PubCon – Matt Cutts Keynote
- Brett Tabke
- Matt Cutts, Software Engineer, Google Inc.
How did you get in? What’s a typical day in Google like?
Matt: I was in grad school in computer graphics and had to take a couple of Computer Science related classes. I ended up taking 2 information and a library science class about search engines. This was in ’99. I sent an email asking how much these companies pay and they weren’t interested in doing active negotiations. Later, they revisited the question, flew me out to California, and I’ve been there since 2000.
As far as a typical day, it’s hard to answer as different things happen everyday. It depends on what kind of issues are in the news (like malware on .CN domains). I love my colleagues and webmasters and love trying to fix problems and tackling problems before competition gets to Google.
What’s your employee number? There’s a rumor that it’s 69.
Matt: No, it’s not 69. It’s in the first hundred.
How do we identify bad neighbourhoods (in terms of linking)?
Matt: Use your gut. Webmasters and SEOs are smart. Trading links should be a natural process. It should be reciprocal and not look artificial. If you are unsure on whether to trust or distrust a link, use noFollow.
Paid Links. What’s the deal?
Matt: A few years ago, there was another search engine called Overture. If you ran a search, the results weren’t sorted by relevance, but money. For a search on ‘Harvard,’ you’d get SERPs on test preps not the univ. you don’t want SERPs based on pocketbook. In one episode, someone wanted to buy the anchor text for ‘Alzheimer’s.’ This site only existed to make money. If you ran a search and reached there, it’s not a good user experience. This effects relevancy. This more than a ‘Google only issue,’ all search engines have agreed.
Google recently bought g.cn. Elaborate?
Matt: If you are Chinese, remembering the Google is hard enough. Google’s aim was to make it easy to remember. We have google.com, g.cn and google.cn. If you go to Google.com, you receive main results with the other two, results are restricted based on country requirements.
Back to the China affair and the backlinks. We’ve seen that they but a lot of backlinks from different regions. Have you thought about investigating it?
Matt: Good question. Looking at the .cn domains, you’ll find that most of the spam is English and not Chinese. The backlinks are all from Japan, these begin to look suspicious. Sometimes spammers have backlinks from every TLD. There is always more that Google can do. We’re working on it.
Google makes a lot of money on the content networks. But, most of these are from typo-squatted domains. What is Google’s stance on trying to block or shut them down?
Matt: Matt starts by saying this is not his area of expertise and whatever he says is only a personal opinion. Suppose you want to stop all these typo-squatters and terminate domains that are 1 letter away. In a lot of ways, Google made domain related ads legitimate. Search Engine Round Table has some articles on how to opt out and ask your rep not to put you on any kind of domain-related ads. This alternative is a great step and Google is still listening to feedback.
If I have a VPS and I want to know if I have a neighbor doing some shady stuff. Can that poison the entire subnet?
Matt: Spammers are smart. Spammers leave an IP address and some innocent person will take it. Generally, this can’t hurt your reputation. The only time they worry is when there are lots of IDs within the same subnet involved in shady business.
We’re seeing a lot of blog content being copied and added on AdSense sites. How do i report that?
Matt: Generally, do it through a spam report. Tamar Weinberg has done a good post on how to report spam.
What do you think about directories? Is it worth paying to get in?
Matt: Find out who’s in it and if there are spammers and bad neighborhoods in it, you don’t want to be part of it. Paying all the time is unnecessary. If you get added after paying, the directory doesn’t use great editorial discretion. That’s a criteria.
Are there times where a 302 is interpreted as a 301?
Matt: It’s rare. Google tries to ensure that it’s hard for people to hijack listings.