Matt Cutts is the head of an important team inside of Google, a search company that you might have heard of or even used on occasion. Who are we kidding, Google supplies in the order of 80 plus percent of any websites traffic, depending on who you ask or log files you observe. Matt was about to start his Super Session at PubCon 2010 in Las Vegas, there’s also one in Austin, Texas where the founder lives. Before we get into the Super Session tips from Mr. Cutts, PubCon is a social media and search conference, which is why Google sent over an important figure in their organization to speak. This was my first visit to a PubCon conference, and thanks to Brett Tabke, my brother and I finally had a chance to do so.
A few weeks prior, also in Las Vegas, Bill and I interviewed Mr. Tabke at the BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010, held in the Mandalay Bay convention center, about when and where PubCon was going to be held. After finding out PubCon was going to be in Las Vegas, and who the speakers lineup was going to consist of, I turned to Twitter to learn more. Twitter contains a series of linked Tweets via hashtags, words that are interlinked with other Tweets, like a category on a blog. Once I typed in the hashtag of PubCon, things got interesting and fun. I was able to see people talking about who was going to speak, their expectations of the panels, how the panelists performed last year and what people were looking forward to most.
Shortly after the interview video of Mr. Tabke was posted, Tweeted, posted to Facebook and blogged about, I received an email from him with more information about the conference. I read the words, social media and search conference and I was ready to book the passes and add the event to my burgeoning schedule. Fortunately, I booked the Gold pass, which is perfect for my Twitter profile @24k. This allowed me to go to all three days worth of sessions, keynotes and even lunch.
The sessions and panelists were great that I went to, and from looking again at the PubCon Twitter hashtag, most of the others included new and improved information, well worth the price of admission. The sessions that I visited included a lot of tips about how to use social media concerning press, search technology for individual websites, detailed software installations for search engine optimization and real world case studies of why something worked.
One of the best sessions to learn about what’s new with Google concerning search, was Matt Cutts’ Super Session. Matt Cutts talked about a lot during his 32 minutes on stage and what he said resonated with different parts of the crowd. He was even cool enough to answer many questions immediately following the presentation. These were his topics of discussion.
- What has Google done in the last year?
- Discusses Nexus One & Froyo, Tethering & WiFi Hotspot, Voice input everywhere, Flash
- Google’s Chrome Web Browser, Stats of usage & Extensions; Speed Tracer, Resolution Test, Web Developer
- In the Las Year: Trust / Security, Serving Search results from Hong Kong, Gmail HTTPS by default, SSL Search, Suspicious Activity in Gmail, Two-factor authentication, Government Requests tool
- Google’s Self-driving cars
- What has Google done for users? Speed; Caffeine, Real-time Search, Google Instant, Instant Previews, Gmail Priority Inbox
- Caffeine: Incremental indexing, Continuous updates of index, 50% fresher results
- Google Instant for webmasters; 3 Ways to count as an impression, User hits search / enter or selectrs query from auto complete (old way), User clicks on a link, User stops typing & results displayed for 3+ seconds
- What will I see in my Google Webmaster tools logs? User types: [pub], Google shows results for: [pubcon], Referrer / query stats show: [pubcon]
- Google Instant Previews, Quickly decide which result to click including snippet location on page
- Google Instant Previews for webmasters, Check out your previews; Not a ranking change, Look out for interstitials & overlays, Previews do not count as clicks, You can opt out using the nosnippet meta tag but not recommended because users are 4x more likely to click on a previewed result
- Search options shown by default
- What has Google done for web developers?
- Making sites faster: mod pagespeed - open-source Apache module, can reduce page load times by 50% - Asynchronous Google Analytics, Improved accuracy, goes in the document ‘head’, New default tracking code - SPDY Protocol
- (PoundExclamation) URLs adopted by Facebook & Twitter (AJAX indexing)
- What has Google done for SEOs & webmasters?
- Easier spam reporting, Google Webspam Report Chrome extension, Automatically populates some fields
- Are spam reports read by Googlers? Yes, but we may not manually review every report. - Investigations prioritized based on user impact - Spam reports get a 4x priority multiplier
- What has Google done for webmasters? - Cross-domain rel canonical - rel alternate for multi-lingual templates - Multiple content types supported in a single Sitemap file - Updated SEO Starter Guide - Google’s own SEO Report Card
- Easy accessibility wins for YouTube - Auto captions: Voice recognition to automatically caption English videos - Not perfect, but no work on user’s part
- Webmaster Tools improvements - New ways to verify ownership of a site - Verified owner grants access to additional users, via Google Analytics code, DNS TXT record
- Webmaster Tools improvements, Site performance in Labs, Site speed a ranking factor affects less than 1% of queries
- More data & charts for queries, Data for many more queries (no longer limited to 100), Built-in chart, but you can still download the CSV, See changes over time for impressions, CTR and position, Star queries you’d like to track
- More notifications - Message Center notifications for, suspected hacking, increase in crawl errors, Definitely enable email forwarding to receive hacked site alerts - Rich snippets improvements, New formats; Events, Recipes, Breadcrumbs, Local, Shopping - Support for; Microdata, International rich snippets - New testing tool
- What’s in store for the future?
- Google listens to feedback - ever-BETA, mostly stopped using the BETA label - Buzz claim: not enough outside testing, Tested both Instant and Instant Previews visibly
- Devoting more resources to spam - Last year, we had a plateau of spam: goog(dot)gl: Fast URL shortener with excellent uptime - SSL search: your boss won’t see your searches - Birthday Doodle: Remember to set your birthday in your Google profile - Big Trend hacked sites, They’re ready for spam again, especially linkspam
- More help for webmasters, Engineers are also working to help webmasters affected by spam, More and better penalty notifications, Some new messages being sent out, Improved reconsideration process
- Big Trends; Mobile, Local, Social, Variety: Real-time, Video, News, HTML5 (Webkit, IE9)
- The Nine Tips You Must Know; SEO: Chase users, not algorithms - Keywords: “Ask 10 taxi drivers” rule - Blog: Pay attention to first link - Content: Read it out loud - Twitter: Leave room for ‘RT Twitter name’ - Video: Make one - Conversion: Test. Repeat. Guide User - Anyone: Own your own domain - Webmaster Tools: Turn on Email
Thanks to Brett Tabke of PubCon, the panelists, the speakers, Las Vegas Convention Center support staff, Dan Contento VP of Sales at DIGG, Jonathan Brewer of MeetMEME, Efren Toscano of TechZulu (who interviewed me about the conference), Christina Zila of TextBroker, Ruben Orozco of TweetFind, Michael of the Palms Las Vegas, cool attendees and followers on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for making my first PubCon Las Vegas a big success. Here’s hoping that I’ll be able to return to PubCon 2011 in Las Vegas for another round of excellent sessions and to meet up with friends.
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