Matt Cutts and Vanessa Fox answer questions on the Site Review Panel at Pubcon in Las Vegas.
Today, during the Interactive Site Review Session, Google’s head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts, along with Vanessa Fox of NinebyBlue and Derrick Wheeler of Microsoft took thorough dives into a number of sites.
A few points in particular stood out and are worthy of coverage:
- Blocking Internet Archive may be a Negative Signal
Matt Cutts noted that spammers very frequently block archive.org from crawling/storing their pages and few reputable sites engage in this. Thus, it’s a potential spam signal to search engines. SEO Theory has a good writeup on when and why there may be legitimate reasons to do this, but webmasters seeking to avoid scrutiny may want to take heed.
- Web Page Load Time can Positively Influence Rankings
Maile Ohye actually mentioned this at SMX East in New York, but Matt Cutts repeated it again today. In a nutshell – while slow page load times won’t negatively impact your rankings, fast load times may have a positive effect. This comes on a day when the Google Chrome blog introduced their new SPDY research project. I’m particularly happy about this news, because it’s also true that load times have a positive second-order effect on SEO. Pingomatic recently published some excellent research on load times from Akamai noting the expectations of users for faster web browsing have doubled in the past 2 years. In addition, fast loading pages are, in my opinion, considerably more likely to earn links, retweets and other forms of sharing than their slow-loading peers. This tool from Pingdom is a great place to start testing your own site.
- It May be Easier to Walk Away from Banned Domains
Sites that Google’s webspam team has severely penalized or banned entirely from the index can be very difficult to re-include, and thus, Matt suggested that “walking away” and “starting over” may be a more prudent strategy. In my opinion, this is largely due to link profile issues – if your site has a “spammy” link profile, it’s tough to ask an engineer to sort out the wheat from the chaffe manually (or algorithmically) and stop counting only the bad links. Thus, re-consideration requests may not be as effective a use of time as registering a new site and trying to re-build a more trusted presence.
- Repetition of Keywords in Internal Anchor Text (particularly in footers) is Troubling
During a specific site’s review, Matt noted that keyword usage in the anchor text of many internal links, particularly in the footer of a website, is seen as potentially manipulative. Yahoo!’s search engineers have noted this in the past and we at SEOmoz have seen specific cases where removal of keyword-stuffed internal links from a footer had immediate impacts on Google rankings (removing what appeared to be large negative ranking penalties sitewide).
- Having Multiple Sites Targeting Subsections of the Same Niche can be Indicative of Spam
Matt Cutts today mentioned that “having multiple sites for different areas of the same industry can be a red flag to Google.” Though Googlers have mentioned this before, today’s site review panel brought renewed attention to both Google’s ability and proclivity for carefully considering not only an individual site, but all the other sites owned by that registrant/entity/person. Given Google’s tremendous amount of data on web usage behavior, many SEOs suspect that they track beyond simply domain registration records.
To read more, check out SERoundtable.
Google announced today on its blog that it has acquired AdMob (www.admob.com), a popular mobile display ad company, for $750 million. Google has already built their own platform for AdSense on Mobile devices, but this acquisition gives Google access to AdMob’s more than 15,000 mobile websites and applications.
Despite the tremendous growth in mobile usage and the substantial investment by many businesses in the space, the mobile web is still in its early stages. We believe that great mobile advertising products can encourage even more growth in the mobile ecosystem. That’s what has us excited about this deal.
Though perhaps the most visible, AdMob is not the largest mobile ad network. According to an August compilation of Nielsen data by Mobile Marketer, here’s the reach of each of the top mobile ad networks (monthly unique users):
- Millennial Media: 45.6 million
- Yahoo!: 36.1 million
- Google: 31.9 million
- AOL/Platform-A’s Third Screen Media: 28.6 million
- AdMob: 25.7 million
- Microsoft: 25.4 million (doesn’t include the new Verizon deal)
- Jumptap: 23.4 million
- Quattro Wireless: 23 million
You can find more information about this acquisition at google.com/press/admob
In a debate going back a while, Google was told recently by Rupert Murdoch that he has been blocking Google from indexing its websites, essentially making them invisible to Google’s crawlers. Google doesn’t seem to mind.
Sky News political editor David Speers talks to News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch about paywalls, politics, and more. Murdoch wants to charge users for access to its news services.
This is already being done on the Wall Street Journal, with plans for other Murdoch properties to soon follow. Ultimately, Murdoch feels that Google has been stealing this news and doesn’t care if they’ll be losing traffic to their websites as the news source by blocking Google.
“The people who just simply pick up everything and run with it, and steal our stories. We say they steal our stories — they just take them without payment. There’s Google, there’s Microsoft, Ask.com … there’s a whole lot of people.”
Google chosen to respond today, telling the Telegraph that they don’t care if Murdoch wants to block its sites from being found via search and/or Google News.
A spokesman for the search giant said: “Google News and web search are a tremendous source of promotion for news organizations, sending them about 100,000 clicks every minute.”
“Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don’t.”
Google’s response is essentially using tactics like robots.txt and meta tags to block its search engine from crawling the news results.
This argument isn’t over and may continue for some time. I see Google as being the chosen option by users over paid news for the foreseeable future, however, wonder how the tables will turn (or rather, how Google will evolve) if larger news sources such as CNN start to opt out of search results.
Google Operating System noticed Google has added a new search option named “page preview.” If you go to Google, search on something and click on “show options,” you can then look towards the button on the left hand side and click on “page previews.” For example, here is a view of a search for apple with page preview selected.
- **Only for US readers**
- Contest Starts June 13th 2009 and Ends July 15th 2009
- Each entrants will get one unique number. The list of all the entrants will be posted at the end of the contest period
- Two winners will get a 6 month GPS navigator service
- The winner will be selected using Random.Org and announced here with a specific blog post
Check out the blog contest and enter to win!
Read more About Blog Contests online.