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Matt Cutts talks about what makes a good quality site
Whitey




msg:4474005
 7:15 am on Jul 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Top interview between Eric Enge and Matt


Eric Enge: We always speak to our clients about focusing on activities that are brand building.

By doing things that help build your own reputation, you are focusing on the right types of activity. Those are the signals we want to find and value the most anyway.

Does that make sense?

Matt Cutts: Yes, it does. By doing things that help build your own reputation, you are focusing on the right types of activity. Those are the signals we want to find and value the most anyway. Just promoting your site on a spammy blog network that no one would ever choose to visit is not a good strategy.

It’s wild to see some blog networks just repackage the same spammy sites and services and have the nerve claim that their content is “Panda and Penguin compliant” when the quality of the network is clearly not at the level that even a regular person would choose to read it
[stonetemple.com...]


Plus many more points. Well worth a read and some feedback comments.

 

ecommerceprofit




msg:4474487
 5:03 am on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Zivush - there will always be exceptions to the rule...also, more importantly, who is to say that a site with just a few links/lots of traffic did not get some sort of publicity or run an advertising campaign recently that kicked up the traffic? Lastly, Alexa rankings can be manipulated...at least that's how it was a few years back...perhaps this has changed.

[edited by: tedster at 5:05 am (utc) on Jul 11, 2012]

diberry




msg:4474493
 5:53 am on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

It strikes me from the chatter about your reputation... maybe Google wants sites to start with them, but then develop beyond them? What I mean is: whenever I launch a new site, unless I arrange another traffic source, Google is always a huge percentage of my traffic initially - almost inevitably, due to their dominance. But what if the big signal Google is looking for is that I've developed other traffic sources, that I've got people talking, that I've gone beyond Google in some way. Maybe they're beginning to think sites that just sit back and rely on them for traffic can't be good sites.

I'm not saying this is good or bad. It just strikes me as one way to interpret what they're saying.

Zivush




msg:4474495
 6:14 am on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ecommerceprofit
The site with the few links never ran (or will run) an advertising campaign and never manipulated Alexa in any way.
It happens to be one of my sites:-)

timwilliams




msg:4474557
 10:28 am on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

@beachboy
I'm sorry, that's just plain dumb.


Not sure I follow you here, is the comment I referenced dumb or the idea?

martinibuster




msg:4474589
 1:21 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

what if the big signal Google is looking for is that I've developed other traffic sources, that I've got people talking


Now we're getting somewhere. That's a good point, although I wouldn't label it as "the big signal." What you are referencing are citations. Anytime someone references (talks about) your site, that's a citation.

I wouldn't regard that as a silver bullet (or a replacement for links) for improving your rankings. But if you're amassing ranking signals, it's not a bad thing to have as many kinds of signals on your side as you can.

I think smaller sites can compete. Perhaps not always for the number one spot, but in my experience the number two and three spots can be negotiable.

Webwork




msg:4474625
 2:43 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

mb, what distinguishes "a citation" from "a link"?

Anyone aware any G patents that elucidate the/a distinction - between a link that's "merely a link" and a "link that's citation"?

Are there references in any algo patent that reference a specific ranking power given to certain sites that grants those cites "citation (type) powers"? Something more or different than old fashioned PR/link-juice?

randle




msg:4474626
 2:50 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

But if you're amassing ranking signals, it's not a bad thing to have as many kinds of signals on your side as you can.


Well put, but what I saw with Panda and Penguin was that the results left in their wakes were more a function of the assessment of "negative signals of quality" and subsequent penalties/demotions than from positive ones being rewarded.

I know some will say its a matter of semantics, but its really not. (winning because your opponent defaulted before a single point was played, is not the same as beating him outright).

Sure, if some sites fall, other rise - however thats not the same as a site rising, and deliberately being placed above other sites due to an assessment of its positive qualities.

Panda punished those with poor content profiles - did anyone truly feel like their site rose because of excellent content? No, it was "whew, whatever Google didn't like about some peoples content i'm glad I didn't have whatever it was".

Penguin punished those with suspicious looking back link profiles - did anyone truly feel like their site rose because of their back links? No, it was "whew, glad I stopped with the paid paid links a few years ago".

90% of the post Penguin and Panda discussions were about recovery, not the fruits of having specific "signals of quality" Google wanted to reward.

Penalties/demotions and punishment have become much more ingrained in the ranking computations of the algorithm over the past few years.

