Click to enlarge The video is over 46 minutes long (but I prefer to read), so here's the text transcription from Matt's presentation.
I emailed Matt and got the go ahead to publish this. Thanks, MC!

MC's Blog post: SEO For Bloggers featuring the video of Matt's presentation at WordCamp San Francisco 2009 and PPT slides.

Presentation from Google's Matt Cutts -- WordCamp SF 2009 Transcript

"Straight from Google: What You Need to Know"

Matt Cutts:

    I was going to ask how many power bloggers there are, but I think there are a few power bloggers. How many people are relatively new bloggers, new to WordPress, your first Word Camp? OK. Very cool.

    There is a good reason why you might care what I have to say, which is I am the head of the web spam or anti-web spam team at Google.

    So 90% of the Word Press blogs that I see look like this. They didn't even change the default templates! Bastards!

    I am hoping that a PG-13, R rated talk is OK, because if Tim Ferris can outsource his love life, it is OK if I show you guys a few slides here.

    Most of the spam that I see looks like this:
    (insert ugly default WordPress theme).

    Word Press is such a powerful tool that the spammers use it, too. Right?

    So I have seen a lot of really bad sites, but I have also seen a lot of good sites, and I am going to try to give you a few tips about things that might be helpful if you want to get crawled by Google.

    First off, though, let me ask you.

    Why do you blog?

    To be read? What do you get out of it? Tim was just talking. He said, "I get access." I had never thought about that before. I made this list and I had to update this slide from backstage. I was like, "Oh yeah, you want something out of blogging. Fame attention, money." And then Tim was like, "Access! You get to meet the head of the swim team!" OK. I will add that to the list.

    But not everybody wants something from blogging. Some people are just doing it for fun. And if you are doing it for fun, power to you! I fully support your ability to post cat pictures. Yeah! Rock on! I do it!

    This is Emmy my cat.

    This picture is what led me to want to adopt, because she is so cute! Ever since she was a kitten she has just wanted to lie on things. She was grumpy this morning when I got up. As soon as I get dressed she is ready to be perched like a koala bear on my shoulder. ...

    So it is OK to cat blog.

    In fact, we have got two cats and they both like to just...

    Half this presentation was with a cat perched on me when I am trying to make the stuff.

    So if you are a cat blogger, or you like to post poems or you just like to keep up with your family, congratulations. You are happy. You have won. You don't need me. You don't need advice from anybody. Whatever you want to do you are doing it.

    But most people want something from their blog. The number one request I hear is...

    "I want to do better in Google."

    So if you are a cat blogger, if you just post poems, power to you. But the rest of this talk we will talk a little bit about how to do better in Google.

    Now the wonderful thing is you have all made a fantastic choice. This audience looks smart. I walked in and thought, "Not only are they attractive, but they are really intelligent," because you are using WordPress. WordPress automatically solves a ton of SEO issues. Instead of doing it yourself you selected WordPress.

    Now this is kind of a broad statement.

    WordPress takes care of 80-90% of SEO.

    When I say that, what I mean is the mechanics of SEO. And by that, we talk about how crawlable a website is.

    You would be amazed at how many sites throw up a big old glob of Flash or block a page with robots.txt so we can't even crawl it. So by using WordPress, you have already taken the first big step. WordPress is a fantastic piece of software.

    But there are a few things you can do to optimize it. I notice a person asked Tim what plug-ins he uses. So I threw this screenshot in.

    These are the (Wordpress) plug-ins that I use:

    and that is literally all of the plug-ins that I use. That is how good WordPress is. You don't need to modify it that much.
    • Akismet, already built in.

    • Cookies for Comments -- shout out to Dancha in Ireland. He does an amazing job of preventing spam. Basically it sets a cookie, and then when the spammer posts and they don't have that cookie, you are like, "Yeah dude. You are a bot. All you did was just post directly."I hesitate to tell people about this because it is so useful that if everybody starts using it the spammers will adapt, but you guys are cool, so I highly recommend Cookies for Comments.

    • Enforce WWW. Preference (Enforce www. Preference enforces your yes-www or no-www preference as defined by your Blog URL setting in 'Options - General.')

      So good. You don't even need to worry about it. All this thing does is it says, "Look at my preference." Do I prefer www.google.com or (non-www) google.com, whatever your domain is?

      It does a redirect so you don't have to worry about having your domain split between example.com and www.example.com.

      So this sort of stuff is fantastic.

    • FeedBurner Feedsmith, I like to use...

    • And WordPress Super Cache is a great plug-in.


    So the beauty of WP is that you don't need to do a lot of stuff. But before we talk about how you can rank higher in Google, we need to learn a little bit about how Google works, and it is not that complicated...

    Learn a little bit about how Google works:

    We crawl roughly in order of PageRank. That means the more PageRank you have, the faster you are likely to be found, the deeper we will crawl in your site, and the more often we will visit your pages to see if they have been refreshed.

    OK. Cool. PageRank-magic green juice. How do I get more PageRank?

    What is PageRank?

    PageRank at a 50,000 foot view is this. It is the number of people that link to you and how important those links are.

    So one of my favorite examples. Suppose you have a buddy from college. Suppose you have a blog and he has a blog. Suppose you have got 10 links pointing to your blog and your buddy has 20 links pointing to his.

    Who has more PageRank? Well, he has get 20 links. You have only got 10.

    But what if your 10 links are the New York Times, the LA Times, Reader's Digest, CNN.com, and his 20 links are all his buddies from college.

    So PageRank is not just getting as many links as you can. It is also how important they are.

    So having high quality content can really make a big difference. I promise I won't get more technical than this. It looks a little complicated. I will walk through it very quickly, but it is not as bad as it looks.

    Look at this page right here. These are links coming into one page. PageRank is at a page level and these are out links pointing to your blog. If you have got a bunch of links pointing to your blog, and your blog home page has a PageRank of nine, and you have got 3 out links, you more or less divide that nine by three and the three goes out on each of the out links.

    That is the basic idea of behind PageRank. If you look at the top one, this guy has a PageRank of 100. He has got a lot of PageRank and he has got two out links. So you take 100 and divide by two because you have two out links, and 50 goes to each one of those. That is literally the idea behind PageRank. It is that simple.

    Now in practice, if it really worked this way and you had a loop, PageRank would just keep cycling around forever and ever, and mathematically speaking, the world would blow up. You don't want the world to blow up.

    So there is a little bit of an additional thing, which is that PageRank kind of evaporates. It decays a little bit every time it goes across a link. But that is literally the idea behind PageRank. It is the number of links you get pointing to you and how important those links are.

    Avoid Backlink Obsession (BO).

    Now I always worry when I talk about PageRank, because a lot of people, as soon as they hear about back links, they are like, "I need back links! I need a lot of back links! I need 1,000's of back links from thousands of places!"

    This is literally something I found on the web. This person suffers from what I call BO. You do not want to suffer from BO, which is Backlink Obsession. This guy is saying, "I have 297 links with a PR7. This guy has only got 59 links with a PR6 and he ranks higher. It is not fair," blah, blah, blah.

    Don't get down to this level of detail. Think about it at a very high level. You want to have people know about you and you want those people to be reputable. So you can spend an infinite amount of time learning about SEO. But here is the 50,000 foot view.

    How does Google rank pages?
    You want to be relevant AND reputable.

    There is a tension between being relevant and reputable.

    Matt Mullenweg, he has got a pretty reputable blog. He has got good PageRank. He beats me. I hate that.

    He is like the number one Matt and I am like number eight.

    You think, "Can't you tweak it so you are number one?" No, we can't tweak it so we are number one.

    So he is the number one Matt.

    He has got a ton of PageRank. Suppose you are searching for a random thing like a medical condition such as ADD. If Matt Mull just mentioned the phrase "attention deficit disorder," and he is saying it in passing, like just a joke, like "Yeah, I organized this conference but I didn't spend a lot of time on it. I have got ADD. But it will be cool. We will have a good time."

    That is reputable. His blog is reputable, but it is not that RELEVANT. So another way to think about relevance is what you say on your page, and reputable is what people say about you and how they link to you. So you want to be both. You want to be on topic and reputable.

    So you don't want to just return pages that barely mention something in passing.


    So let's move to the middle chunk of this, which is,

    "How do I be relevant? How do I be reputable?"

    Relevance is stuff on your page; what you write, including the mechanics of how you write.

    Tim pretty much nailed this: If you do not love something, don't write about it. Life is too short.

    Google Wave launched a couple of days ago, and there was this huge thing on Tech Beam. Everybody is talking about this new Google Wave thing. There are so many articles.

    I saw where a guy was like, "Will Google Wave take over the world? I don't know. Here is the press release." Like literally two sentences and they he copies like four paragraphs from the press release. No one wants to read that! It is boring.


    You have to have something that you care about.

    You have to have something, whether it is cats, LINUX, transparency, Google, open government, search, you have to talk about something that you care about. If you are not doing that, you are not going to be doing as good of a job.

    One of the pieces of advice I give is to try to write often.

    And if you write often, if you write everyday, if it is something you really care about, you are going to get a lot of practice writing and you are going to write good stuff.

    SEO Tips: (Use) Keywords.

    Let's do a little exercise. Matt said earlier today that the theme of this conference is getting to know your neighbor. So we are going to do a little exercise where you get to know your neighbor.

    I am holding in my hand a little device. You might have seen them before. You stick them into computers. They store things. Maybe you put your presentation on it. You give it to a friend. She sticks it in her computer. Maybe you are proofreading a friend's paper and you take it. Maybe you put pictures on it. You have all seen these. This is not alien technology.

    Think in your head, if you were going to go to Google and you were going to type in what this is, prepare your search query, what is this? What is this device? OK. I am going to Google. I am going to go buy one of these. Turn to the person next to you and compare notes. Literally take a minute and say, "What would you search for on Google and what would I search for on Google?"

    OK, cool. Now you have gotten to know your neighbor a little bit. So let's hear it. What did you type into Google to find this? Flash Drive? USB drive? Thumb drive? What else? Retractable?

    So you think, "Oh yeah. This is a USB drive." Your neighbor thinks, "Oh no. This is a thumb drive." And the person on your right thinks, "No. It is a flash drive." And somebody might not even use the word "drive".

    So the takeaway is, if you were a blogger, think about all the different ways that someone can describe something. Think about all the different ways that you can naturally fit that into your post.

    Now I am not talking about saying, "Would you like to buy a thumb drive? If thumb drives are you, then you would like to get a thumb drive which is really good." We will see an example of that later on in the talk.

    Instead, think about ways to naturally put that into your post. "Hey! Buy a flash drive. I was using this one thumb drive that was really cool. It works via USB." I have used most of my major keywords in a couple of sentences and it still sounds natural. You don't have to stuff it. You don't have to be really unnatural.


    There is another thing, which is jargon mismatch.

    What (search terms) will your visitors type?

    A lot of times, if you are in a particular industry you are thinking about the words that people are going to use, and you don't think about what a regular user is going to say.

    For example, earlier this week we were doing a site review, and we were giving SEO advice to people who had sites. This was a site. This was pretty cool. This is from the University of California at San Francisco and they have a site about HIV.

    Now what is this? Oh my God! This is the home page! You land on the home page and you are like, "Recommendations for use of antiviral drugs in pregnant HIV-1 infected women for maternal health and interventions to reduce perinatal HIV-1 transmission in the United States." What is that?! I don't even know!

    Is this a technically good paper? Probably. I have no idea what the hell it is about! It is an editor's pick. Someone has selected this paper. It is important for some reason! This one is about Swine Flu. Is there something I need to know about Swine Flue and they are not telling me? I don't know how to translate it into regular English.

    Translate it into regular English. For example, I have seen the queries that people type. This is the sort of stuff that people type, right?

    "Do I have AIDS? I don't know!"

    So think about that. Think about, "OK. What are the things that you can do to type that will be normal?"

    Now the interesting thing is this site had a section called "basics". And if you clicked on basics, these were the things you saw.

    "I just tested positive. Now what?" That should have been the front page, right?


    It is obvious to us, but sometimes your own site can be like that. You are like, "Oh yeah, I have got great content! Yeah, this is fantastic stuff!"

    But a regular person is like, "What the hell are you typing dude? I don't even understand this! Is it English? I think it is English."

    So you would be amazed how much help you can get just from feedback, just from asking your friends or just from a regular person to sort of look at this and say, "OK. Cool."

    Brainstorm with the Google Adwords Keyword tool.

    Now there is another tool that you can use. And in fact, Tim mentioned it. Thanks for stealing my thunder, DUDE! But it is pretty nice. It is called the Google Keyword tool, Adwords Tool.

    If you search on Google for [Keyword tool], it is number one. Not because we hard coded it. We don't do that. It just ranks that way. A lot of people link to it.

    So I was doing this site review, and there was a site, icarkits.com, and they sell iPod car conversion kits, which is pretty cool. There main trophy phrase, if you looked in their title, was "iPod car".

    I went to the Google keyword tool. I typed in "iPod car" and I said, "Show me keywords related to "iPod car". Have you guys ever heard of this iTrip thing? It is an FM transmitter. So it is more like a $30 thing. It is to the $400 thing that they sell.

    But their trophy phrase showed up 550,000 times a month. People searched for iTrip 246,000 times a month. So here is this keyword right here where people are looking for information about iPods and cars, and you are ignoring them.

    I did [site:icarkits.com iTrip]. They didn't have the word on a single page on their site anywhere. If you don't have the word on your site, it is very hard for search engines to return that site.

    Sometimes we can. You can type in the word automobile and we can return if your page has the word car. We can do that a little bit. But if you don't have the word iTrip anywhere on your site, you are probably not going to rank for the query iTrip

    Now it turns out that these guys actually had content about the iTrip. They have an iTrip trade in program. So you send in your $30 iTrip and you get like 10% off on the $100 kit.

    So in the middle of the site review the guy edited his page. And by the end of the site review panel he had iTrip right there on the front page. He is starting to get more traffic already. So think about the niches and the keywords that you are targeting and put them on the page.

    Here is one thing that I recommend:

    I like to do a custom structure on my URL's /%postname%/.

    If your blog has p=123, you are missing out on an opportunity, which is that Google looks at a lot of different things. We look at over 200 things. PageRank is just one of them whenever we rank things.

    Other things that we use: things in the title, things in the URL, even things that are really highlighted, like h2 tags and stuff like that. So if your blog has p=123, you are massively missing out on opportunity to put a few keywords, not keyword stuffing, just a few keywords in your URL.

    So Mattcutts.com/blog/samplepost -- it works pretty well. If you want to throw in the date, feel free, but make sure that you put the title and the keywords in your URL in some way.

    Now here is a power tip:

    Tweaking titles, urls, content.

    I did a post where I completely, for a while at least, dominated the keywords, "how to change your default printer in Firefox on LINUX." I was number one. It was awesome! That niche was mine!

    How did I do it? Well, I made a good descriptive title, "Changing the default printer on Linux and Firefox."

    Notice that I changed the URL as well.

    So in the title I have got, "changing". In the URL I have got "change", because sometimes users type "changing printer" and sometimes they type "change".

    Now this is not spam.

    I am not throwing in a ton of irrelevant keywords. I am not even throwing in a lot of keywords. I am just throwing in one or two variants that people might type.

    No one is going to look at this post and say, "Oh my God! The title is a little different than the URL! Oh my God! He took out -ing'! Throw him in the clink!"

    That is not the way it works.

    But just by doing some simple things like having title and URL, and viewing them as separate opportunities to put a few keywords in, now you can rank for both "changing" and "change".

    Relatively simple, but a lot of people don't think about that level of detail.

    So if you are doing a post, it is worth doing the post, and then going to the Google Keywords Tool, think about the words you want to rank for, type those words in, make sure that those words are in your post.

    This is a little bit in detail, but you can also have your categories be good keywords.

    Don't just make your categories like "cool stuff". My categories are like Linux, Search, and SEO. So if somebody has those categories, they are like, "Oh, OK." Now I don't have to include the word "search" on every single post. It is in my category.

    If you are going to put keywords in your URL, like I showed, it is better to do dashes. So "my-keywords". Underscores can work. Dashes are a little bit better. But no spaces is pretty bad.

    Has anybody seen the site expertsexchange.com? Some people like it. Some people don't. If expert exchange were all one word ... You know it can be expert sex change. You don't want to rank for expert sex change. And if it is all one word, some people are like, "I read it a different way!" So put some dashes in there and then you can have separators. Search engines do look at dashes. They do look at separators like that.

    Now if you use underscores or if you have used spaces up until now, should you go back and change every single thing on your previous posts? Should you rename them and change all those old URL's to add dashes? No! Why?

    Because of Ferris' law: don't do things if they are not fun.

    Search engines do a relatively good job at making separators.

    But spend your time on good content. Don't worry about small things like that. It is just something to be aware of going forward in the future.

    You can overdo it.

    And finally, talking about relevance, we are talking about on page stuff. Don't overdo it.

    This was a site that put itself up for review earlier this week. Can you guess what it is about? It is about furniture. It is a lot about furniture. In fact, if you notice, this first paragraph is all one sentence.

    Let me just read the last half of that paragraph:

    "Manufacturing and offering for sale innovative modern furniture and antique wood made according to our valued customers' esteemed order and requirements of home furniture, home furniture, as well as office furniture for the use of indoor furniture and outdoor furniture purposes." Furniture, furniture, furniture, blah!!!! Furniture!


    Google doesn't say, "Oh my God! He included the word furniture 400 times in the post! It must be really, really relevant. It has got to be 400 times better than that other post that only mentioned furniture once!"

    That is not the way it works.

    After you have mentioned furniture once, two, or three times, we know you have got furniture on the mind. It is OK! You don't have to say furniture as every third word.

    You also don't need to bold it. Users don't like this, believe it or not. Other things that this site did. Rattan; you have heard of Rattan furniture. At some point they misspelled it as rotten furniture. Yeah, well, judging from the website, I don't know!

    So you don't need to do this.

    You can mention furniture two or three times and that is enough. You don't have to go overboard on it.

    So to sum up On-Page:
    Being relevant, being on topic, talking about the things you care about. Find something you care about, and as a result, you will write about it more often, which gives more material that search engines can find.

    And pay attention to the mechanics, some of the small things that I have mentioned, but don't overdo it. If you are reading it aloud and it sounds stilted, you are overdoing it. If you give it to a friend and you notice your friend is sneering or raising their eyebrow, you are overdoing it.

    So that is half the battle.


    Now let's talk about how you gain a reputation.

    How do you get to be more known? How do you get more PageRank and more people linking to you?

    Be interesting.

    Anybody ever heard of fake Steve Jobs? Has anybody bought the book? It is pretty good! I was like, "This one note gimmick cannot last for an entire book."

    It can! It is a lot of fun!

    I love this! He is like, "I fired that idiot Jerry Yang." I am like, "Whoa!"

    This guy is pretty mean. Now it turns out that this was actually Dan Lyons. He has got a pretty sweet gig at Newsweek now, so he did pretty well.

    Earlier this week, someone started a fake blog for Carol Bartz, who is the CEO of Yahoo. The first post, I was on the floor laughing so hard. I instantly added it to my Google Reader. I want to see what else they have to say.


    So being interesting is really important. If you are the guy who is phoning it in and you are like, "Oh, I want to rank on Techmeme or I want to write about celebrity news, so I am going to talk about John Mayer and Jennifer Anniston for the 88,000th time, and I am not going to add anything new to it, no new insight." Don't bother writing it. You want to be interesting.

    And again, it helps the more you write. You get practice. You get into the habit.

    Update often

    This is a blog by Sergey Brin who is one of the co-founders of Google. Did you know that Sergey had a blog? He does! He has written two posts!

    I have never asked Sergey about the blog. On one hand it is cool. He has written two posts.

    On the other hand, his last post was September of 2008. People are not going to Sergey Brin's blog everyday saying, "I wonder if Sergey wrote something new? Yeah!"

    But if Sergey is posting everyday or every week, people will come and check. They will come and say, "What is new with Sergey?" So you have to update often.

    Now this, I have to admit, is my favorite slide in the entire talk, because I am going to tell you the real, true deep secret of blogging, and that is Katamari. Has anybody played Katamari?

    What is Katamari?



    It is a Japanese game where you play the prince. The prince starts out and he has got a little Katamari that is five centimeters tall. And he rolls up things. He can roll up paper clips. He can roll up stamps and coins.

    Eventually he can roll up bigger stuff. He can roll up gum. He can roll up a wooden block. And when you are done, you have a Katamari hundreds of meters tall and you can roll up islands, and the Earth, and buildings. And you hear these people scream when you roll up the buildings. It is awesome! I love Katamari! I think a lot of people play it stoned. I play it perfectly sober. I do!

    The Katamari philosophy is this: start small. Start in a niche where you can do well.

    And that might be a very small niche. It might be the, "Change the default Firefox printer on Linux" niche. But then build up, build up, build up.

    Don't overreach. When you are the prince and your roll up in Katamari, you can't roll up a skyscraper the first thing. You have to get their gradually. If somebody tells you there is a shortcut where you can be the number one gadget blogger in three days, and you can be in Gadget and Gizmoto, laugh in their face and send them packing because it doesn't work that way.

    But one thing you learn in Katamari is you are always reaching. You are always trying to roll up bigger and bigger things. So if you want to be the world's best gadget blogger, start out with a smaller niche. Start out with a niche like, "OK. I am going to write about a particular type of phone." You know, Google Android, or Crackberry, or the Palm Pre.

