotta keep it just like that. Mine’s pretty similar in shape and fullness to his (and no, I didn’t copy him…I’ve had mine since I was 15).

    Matt: what you need to go with the goatee is some shaved head action. Something like this:

  16. Okay, so img tags don’t work.


    There. That’s what you need. WHAT?

  17. Hello Matt,

    Thanks for the videos.

    How many questions can we aspect to be answered? I think there are 191 in total.

    Matt, you kind of said that, there was a small change the way Google rank Sites [brands].

    If you read my comments here:


    Then you will see that, Google suddenly is ranking a site [well known brand] very high for a 10 words term.

    The site that is ranking high in google.com.pk is Paypal and it is shown for this term:

    “Learn How to Make Money Online via Working at Home”

    The first reason why this site should not appear in search results for this term is that, Paypal is not supported in Pakistan.

    You said there was some small change: now, showing Paypal in a country where it is not even supported and showing a site that is not at all related to the searched term: isn’t this, giving more weight to a site in ranking just because it’s a High Brand?

    Can you talk about this a little?

    Thank You

  18. Matt – this is not on the topic but I’m not sure how else to reach you – I was reading a post just now on the internet marketing forum ‘the warrior forum’ and someone said this:

    “Heard about Google Bowling? Well, it can be used by your competitor to sabotage your content. He will add your link to a notorious link farm and add some horrible anchor text and BAM! – your website is blacklisted by search engines! There’s some programming required to fight Google Bowling – talk to your programmer about it.”

    If that’s true, that’s pretty scary to a small time webmaster such as myself who’s worked very, very hard to build a website with completely original, fresh, and topic-relevant content.

    Do you think you could address this in a future blog post? I subscribe by RSS so I’m sure to see it and I bet other people would be interested in this too.

    David Portney

  19. As usual, more totally rad videos! Thanks Matt!

  20. Great videos, found them really useful especially the information on the nofollow tags. Thanks

  21. I have read that we should add nofollow to paid advertising and affiliate links (http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66736). However, if you only form partnerships with companies that you trust and add value to your site, then is nofollow still recommended? Although they are really paying for “eye balls”, is there any harm in giving them some link love too?

  22. Lets be honest Matt… you’re kind of skating around the questions. I have a feeling the person who asked the nofollow link question understands the referring value of a wikipedia link. I think the real question here is if links from wikipedia or social media sites like twitter are so important to the people then why aren’t they seen as valuable to Google’s algorithm? The obvious answer would be because the search engine doesn’t want spammers to take advantage of those sites and in return lesson the value of Google’s results. So the real problem here is that Google needs to make a smarter algorithm that takes social media (using social media as an example because they usually use all nofollows) links into consideration, whether it be temporary or however you do it I think it’s going to be important for the future of Google.

    Twitter search is gaining popularity because of it’s fresh, trustworthy and social content. With twitter search you can actually have discussions and see live links to content that hasn’t even been indexed by Google yet.

    I think these are some things Google needs to really think about and I’m sure you already are.

    But sometimes I think you should answers questions in two ways. 1. the way you do it now; for beginners and 2. answer the question as if it was asked by a internet professional.

  23. Actually, Google’s stance on Wreckipedia is bang-on. There’s an obvious lesson that almost no one seems to get when it comes to larger “community” sites…you cannot trust relatively unsanitized input from the masses without checks and balances, because they’ll usually turn it into something biased, lacking in research, unchecked for facts and/or just plain wrong.

    DMOZ taught us this.
    Trainwreckipedia teaches us this (heck, they even document their own failures)..
    Every social media site teaches us this.

    And yet…we never seem to get it. Social media and Trainwreckipedia links aren’t considered by Google simply because they shouldn’t be. Now, if big G would stop assigning so much trust to TWP, we’d be all set.

  24. @Multi-Worded Adam: unfortunately http://www.copyscape.com does not do work for us. We need code that would do it in the moment of posting review… explode review on smaller chunks and query google 5-10 times with chunks of text with “exact quotes” and find in the snippets urls that repeat… if repeating of one the same url is too often maybe fetch those urls and do more text analyze or decide that is text plagiarized from some url based on google snippets…

    Google had SOAP api that allowed 1000 queries per day but now it is shut down… and sending automated queries to google is forbidden in webmaster guidelines. Maybe google labs may help-out 😀 with some REST service to post text and get urls where is text is duplicated. That may help webmasters to solve some of their problems with dup. content on own website also help fighting scrappers and like we have problem when users to win a prize steal other people reviews from other sites and post at our website.

  25. Hmmmm. I see what you mean. You want to check directly when you post the review.

    Other than this, I’ve got nothing.

  26. Hi Matt. Please share your experience at PubCon because i am in India and i cant come to Austin

  27. Interesting thought that Wiki could remove the nofollow for certain people/links if they proved themselves – could be a can of worms unless it were applied equally to all those who deserved it.

