When Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts arrived for the first session on SES SF Day 2, it was obviously the highlighted event of the day. Matt spoke on a number of issues including Knowledge graph, the Penguin update, SEO and social signals.
Knowledge Graph & Other Improvements to Search
Matt is no longer a part of the Search Quality Team at Google because it has been renamed as the Knowledge Team. He then went on to explain the new additions to Google search including the Knowledge Graph, Gmail messages in search results and more.
On Panda and Penguin
Matt said that publishers should be ready for Penguin jolts, while the Panda would be smoother. Our full coverage on the Panda and Penguin can be found here.
Social Signals – Facebook and Twitter and a wary Google
The people at the session wanted to know more about social signals as a ranking factor. Matt said:
- Twitter followers’ numbers are counted as a signal
- Unable to crawl Facebook
- Google knows the number of times a page has been shared or Tweeted
However, Matt also mentioned that at present Google is a bit wary of basing their rankings hugely on social signals.
Attempts at Transparency
Matt also spoke of Google’s new transparency. He said that doing everything clearly is cheaper, than having to be put under the radar. He also added that Google is sharing more on their ways by sending out many more messages in Webmaster Tools than ever before, except if the case is of clear black hat practices. Cutts also emphasized that Google never hides the algorithm to put its own properties at an advantage.
Google Is OK with SEO
Matt has repeated his earlier statement that Google does not hate SEO. He said that SEO makes it easier to crawl sites and they only take action if optimization turns to spamming and keyword stuffing.
Google and Publishing
With so many Google products like Google Flights, Knowledge Graph, Google Places and more, is Google becoming a publisher- this was what was posed before Matt and he said that Google wants to give users answers right on the search results page and not have them click on any site to find what they are looking for.
This means that while Google ‘adds value’ to their search results, webmasters lose their traffic. Cutts, however, suggested that webmasters create original content like research and opinion to inform users better. Matt said, “Google is more of an information company than pure search.”
Google’s Sampling Issues
Matt revealed that Google crawls 20 billion pages every day and 30 Trillion URLs are seen by it. 3 billion searches are conducted daily. The search engine has issues in deciding what was published when and it takes some time to identify original content from duplicate content.
+1s don’t Matter That Much for Google
Matt said that they are still wary of +1s a page gets. They acknowledge it but do not put much weight in it.
Google on Fixing Sites
Matt was asked why Google does not tell the publishers the specific issues with their sites. Cutts said that this is the new area the search engine wants to make a foray in- telling webmasters about errors and how to fix them as well. Cutts agreed with the need for Google to give actionable advice.
What do you think of all these valuable insights? Please share your views.Matt Cutts on Panda, Penguin, Quality, Social Signals & More at SES SF 2012!,