SEO Tips from Matt Cutts (Mr. Google)
Matt Cutts is considered the face of Google which I think is brilliant because he is such a regular, unassuming guy and gives Google the persona of an approachable person. Just brilliant!
In the video interview below with Jefferson Graham from USA Today, Matt Cutts answers questions about the “common sense” things you can do to have your website found in Google.
Below is a summary of Matt’s responses to Jefferson’s questions and my commentary:
Matt Cutts: In response to what is the #1 thing you can do to be found in Google: Use keywords in your website content which are actually being searched by people.
Bernie Borges: Duh…Absolutely! But, this is a bit oversimplified. First you must research keywords. You shouldn’t assume your keywords are good. You may be too close to your business to know which keywords are searched most frequently. Additionally, some keywords are very competitive. Keyword research will tell you which keywords are more and less competitive. Often, the Long Tail keywords are the most effective.
Matt Cutts: Title Tags Matter. Users see the Title tags first in the search results. But, the description tag actually describes your web page listing in Google. The description tag should be short but very well written about your web page.
Bernie Borges: Absolutely! But, many marketers make the mistake of using the same Title tags on each page. Each page should have a unique Title tag and a unique description tag. Optimizing many web pages will increase your chances of being found by Google.
Matt Cutts: Links are Important: There are many ways to get legitimate links. One of the best is to start a blog and participate in the conversations on the web. A blog doesn’t have to be fancy. You can talk about your customers, why you started your business, things about your business. People will learn more about your business. Give people compelling ideas from your blog and you will get links. Also, participate in other social media sites.
Bernie Borges: I generally agree, but Matt makes this sound easy and it’s not. Starting a blog requires development of a strategy, which requires research and planning. Once you start a blog, you must be committed to it, or you’ll lose credibility for starting and stopping a blog. Matt didn’t mention other link building strategies such as syndicating content, or SEO optimizing press releases. Social media marketing can be very effective in link building, but it requires strategy, commitment and resources. Not all businesses are able to make and follow through with this committment.
Matt Cutts: The most common misconception is that you have to pay Google to get listed in the organic listings. Not true. Google crawls web sites for free. Another misconception is that the PPC (pay per click) listings will help your organic search engine rankings. Not true. PPC has no affect on your “editorial search results.”
Bernie Borges: This is aka “separation of church and state.” Matt’s referall to organic listings as “editorial search results” is terrific. Media firms have always maintained separation between advertising and editorial. This is exactly the same principle. This is 100%, indisputably accurate!
Matt Cutts: In response to: Does it take 3 to 6 months to get your website crawled? No. Google updates their index monthly and crawls all websites it can find for free. Google also provides a free tool called Google Webmaster which allows you to list all your URLs to be found there in days, not months.
Bernie Borges: Absolutely! We use Google Webmaster with our SEO clients. It is a valuable tool which gives a lot of insight into how Google sees your website, including identifying broken links which you may not even know you had.
Bernie Borges Final Commentary:
While everything Matt Cutts said in this interview is 100% accurate, it is a bit oversimplified. It’s a little like saying if you want to compete in a marathon, all you have to do is train 5 miles a day for 3 months, then 11 miles a day for 1 month prior to the marathon event. The execution of such recommendations takes discipline, coaching and just plain hard work.
SEO is hard work! I’m sure this sounds a little self serving, given that we provide SEO services. My argument is that the details associated with these valid suggestions are plentiful. A successful Internet marketing strategy requires planning, execution and measurement by resources with the know how and availability to get the job done. Matt Cutts’ suggestions, while accurate, are also just a portion of an overall SEO strategy, for example, he made no mention of the importance of the technical architecture of your website, along with other important factors.
Oh, one more thing. I take exception with people who say that SEO is a one time process and once you’ve completed it you are done (Matt Cutts did not say this). Whoa! That is so far from the truth. That’s like saying today is sunny and therefore I assume everyday going forward will be sunny…Others are doing SEO in your keyword space and you will lose ground if you stop working at it. I will agree there is more effort required on the front end, but you should not just walk away from an SEO plan or you will see declining results, unless perhaps if you are a in very unique niche with little competition for your keywords.