    I’ve been getting more involved with Yahoo Answers because I’ve found some great help in there for some very specific problems. I do find myself feeling that I would make more of a contribution if the links were followed just to because of the added benefit that would have to my sites.

    Of course contributions have to be valuable and spamming sucks but there does feel more pull towards contributing to sites where you can reap the added link benefit.

  28. Hi Matt,

    You mention the word miniscule when you spoke about no-follow links, sure SEO’s do worry about no-follow a lot more than peopel should but I would love it if you could give us a percentage. I figure that all the social sites and blogging software with automatic no-follows contributes quite a big percentage of the internet at the moment.


  29. Dave (original)

    Robin, I would bet that most Webmasters have never heard about nofollow and other new attributes.

    IMO, ALL the major SE’s fail miserably in letting Webmaster know about new attributes. I.E SE’s move the goal posts in stealth to most Webmasters and then punish the ignorant due to THEIR failing to communicate the move.

  30. I’m definitely staying glued on YouTube for updates. These are exciting things you’re coming up with for the SEO industry.

  31. Dave (original) — I agree completely that most webmasters likely haven’t heard of nofollow, but … “SE’s move the goal posts in stealth” seems a bit harsh. The SEs have businesses to run, and it’s their choice how to do it (not that I agree with everything that any of them do, but I’m neither an executive nor a shareholder, so my say doesn’t seem like it should count for much).

    As with so many situations in life, I wish SEOs and website owners would stop paying so much attention to what everyone else is doing and focus on their own sites and their own work.

    If we all cleaned up our own houses and did our jobs the very best way (i.e. good, informative, fresh copy; cleanly coded websites; good use of video, flash, blogs, etc.; being truly responsive *and* responsible to our target audiences and core communities), everyone would be better off.

  32. Dave (original)

    SEObetty, I agree they have a business to run. BUT, when you run such a HUGE business where the slightest of change can put a small business, out-of business, I think they have a moral obligation to ensure they communicate these changes. At least a lot better than they do now.

  33. Matt,

    In reference to your video about using references other than links. I think I asked a year or so ago if you’ve ever considered using non-link references from juried academic papers, which are indexed by Google Academic. Whatvere you opinion of academics, I doubt they are going to load their paper with link spam.


  34. Thanks Matt for the clarification!

    Getting quoted and/or linked within a Wikipedia in many cases leads to very good quality visitors.

    At the end of the day, developing a long term trust factor by providing value to visitors always helps build a business online and offline!

  35. Dave (original)

    At the end of the day, developing a long term trust factor by providing value to visitors always helps build a business online and offline!

    Or having a Monopoly where customers don’t trust the business, but have no choice 🙂

  36. I have a question of great importance for all of us. How well will pages linked only from noindex, follow page do rank? Can a noindex page have link juice to give? I use Noindex but follow in order to prevent duplicate content.

  37. Thanks for taking these questions. Conceptually, it makes sense. This supports the standard answers I’ve been hearing for a long time on no-follow. How do you explain sites that garner page rank and rise in the rankings with only no-follow links?

  38. Thanks for the clarification. I have two related questions…

    1- do you have stats on the % of blogs, social sites that make it to the first result page of Google search. I have the feeling it’s going up rapidly

    2- do you have a guess of what it would be if all these sites turn into a Dofollow policy

    I think it would make Google much mre relevant by the way


  39. I believe you completely when you say that Google doesn’t follow nofollow links. There however is a phenomenum which I have observed about nofollow tags which puzzles me, and has for over a year now. When I analyze sites that compete with client sites I invariably find a high percent of the top-ten sites that use a high frequency of nofollow tags.

    Has anyone done any research on this, and how can this penomenum be explained? I really could use a practical explanation for this.

  40. Dear Matt, would you recommend I add the nofollow tag to all links in the navigation menu of the site I build (which is present on all pages)? Some sites have dozens of navigation links and I’m thinking the addition of the nofollow tag would give more weight to the links found in the body of any particular page. Would love to hear back from you…thank you!

  41. Excellent information Matt. I think you have some great advice. I believe that No-Follow links are beneficial, because wordpress blog comments would be a very easy way for people to manipulate SERPS negatively. Wikipedia may be an exception – but overall Wikipedia is one website and there are millions of blogs and other sites blocking comments. Fortunately, Wikipedia 99 out of 100 times only quotes information that is already prevalent in search engine results because they only quote trusted information sources.

  42. Thanks for the excellent information – there is so much info out there it is sometimes hard to know which way to turn. I had often wondered if the ‘no follows’ were really not regarded at all by google. Interesting too to hear you say that the percentage of no follow links is actually quite low as it doesn’t always seem that way.