    And then you can imagine embiggening, to quote the Simpson's, embiggening that niche. You are writing about more and more important things and bigger niches.

    And eventually, over time, people get to know you, and you are writing about important things, and people are sending you links and they are sending you things to review, and life is good. The Katamari philosophy works very, very well.


    OK. What else about gaining reputation? Oh, yeah. This is the only slide where I have like cool dissolves and stuff.

    Gaining Reputation

    There are so many other ways you can get links. You can provide a useful service.

    There is a law professor. His name is Eric Goldman and he is a "blawger". Have you guys heard of the "blawgers"? They are law bloggers.

    He writes posts about how people have Adwords trademark policy. And not everybody cares about that. But he has got his niche, and it is really useful, really insightful, because he is a law professor. He knows things that regular people do not know. So you can provide a useful service, things like a newsletter.

    Original research and reporting is huge.

    There is a guy who writes about search. His name is Danny Sullivan. He is very respected because he has written about search for 10 years.

    And one of the things he did was he just looked at, "What are the spam levels on Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail?" And for a month he tracked all of the spam that he got, which would be the most annoying thing in the world to do. But he tracked it. And at the end, at 30 days, he was able to say which service had less spam. It was Gmail. Woo-hoo! Yay! But that was great original research. Anybody could have done it. Anybody could have counted their spam folder and done that analysis.

    Have people heard of Louis Gray? He is a great blogger.

    One of the ways that he got to be known is he looked at his referrers. Referrers are your search engine logs. This is like web logs, where people are coming from, where they are visiting from.

    He just noticed some strange user agents like Read Burner or stuff like this. And then he was like, "What the heck is Read Burner" And then he did a blog post about it. And two days later, the people were like, "Yeah, we are making a totally new service. You found us out." And he did that like three times in a row.

    So just by looking at the bots that were visiting his site, he was able to do some really cool stuff. And from there, he just hustled his butt off, which I respect a lot.

    Lifehacker. Anybody read Lifehacker? I like to call Lifehacker productivity porn because you spend more time learning how to be productive than the actual productivity that you get. But you read about productivity all the time. It is so cool. Like Merlin Mann and these guys. The fact is Lifehacker saves you a ton of time because they have these really high quality tutorials and guides.

    Creative niche. If you have one good idea, that can carry you so, so far. Lolcats anyone? Rock on!

    I have made lolcats. F My Life. One sentence. You should seriously search for all of these on Google and add them to your Google Reader. It is like the best way to burn time in the entire world.

    F my life is just all these people who have sex and then their grandmother walks in and stuff. One Sentence is just like they write one creative sentence. It is really, really fantastic.

    Some people can draw. Penny Arcade, they can draw. XKCD, the guy can't really draw, but he is really funny and he knows a lot of science and technical stuff. He found his creative niche.

    Open source can be a fantastic way to get links and reputation. Write a good project and people will use it. Case and point, WordPress. Tons of people use it. WordPress doesn't need any PageRank. It has amazing amounts of PageRank.

    Live Blogging. Anybody Live Blogging this? All right. Cool. So you guys are probably going to get three or four links automatically while the rest of us are just sort of sitting back and enjoying ourselves, because you are actually writing about what is happening in this session. If you can make it to a session you can Live Blog it.

    If you are lazier than that, two days later you can say either you hated Word Camp or you loved Word Camp.

    People love lists, so if you give 11 reasons why Word Camp ruled...

    Create controversy.

    If you cry wolf too often, if you have too much negative energy, people don't like to read you as much, but it is something you can do. And Twitter, Facebook, Friend Feed; there are a lot of people who get to know all these people on various social networks and it can make a big difference.

    I had the pleasure of speaking at Word Camp 2007, and one of my funnier favorite lines was, "Should you do a podcast?" Everybody who is doing a podcast is probably downstairs listening to the other session.

    Make a Video

    The Litmus test I said was, "Should you do a podcast or should you do a video?" Well, put your picture up on Hot or Not, and if you are a six or higher, then you should do a video. If you are a five or below, then you should do a podcast.

    [laughter]

    I already said this was a very attractive audience, so you guys should all do video. The fact is, these days a Flip is a couple hundred bucks and you can make a video in two minutes, and it can be as creative as you want.

    Podcasts are fantastic.