Getting back to thinking about, and implementing "signals of quality" on ones sites would be a real welcomed breath of fresh air.

The problem is Google just seems focused on planting land mines every where and how to avoid getting zapped in the first place- and how to recover from it are really whats on people minds these days.

netmeg




msg:4474628
 3:07 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

mb, what distinguishes "a citation" from "a link"?


I'm not MB, but I'll take a stab at this. In my mind, the difference would be something along the lines someone actually writing something *about* you, or your site, and including a link.

I might get plenty of links, often with nothing more than anchor text that says "click here"

But what I would consider to be a *citation* might be one I got recently from the tourist section of a state .gov who wrote a blog post saying "Here's this resource, and this is what you'll find, and so-and-so runs it, and this is why you might find it useful". That's a whole lot more than just a link that says "click here". Can't imagine Google wouldn't pay attention to that sort of thing.

scooterdude




msg:4474634
 3:14 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)


The thing about Panda is that it tries to identify good quality sites, and as I mentioned, that's an editorial decision, it's subjective. Which means that quality sites that don't meet their algorithms ideas of what a quality site looks like are going to end up at the back of the SERPs. It's not quite like a bouncer at the head of a long line judging who gets into the nightclub, but it's an editorial decision that is subjective and debatable.


As succint, and as civil, and, IHMO, as accurate, a description of Google SERPS, PANDA, and Penguin as i've come accross anywhere

atlrus




msg:4474730
 7:15 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's mind boggling to hear Matt's opinion on the frog-story.

All while Wikipedia, the largest "opinion offender" according to Matt's logic, is ranking atop of everything. I would really love to see the proof of expertise and experience the contributors of Wikipedia exhibit, which Google uses later to identify a Wiki article as an "expert" article, not just an opinion (or a prank).

I swear, every time this guy says something I go into a blind rage :)

Edge




msg:4474732
 7:37 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts: Where people get into trouble here is that they fill these pages with the exact same content on each page. “Our handcrafted pizza is lovingly made with the same methods we have been using for more than 50 years …”, and they’ll repeat the same information for 6 or 7 paragraphs, and it’s not necessary. That information would be great on a top-level page somewhere on the site, but repeating it on all those pages does not look good. If users see this on multiple pages on the site they aren’t likely to like it either.


Why would I be on the NY pizza web page if live and buy pizza in Arizona?

Legitimate exceptions to everything...

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4474738
 8:25 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

That is a fair point Edge. From the user's perspective (in your case), they couldn't care less about what content is on the NY page.

bobsc




msg:4474743
 8:49 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

In my mind, the difference would be something along the lines someone actually writing something *about* you, or your site, and including a link.
Citations usually contain a URL, but no link(<a> tag).
diberry




msg:4474744
 8:57 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well put, but what I saw with Panda and Penguin was that the results left in their wakes were more a function of the assessment of "negative signals of quality" and subsequent penalties/demotions than from positive ones being rewarded.


This is an important distinction. It certainly looks this way on a lot of queries. I suspect the algo and its zoo friends collectively look for both good and bad signals, and they're not working together now as well as they should be.

Edge, you're right to an extent, but I would argue that if I'm building one page to make my Philly visitors feel special, and another for my visitors from Boston, that the text and images should vary. Maybe I should talk about local sports teams or events, or local landmarks or fun places to go in each city. Boilerplate text with nothing but a different city name in the title really IS just about SEO rankings.

eeek




msg:4474745
 8:58 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

just follow the rules or else.. you may find your site deep in the 'water'..


But they won't tell us what the rules really are.

realmaverick




msg:4474749
 9:19 pm on Jul 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

It amused me how Matt skirted around the question regarding the Pizza store with multiple locations. His answers were utter nonsense but I enjoyed how Eric challenged him.

Somebody searching for Pizza in Chicago, would be best suited to land on a page specific to their location. With nothing but an address and phone number is an absolutely absurd suggestion.

Following that advice, would cause a large increase in bounce rates. The user will want to know what makes their pizzas so special and yummy, this kind of information won't vary from area to area. Is this where the company is supposed to add useless info that the customer doesn't really care about, such as what is unique about that particular store?! On-site duplicate content is often necessary. Things like instructions etc.

Google are forcing many companies to remove functionality and lower the value of a page, which goes against their apparent goal.

Whitey




msg:4474798
 12:09 am on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

With nothing but an address and phone number is an absolutely absurd suggestion.

@realmaverick - You can satisfy both Google and the customer by providing separate URL's, one blocked with no-index and all the relevant info on those landing pages, well designed for users. This should work Y/N ?

Google's trying to apply a set of rules to eliminate useless / boiler plate info - it's not a perfect algo, it has it's limitations. It needs the co operation of webmasters and those with the knowledge to share it, including Google reps.

Just as a footnote, this is very powerful interview. Let's turn this into an equally powerful thread with facts to help each other out. I'd encourage those with the skills to contribute with reactions and complimentary facts. [ I'm no SEO - btw ].

Kendo




msg:4474820
 1:13 am on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure what you are saying here. Do you have a reference link?


This is old news and what I am saying is do not trust anything that you read at all, especially info spun by a very well endowed publicity team.

tedster




msg:4474842
 3:10 am on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

nothing but an address and phone number is an absolutely absurd suggestion.

But that's not what Matt said.

Eric Enge: What should they put on those pages then?
Matt Cutts: In addition to address and contact information, 2 or 3 sentences about what is unique to that location and they should be fine.
Eric Enge: That won't be seen as thin content?
Matt Cutts: No, something like that should be fine.

That suggestion makes sense to me. If I'm looking at the NY page, the content should be about the NY location rather than generic boilerplate that I can find on the Chicago page and the St Louis page and... I would expect the more generic content to be on a top level page.

diberry




msg:4474866
 4:35 am on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tedster, that's how I'm reading it too. Something unique about that location of your restaurant, or about the city it's in. Because the point is to make it FEEL local and for that you need local references - just a small paragraph, and then the details about your pizza and so on.

Otherwise, why bother having different city pages, except to manipulate the SERPs? If it's for users, it should mean something to them, and a few words about something local totally changes my perception of a website's relevance to me as a visitor.

Beachboy




msg:4474901
 7:30 am on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

@beachboy
I'm sorry, that's just plain dumb.


Not sure I follow you here, is the comment I referenced dumb or the idea?

The idea, not anything you said, sorry for any confusion.

scooterdude




msg:4474925
 9:45 am on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)


That suggestion makes sense to me. If I'm looking at the NY page, the content should be about the NY location rather than generic boilerplate that I can find on the Chicago page and the St Louis page and... I would expect the more generic content to be on a top level page.


Surely this presumes that the users behave like googlebot and scan every city page even though they just want a Pizza in NY?

How do you get annoyed about boiler plate if you never see it?

netmeg




msg:4474957
 12:31 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yea, personally I think Matt kinda dropped the ball on this one. I suppose Google's answers to this situation would be to either make unique content for each location page, just make one page with all the locations on it, or to create Google Places - er, scuse me, Google+ pages for each location. None of which is a great solution in my mind, but of the three, I'd probably try the first one.

1script




msg:4474967
 1:43 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Pizza joint makes for a cute example but the discussion that followed makes me think that they were NOT talking about promotion of pizza restaurants. As much as Google would want world domination (they would, wouldn't they?), a "normal" pizza joint cares much more about foot traffic than online traffic. All they care about in terms of online presence is that someone types "pizza" and ZIP or town name, their phone number and perhaps an address comes up. But that part is already working and they don't even have to do anything, in fact they don't even have to have a web page let alone promote it. In any location (at least in the US) there are at least 3-4 restaurant review and business listing sites that come up, bringing up all the information that's required to find them.

I think what MC and Eric were really talking about is promotion of cookie-cutter online affiliate sites without any physical location to differentiate them. Otherwise nothing that MC said on the subject makes any sense because geolocation tracking, which Google is already doing, gives the pizza joint all the ranking advantage they may be looking for (and, again, Google thinks too high of themselves if they thing your brink-n-mortar pizza joint actually cares).

So, we too have to stop pretending the dupe-avoidance advice MC is giving was directed at a business with an off-line location because it's not. Thinking of it in terms of a pizza joint only confuses everybody. But if you substitute "affiliate" for "pizza" in that interview, it starts making some sense. Why MC does not want to be seen giving advice to online affiliates - that is a completely separate issue but I don't want to open that can of worms.

And, really, 2-3 paragraphs is all it takes to appease Google's algo?

JohnRoy




msg:4475091
 6:55 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

@1script
To take it a bit further, the discussion imho is focused not to pizza and not to affiliates only.

