Key Takeaways From Google’s Matt Cutts Talk At PubCon

Last night, Matt Cutts of Google gave a talk to the attendees at the PubCon. I was in the audience and I wanted to share my personal key takeaways from the talk. Specifically items Matt mentioned that I found to be new or interesting.

  • Spam reports get 4 times priority in the spam queue at Google.
  • Google knows there has been more web spam in the search results and it is due to moving web spam resources to other projects. Those resources are coming back and Google will be working on patching up that issue.
  • Google reduced the number of hacked sites showing up in Google’s search results by 90%
  • Google will soon be offering specific notifications via Webmaster Tools informing webmasters of spam on their site. Specifically, Google will warn of doorway pages, parked domains and 3 other spam issues to start.
  • Matt recommends SEOs do not “chase the algorithm” and instead try to predict where Google will be going in the future.
  • Matt made a point to mention that users are more likely to click on the first link in an article as opposed to a link at the bottom of the article. He said put your most important links at the top of the article. I believe it was Matt hinting to SEOs about this.
  • Google disregards the canonical tag when it can hurt your site, specifically if you canonical link to a 404 page.
  • Google has 200 ranking factors but those ranking factors may have 50 or more variations within a single factor.
  • Google Places and Android App Market spam will improve over time.
  • Google will be looking at why exact domain matches rank so well. For example, if you have a site at it may rank a bit too well for the keyword phrase [blue widgets].
  • Google will be building a new paid link tool to block only the paid links on a page and let the other links, that are not paid, pass link juice.

These are in no specific order but the key takeaways that I personally found interesting, new or worth noting to you all.

I should warn that these are my interpretations of Matt’s talk and I may have misunderstood what he has said but I believe all these points are indeed correct.

To read the live blogging coverage of this session, you can read a very nicely structure recap at Outspoken Media or read a more sloppy but real-time report at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Here is one of the slides with Matt’s top 9 SEO tips:

Top 9 Tips For Google according to Matt Cutts of Google! Fresh material @Pubcon

Courtesy of @VegasBill

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: General | Google: SEO | SEM Industry: Conferences | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Shari Thurow

    Hi all-

    I’m not one to disagree with Matt Cutts, but putting related article links at the top of the page often interferes with users/readers trying to complete a task. Interrupting a how-to article isn’t a good idea, either.

    Perhaps Matt should have been more specific….

    My 2 cents.


  • Michael Martinez

    I’ll continue rewarding my patient readers with \further reading\ links at the bottom of my dissertations — er, articles.

  • Matt Cutts

    Hey Shari, I don’t think I said anything in my talk about putting related-article links at the top of the page; I find that distracting (and sometimes annoying) too. When I was talking about links in blog posts, I was just pointing out that if you save your most important link–the one you want people to click–all the way until the end, then you’re \burying the lede\ a little bit because there’s a good chance that the user won’t find or click it. I wasn’t talking about search engine rankings in that part of my talk.

    On the \Google disregards the canonical tag when it can hurt your site\ point, I would phrase it instead as \Google reserves the right to disregard the canonical tag, but most of the time we trust it. As a result, you should be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot using the canonical tag.\ The example I gave of a large computer manufacturer shooting themselves in the foot by using rel=canonical to point to a 404 page was just an example of what not to do. :)

  • Matt Cutts

    P.S. Apologies for the slashes in the comment above. That’s what happened when reCAPTCHA said I didn’t get the CAPTCHA right. :)

  • Shari Thurow

    Hi Matt-

    Thank you for clarifying. I get misquoted and misinterpreted at conference sessions as well. That didn’t sound like something you’d say.

    To me, a well-selected embedded text link within an article (that doesn’t heavily interfere with legibility) has always been a great findability, usability, call-to-action, SEO, etc. type of “thing” to do. It provides some of the best context, quite often.

    I’m with Michael, too. I always link to related articles. Now we just need to teach people how to do it right instead of the annoying garbage we see on many publisher sites.


  • chiropractic

    Thanks for the summary Barry and also thanks for all the coverage you provided during the week. It is appreciated.

  • http://gasyoun gasyoun

    “First link” is a must, but is a logo counted or not?

  • Friscozen

    Why is it that “Google will be looking at why exact domain matches rank so well”??? If I have a domain name “” …I may have bought it to create compelling, interesting, unique, link-worthy content for my website. Do you really think I would get that domain to write about how to impress my mother-in-law instead of my life’s experience with shoes??? C’mon now, who the heck convinced Matt Cutts to look into this witch-hunt???
    As far as I am concerned and most other smart thinking creators, we want Google to stick with giving prominence to the Keyword in domain as there is grade 1 level of IQ needed to know that it is based on that particular subject and thus justifying the high rank as deserved.

  • Webstats Art

    Less people are listening to Matt Cutts and his page rank has dropped. Obviously the google search engine engine is finding his stuff to be less relevant? Take a look at the stats

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide