Google’s Matt Cutts Loses His Body To Stress Importance Of Body Content To Search Engines

matt-cutts-bodiless Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, posted a fun video where fellow Googler, Michael Wyszomierski, cropped out his body in the video to make a point. The statement Matt made was that there is importance of content in the body of a page and not just the header, such as the title tag. If the title tag and meta data do not match the content in the body of the page on some level, that can confuse Google. Matt said make sure the stuff in the header is unique and great but make sure you pay attention to the body of your content ensuring it has unique and great content, as well. It [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts: Why Google Will Ignore Your Page Title Tag & Write Its Own

google-ignore-kid-600 Google's Matt Cutts posted a video answer on the question about why and when Google will ignore your title tag and use something else for the snippet title in the search results. Matt explains in the video that Google really wants the title of the snippets to match on some level the query of the searcher. This logic often results in a higher click through rate on the URL and thus should be better for both the searcher and the web site owner. The criteria Google uses when coming up with a new title tag are: (1) Something that is "relatively" short (2) Have a good description of the [...]

Just Say No To SEO (Sometimes)

Just Say No to Keyword Rich Titles! There are some SEO rules that you should break. While conventional SEO wisdom advises certain types of behavior, there are times when that advice should be ignored. SEO must be viewed as part of a larger overall marketing picture, and sometimes other considerations must rule the day. Below are three situations where the standard SEO advice is not always the best course of action. Titles & Headlines You are used to being told that you need to load these with keywords. More progressive SEO firms may tell you not to overdo it; and, there are even cases where you might not think about "SEO t [...]

2014 SEO Playbook: On-Page Factors

2014 SEO Playbook Welcome to part 2 of my annual SEO playbook. (Click here for part 1.) I have to thank Danny Sullivan and the Search Engine Land team for giving me the perfect outline for the 2014 playbook, the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. Part 2 will cover on-page factors, including content, HTML and architecture. You'll find more than enough food for thought and some very actionable steps. This is not a step-by-step SEO guide, and it's pretty informal. Before embarking on a search engine optimization campaign, do your research or consult with an expert. Content: Quality Quality was a big d [...]

Why My Optimized Landing Pages Trump Your SEO Or PPC Landing Pages Every Time!

shutterstock_122664076 [caption id="attachment_168573" align="alignright" width="240"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Landing page optimization is big business for successful PPC campaigns. Google's weighting of where a paid ad will show and how much each click costs is factored, in part, on the quality of the landing page the ad leads to. But, on the SEO side of things, you don't hear a lot about "landing pages." That's all stuff for ads, right? PPC has "landing pages," SEO has "optimized pages," and they tend to be worlds apart. But that's the problem. We shouldn't think of landing pages and optimized p [...]

When Google Gets It Wrong By Changing The Titles Of Web Pages

google-oops-mistake-featured Google doesn't always use the HTML title tag of a web page, choosing instead to make its own title for a page, if it thinks it can do a better job. Here's an example of it getting this completely wrong. I was searching for Dana Point Jet Ski, which is a real business in Dana Point. Google instead listed the official page for Dana Point Harbor first: Listing the wrong site first is a relevancy problem. But changing the title of the page to "Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center" is a double-fail. That's Google reinforcing its error, because it's so sure that it's right. See, Google [...]

The Power Of Headlines: The LA Times Gets It Right With Their Piece On The Inauguration

seo-200 Journalists call them headlines; SEOs call them titles and headings. Whatever you call them, they're the words that tell someone that your article is what they want to read. Look at Google News any day of the week for examples of headlines that give you absolutely no idea what the article might be about. Search engines don't know what to rank them for; users don't know whether to click. One trend I watch is that of searchers asking what time things start. For any event, you can be sure that searchers will take to Google to find out the start time. I chronicle this every year, for instance, [...]

11 Things To Ask Yourself When Optimizing Content

A client asked me the other day why we were optimizing his software for Los Angeles, when he’s located in Raleigh, NC. In explaining the reason to him, I realized that a basic guideline for optimizing pages is long overdue. I’ve developed the following flow chart and explanation in response. Theming Content The first question you need to ask yourself when optimizing a page is, What is the Page About? If you can’t answer this or your answer is a keyword, then maybe you shouldn’t be building the page. Seriously. You need the page to be about something in order for it to have value [...]

Google’s May Updates: Inorganic Backlinks, Page Titles, Fresh Results & More

google-g-logo Google's latest batch of search quality updates is online, and offers some insight into a variety of search- and SEO-related topics. Though some of Google's monthly updates have included more than 50 items, this one comes in at 39. But it looks like there's still plenty to digest. Here's a look at what stands out for me after a first read of Google's blog post. Inorganic Backlinks & Penguin There are two items that would appear to be closely related to one another: Better application of inorganic backlinks signals. [launch codename "improv-fix", project codename "Page Quality"] We [...]

The SEO Breakdown: Bank Information Center Site Audit

SEO-Audits-Case-Studies-Site-Examples As part of a site audit special series, we're going to review an interesting website, Bank Information Center (BIC). BIC is a non-profit organization that does some very cool things but, like most non-profits, hasn’t updated their website for many years. Needless to say, they have almost no Internet marketing or SEO strategy which led them to ask for help by submitting their site for this series. In this post, I’m going to break down: Who the business is and what they do First Impressions: Overall analysis of website look, feel, targeting and usability Second Impressions: [...]

Is Google Ignoring The HTML Title Tag More Often?

Google's long created title tags from means other than using the HTML title tag, however, there are reports that it might be increasing the times it does so. A WebmasterWorld thread has dozens of webmasters complaining that Google is not using their HTML title tags. The HTML title tag is often used by Google as the blue hyperlink in the Google search results. The words used in that hyperlink can often mean a click or skip when a searcher is scanning the available search results for a query. So when Google decided to not use your HTML title tag, you are hopeful that Google picks something mo [...]

Writing HTML Title Tags For Humans, Google & Bing

I generally enjoy John Gruber's writings, but today he's dishing out SEO advice about HTML title tags. Some of it is bad advice. So with respect, here's how I'd suggest you write page titles in a way that can please search engines and humans alike. What Is An HTML Title Tag? Let me go back to the basics. The title tag is a section of HTML code that every page should have. It declares what the page's title is. For example, here's the title tag for the Search Engine Land article I wrote earlier this year, Some SEO Advice For Bill Gates: The <TITLE> tag appears within the &l [...]

Sorry, Yahoo, You DO Index The Meta Keywords Tag

Oh, that this weren't true. Last week, Yahoo made news by disclosing that it had quietly dropped support for the meta keywords tag. As a long time hater of that tag and the insane questions it has produced, I was thrilled! But today, I see conclusively that Yahoo still supports the tag. The test was simple. I placed a unique word in the meta keywords tag on the home page of Search Engine Land. This word -- xcvteuflsowkldlslkslklsk -- generated no results on Yahoo when I looked earlier this week. Today, when I searched, it brought back the Search Engine Land home page. Thus, Yahoo indeed ind [...]

Yahoo Search No Longer Uses Meta Keywords Tag

And then there were none. Yahoo has long been the only major search engine that supported the meta keywords tag. However, the search engine revealed today that like the other majors, it no longer supports it. The news came during the Ask The Search Engines session at SMX East in New York today. The search engines were all asked about their support of the tag. Moderator Danny Sullivan noted that only Yahoo provided support of the tag -- prompting Cris Pierry, senior director of search at Yahoo, to announce that support actually had been ended unannounced "several" months ago. Bing doesn't [...]

Google’s Advice On Using The New Canonical Tag

A month ago, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft announced they will be supporting a new canonical tag that allows you to tell search engines that page X is a duplicate page to page Z. In a way, it is a 301 redirect, without the physical redirect. The tag is incredibly powerful, as are 301 redirects and using this tag should be done with caution and slowly. Matt Cutts posted a new video explaining how one should go about using this tag, being that it is so new. Here is the video: [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts Talks About Redirected Links & Nofollowed Links

Matt Cutts of Google has posted two short videos on the topic of links. One video answers how Google handles links that are 301 redirected and the other video answers how Google handles nofollowed links from authority sources. Here is Matt's video on 301 redirects where the question asked is does anchor text carry through all 301 redirects: His answer, if you don't want to watch it is. Typically yes, but Google deserves the right to pick which they pass. If all your links are through 301 redirects, then that looks suspicious. Matt's second video on nofollowed links answers two [...]

Despite Inauguration, Google & Others Still Think It’s President Bush, Not President Obama

President Barack Obama took office officially today plus launched a new White House web site as part of his transition. But the major search engines have yet to catch up with the power change. Google still lists President George W. Bush as being in power, sort of: The screenshot above shows what you get in a search for president of the united states at Google. A similar situation happens for a search on president: Ah, but it's only been a few hours -- surely Google will catch up with the changed page soon. Look closer. Google already knows the page has been updated. While [...]

Google Starts To Classify Content Types In Web Search

Like other search engines, Google already distinguishes between various types of content. You can search specifically for images, videos, books, blog posts, and so forth. Google has separate search engines for each. But two recent changes suggest that Google is improving its ability to classify different types of content that's gathered from ordinary web pages. Search Engine Roundtable points to a discussion on WebmasterWorld about the addition of dates at the beginning of some search results -- something Michael Gray spotted in mid-September. From my personal experience, this seems to be [...]

Meta-Tag Optimization Tips: A Search Usability Perspective

I know. I know. Seasoned search engine optimization (SEO) professionals might yawn and roll their eyes when the subject of meta-tag optimization comes up, as they might think, "Meta-tag optimization is SO 1990s." Personally, I think meta-tag content gets a bad rap because, in the past, many SEO professionals and website owners exploited meta-tags to achieve undeserved search engine visibility. As a result, the tags' content was devalued in favor of other criteria. Overall, though, if you look at the big picture, meta-tag abuse contributed to the evolution of better, more accurate [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts On Cloaking & Search Snippets

Matt Cutts of Google has written two posts on the topic of SEO: Detecting more "undetectable" webspam The anatomy of a search result The first, Detecting more "undetectable" webspam, should trigger some heated comments at his blog. It shows how he was able to find what was claimed to be "undetectable" cloaking and web spam. Matt then issues his warning to webmasters: More generally, if someone is trying to manipulate Google by deceptive cloaking, it means that a webserver is returning different content to Googlebot than to users. That’s a condition that can be checked for by algorithms [...]

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