Its directed to anyone selling widgets online, but instead of building one national brand (amazon), they have the blue-widgets.widgieRus.com / red-widgets.widgieRus.com / green-widgets.widgieRus.com

@all
I think the points made in that interview (which are not new) talk about how to do it and what is the right way to go. Mr Cutts is not Ben Bernanke the fed chairman who's every notion means a lot for day traders. He's also not everything behind the G search results, which is not following the rules their official advice set furth.

In that interview someone commented complaining about these type of localized sites showing up in the top G serps although they did NOT "make unique content for each location page" as netmeg suggested above.

realmaverick




msg:4475100
 7:13 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

That suggestion makes sense to me. If I'm looking at the NY page, the content should be about the NY location rather than generic boilerplate that I can find on the Chicago page and the St Louis page and... I would expect the more generic content to be on a top level page.


This is a first, but I disagree. While it might make sense, from an SEO perspective, it's not what's best for the visitor and it's definitely not best for conversions.

If the user searched for pizza chicago, they are not looking for an address, they are not looking for just a phone number and they certainly won't care about some useless information about the uniqueness of that particular restaurant OR some random info about Chicago.

The user is looking for pizza in the Chicago area, they land on the most relevant page domain.com/location.html and find a rather dull page, with no information about what makes these pizzas so delicious, no special offers, no reason to do anything but click back.

I'd want to land on a page with information on their pizzas, perhaps some special offers and reasons for me to order from them, over the other results.

The conversion rates on such a page, would be terrible.

JohnRoy




msg:4475103
 7:20 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

what distinguishes "a citation" from "a link"?

Anyone aware any G patents that elucidate the/a distinction - between a link that's "merely a link" and a "link that's citation"?


..difference would be something along the lines someone actually writing something *about* you, or your site, and including a link...

But what I would consider to be a *citation* might be one I got recently from the tourist section of a state .gov who wrote a blog post saying "Here's this resource, and this is what you'll find, and so-and-so runs it, and this is why you might find it useful". That's a whole lot more than just a link that says "click here". Can't imagine Google wouldn't pay attention to that sort of thing.


And now comes CONTENT CURATION
(which was btw mentioned in that Eric/Matt Interview).

  • What distinguishes "a citation" from "a curation" ?

    An interesting aspect of the culture of sharing on social networks is that of content curation. This is the act of pointing your followers to content from other people...

    Essentially the idea is that you find things that interest you and share them. If you become known as "always finding the good stuff" people will eagerly follow you even if you don't do much in the way of original content...

    If you do online book or music reviews, you're curating content. When you blog about other people's work you're curating content.

    Content curated from http://www.webinknow.com/2011/02/content-curation.html [webinknow.com]

    [edited by: tedster at 9:53 pm (utc) on Jul 12, 2012]
    [edit reason] quote shortened for Fair Use, attribution link added [/edit]

  • netmeg




    msg:4475109
     7:35 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

    (Which then becomes even more circular, because that's pretty much what I do)

    Leosghost




    msg:4475112
     7:38 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

    Far too many webmasters think that "content curation", means,... take someone else's content and put it on their own page..and that doing this with other people's content from multiple sources, makes their website into some sort of "public service", which thus deserves to rank highly in serps..

    Some of them even consider that they are doing a favor to those whose content they "curate"...and that an occasional "link back" to the original source or mention makes it all OK, and ethical..

    It doesn't..

    aakk9999




    msg:4475120
     7:59 pm on Jul 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

    With regards to pizza pages - there is a way to do it to make both, Google and visitors happy - the question is - should you go to these lengths just to satisfy Google?

    For example, you can have a separate page with generic content. Then you have another page with generic content text only, and canonical link element pointing to generic page. You frame this page within the city pages. You make city pages have address, phone number, few sentences about what is specific about this location, followed by (or preceeded by) framed generic content (where framed content has canonical to generic content page).

    But as I said - whilst technically is possible - it defies Google's "make the page for visitor" as it is obvious you go to length that your "page for visitor" is not frowned upon by Google.

    realmaverick




    msg:4475180
     12:26 am on Jul 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

    If Google search worked in the way they suggest, we shouldn't have to consider Google. We should be building websites that visitors love to use.

    There are so many considerations now, that often usability is sacrificed to please Google.

    This 82 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 82 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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