    I would really recommend making videos these days, because it is not that much harder to make a video than it is to make a podcast. And a lot of people really enjoy just sort of watching this stuff. This one got 15,000 views in like a day, and we literally threw it up. This was one Tweet. It was like, "Hey, here is a video." We haven't even posted on the blog about this. It is really easy to do video and it can draw a lot of attention to your site. And in fact, videos tend to rank relatively well on Google.

    OK. I will whiz through this part. I do not want to sell you guys on anything. I use WordPress rather than Blogger, so I am not going to like say, "Google is the top. Always use Google. Go for Google." But there are a few tools that you should know about. I will show screenshots of the first three.

    Google tools can help.

    Google Website Optimizer.
  • So you have already heard about the idea of A/B testing. If you are really that into power blogging, you might want to try different templates and see if certain ones have better return on investment and if certain ones give you more conversion, and there is something to let you do AB testing.

  • You can get a free site search.

  • And here is a tip that very few people know that use AdSense: (Section Targeting)

    You can use these two tags to mark out the meat of your blog post. <!--google_ad_section_start --> and <!--google_ad_section_end -->.

    And then AdSense will target the meat of your blog post and it won't target all of the frilly stuff, the boiler plate, the archives, and all that kind of stuff.

    So if you use AdSense, I highly recommend that you add these tags around your post, because your ads will get more targeted, people will click on them more, and you will probably make more money.

    Let me show you a few quick screenshots.

    "Free" links - google.com/webmasters/ ...

    I did a post on my blog that a lot of people ended up reading called, "Free Links! How to get Free Links!" which everybody would like free links. We have something at Google.com/webmasters that will show you the 404's on your site and who linked to them.

    So for example, the link in purple, ie7/promo-page, which you seen in parenthesis; Jeremy Zawodny, who was a blogger at Yahoo and now he is at Craigslist, linked to my blog and the link was broken.

    Jeremy has got a lot of PageRank. It might be worth dropping Jeremy an email and saying, "Hey! Do you want to take that parenthesis off?" And now you have got a free link to Jeremy Zawodny because he had already linked to you. He had just linked to a 404.

    So this is a completely free service. You can use it and find out about all kinds of people who are linking to sites or pages on your site that don't really exist.

    One more quick thing about google.com/webmasters/. We will give you all kinds of crawl stats. So for example, this is how much time Google spent downloading pages on your site. You can see it took a huge drop down. That is because I changed my theme and it does better CSS handling. So you can see the amount of changes and the amount of stuff being downloaded. All this stuff is free. It can be pretty handy and help you diagnose issues.

    Google also lets you set whether you want to have www.mattcutts.com or mattcutts.com, which is kind of handy.

    Here is a quick tip:

    (Create)Evergreen content - Google Analytics.

    Anybody use Google Analytics? Here is something you might not know about Google Analytics. You can click in like settings and top landing pages and this will tell you which blog posts get the most visitors.

    This one about hacking your iPhone, anyone want to guess when I wrote that? 2007. I wrote this blog post in 2007 and it is the number six page on my site. What does that tell me? Maybe I should go back and update that post because everything in it is probably wrong. Or maybe I should write another one.

    Here is another one. One of my top ten posts is, " Three solid Gmail productivity tips." It was a total throwaway. I was like, "Oh, OK. People don't know this so I will throw it up." They love it! Maybe I should write five more Gmail productivity tips.

    So when you are sitting on a blank screen and you are thinking, "I really should blog something today. I haven't blogged in like two weeks," you can get some good ideas about what to blog just by looking at where people are already going on your page.

    What about bounces? Yes! So bounces tell you how often people land on your page and then leave. If people come from Digg, they come on your page and then they leave. So if you try to reduce the amount of bounces, that can mean more people on your site, which can mean more ads. It can mean more revenue. It can mean more clicks and all that sort of stuff.

    A very simple trick, which I haven't done on my newest template, is show related posts. Someone has just finished reading your blog. It was a great article. They have a warm happy feeling towards you. What do they do now? They leave. Why? Because you didn't give them anything else to do! Show them related blog posts. IF there is one blog post and they liked it enough to read down to the bottom, they might click and read some more.

    So that is like the simplest way in the world to reduce the number of bounces, which leads to more people on your site for longer periods of time.

    FeedBurner is kind of nice.

    You can tell where people are coming from, how many visitors and stuff you are getting.

    I have got about five minutes left, so let me just finish with some things that you should probably NOT do.

    Avoid shortcuts and scams.

    This is an email that I got in September 2008. It is, "Be a lazy Google millionaire!" Here I have been working at Google for nine years and I could have just filled out forms and collected my cash! If only I had known!

