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Google’s Matt Cutts often has a few bits and pieces of useful information for all website owners out there. The following are two topics he has recently covered that site owners will likely find of interest.

Cross Linking Domains

For anyone out there with multiple websites, the question often arises regarding how to cross link these sites together – not only for usability purposes but to also keep Google happy. At the end of the day, Matt goes on to recommend being very weary of linking 20 domains together unless you have a very good reason to do so (such as different versions of the site for each country served.). Read more…

Many have discounted the benefits of the Meta Description Tag because it is no longer considered by Google’s ranking algorithms when evaluating where your site should rank in search results; it is generally assumed spammers abuse of the tag forced search engines to devalue it. This hasn’t left the Meta Description Tag a complete waste of space though. Before explaining why the Meta Description Tag still has an impact on rankings I will first cover what the tag is still widely known to be good for; prompting clickthroughs.

Fact: The Description Meta Tag Can Increase Clickthroughs

Nowadays if a webmaster writes a good representation of a webpage into the Meta Description Tag there is a good chance Google will use the tag as the description of the page in search engine results. As a result, the wise marketer will take this a step further and ensure the Description Meta Tag is further optimized to entice someone to click on her search result versus her competitor’s. Granted, this is only a big help if the page is actually ranking where viewers can see it; which requires the other facets of website marketing not covered in this article (search engine optimization, community building  which is better than link building, etc.).

Now consider the next important piece of the puzzle Read more…

Today, Matt Cutts posted a new Google Webmaster Video addressing (finally!) the issues surrounding the many changes in long tail search engine results. Here is the video:

YouTube Preview Image

To recap, the Mayday update (as most are calling it) was a purposeful and permanent shift in how Google determines which sites should be ranked under long tail searches (i.e. short tail = “victoria bc hotel“, and long tail = “victoria bc pet friendly hotel“). According to Matt, the changes are not based on specific offending websites but a quality enhancement to the entire Google algorithm with the most affect being on long tail rankings. Read more…

At SMX Advanced a few weeks ago there was a huge hullabaloo about Matt Cutt’s saying that PageRank Sculpting using nofollow tags is no longer effective and it should no longer be used. I haven’t posted anything about this until now because frankly there were enough people making a stink about this topic. That said, I now am ready to weigh in on the subject mainly because Matt Cutts posted his own take on PageRank Sculpting last week and it gave me some food for thought.

So what is the deal? What did Matt say? Let’s examine the details based on his post:

Matt’s Post: “So what happens when you have a page with ‘ten PageRank points’ and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? … Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.(Colour formatting added.)

Read more…

So much of what I discover on a given day in the search marketing industry is via Twitter. When I find interesting and occasionally hot stories I note them on our @stepforth account and/or my @rossdunn account. Since our blog often suffers from my Twitter distractions I felt I had better provide a summary on the busy days. Thus, welcome to our very first Tweet Update for June 5th, 2009: Read more…

A big thanks to the wonderful Abby Prince from WebProNews for interviewing Matt Cutts explaining what the new Canonical tag is for and why it was created.

Here is a link to the Matt Cutts video shown above.
by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.

At least a few times a month I get asked various questions about why a search engine ranking looks the way it does.

For example, someone might ask me how they can influence the description and/or title that Google gave their website in their search engine ranking. But easily the most prominent question is “what are those links that show up under some #1 rankings? How can I get those?” Read more…

Poor Matt, he is always getting the brunt of the abuse when Google does something that could, even remotely, be monopolistic. Fortunately, Google Chrome, in my opinion is yet another great idea from a great company that is slightly evil but much less than most 😉

Check out Matt’s blog for his detailed “Answers to Common Google Chrome Objections” and get the low down directly from a straight-talker; the image on the right is from a fun set of Google collector cards created by Philipp Lenssen.

PS. I forgot to mention in my previous Google Chrome post that Google has earned another star in my book for creating such a cool logo for Google Chrome! Hmm, now I just need to get my hands on a sticker for my laptop! Hint hint Google!

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.

At the exact same time (both at 10:50 am PST) Google announced it’s spider (Googlebot) was now indexing a variety of forms Matt Cutts jumped in on his blog with his perspective where raised a great point that hadn’t occured to me. Essentially this new spider function will allow the indexing of form-based drop-down menus which previously were road blocks to search engine spiders. This form of navigation is unfortunately used quite often as primary navigation by web site owners so this recent addition to Googlebot’s super spider powers may mean huge rank increases for such websites.

That said, according to Google this doesn’t always mean this content will be indexed… which begs the question whether form navigation is still a good idea to rely on. At this point I hardly think it is now an acceptable navigational tactic. After all the other search engines first have to jump on board and implement a similar capability or else form navigation will alienate them entirely.

Thanks Matt for your ever wise post. Oh and did you all know that Matt Cutts and I are best friends forever? (BFF)

Loren Baker over at announced that Matt Cutts had confirmed the PageRank update that happened last week was ‘primarily’ a response to link selling. No additional information was provided except that Google would be continuing to look “at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.”

If your sites’s PageRank was damaged by this update Loren suggests taking a close look at your site and ironing out any wrinkles before asking for reconsideration via Google’s Webmaster Tools. Be CERTAIN that your website is wrinkle free otherwise you may get yourself in hotter water if you tell Google to give your site special attention.

Remember that it is always wise to wait for the fallout to clear before making any considerable changes to your website in response to a search engine update. Often we find that when search results stabilize many falsely affected websites are automatically reinstated – at least partially. Here’s hoping that the same happens this time around.