    If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Has anybody heard about this Google Money Tree thing? Consumer reports just wrote about them. The Better Business Bureau got 478 complaints about them and the last 460 haven't even been responded to.

    "Learn how to make $107,389 filling out forms and doing searches on Google and Yahoo."

    I call bullshit. This stuff is not endorsed by Google. It is incredibly spammy. What tends to happen is you pay $3.88 for access to something and you are secretly enrolled in a program where every month you are billed $72 until you opt out. That is what is usually going on with these money tree systems.

    So you see these things and people are like, "Oh you make tons of money! You can't help to make money! You are too stupid to tie your shoes and you make $107,000!" People still fall for it just because it has Google in it or it has Google on a potted plant. "Oh well it has got to be from Google!" No it is not from Google. Don't do this sort of stuff.

    Avoid paid posts.

    One thing I love about WordPress is Matt and Automatic in the terms of service for WordPress specifically say don't spam. Don't do things like paid posts. It pisses off your users. It tends to get caught pretty quickly. And right there in the terms of service, "Don't do things to third party sites that would boost the search engine rankings and that sort of stuff."

    Security: Please keep your WordPress updated.

    The one plea that I would make, the one ask that I would have, is please keep your WordPress updated. We have just barely got enough time to show an example of that.

    The American Nazi Party. Is anyone in here pro-Nazi? Any big fans of the Nazis in here? I didn't think so. I tend not to be a big Nazi fan myself, so I thought it was really funny. This is hilarious, by the way. Evidently, for Nazis, put in a bunch of eights and your comments are like way cool. Like, "Ah, you are a much better Nazi than me! You have eights in your comments!"

    But I thought it was hilarious, because if you go down to the bottom of the Nazi Party archives, oh, no! Maridia, Hoodia, Cheap Cialis, Cialis for Women. I didn't even notice they had Cialis for women! Ah, man!

    And so you have this dilemma.

    Who do you hate more? The Nazis or the hackers who have hacked the Nazi's website?

    [laughter]

    I don't know. It is an issue.

    But it happens, and the best thing you can do to try to avoid it is make sure that you have done good security yourself.

    So in particular, there is this really cool site called Save the Internet. They fight for net neutrality and all this sort of stuff. But earlier this week, if you went to blog/wp-content/uploads/authors/pletal.html, you can buy Viagra from this Canadian pharmacy. And it has got to be trustworthy. It is the number one Internet drug store!

    Thanks to WordPress/Automatic!

    It is very simple. WordPress has gotten much, much better security. There are automatic updates. All you have to do is take advantage of them. And if you are a super power user and everything you have heard up until now has been completely boring, you are like, "Oh, I know that," here is one power tip.

    Security tip: add .htaccess in /wp-admin ...

    What this says is only these two IP addresses are allowed to reach your /wp-admin. So when the hackers come in and they are trying to use some brand new zero data exploit, they can't get to your blog to hack it.

    If you search for like protect /wp-admin or htaccess, and I will put this up on my blog as well, it is a fantastic thing to say, "Yeah, you know what? Only I can get to my blog."

    AuthUserFile /dev/null
    AuthGroupFile /dev/null
    AuthName "Access Control"
    AuthType Basic
    <LIMIT GET>
    order deny,allow
    deny from all
    # whitelist home IP address
    allow from 123.45.67.89
    # whitelist work IP address
    allow from 123.45.67.98
    </LIMIT>  
    


    Let me close out by just saying a huge thanks to Automatic and WordPress.

    I was looking back at my talk from 2007 and I had like six things on my wish list.

    Three of them were already done without me even asking for them. Automatic updates for security, better protection for /wp-content/directory, and rel=canonical.

    I haven't even talked about rel=canonical because you really don't need to know about it. It is a standard that lets you say, "Given two web pages, here is the web page that should be the preferred web page in Google."

    And the folks at Automattic have basically built this in. It is already live on Wordpress.com. As I understand, in the core of 2.8 it is coming as well. So you don't have to know anything about it. All you need to know is that you will do better in search engines because you won't be dividing your PageRank between multiple pages.

    So the Automatic folks and WordPress folks have been fantastic about being receptive.

    That is it! -- MATT CUTTS

the end -- r


...

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here's what happens when Matt Cutts (and Sally Burke) tweet your URL
here's what happens when Matt Cutts (and Sally Burke) tweet your URL