A lot of the mystery about SEO can be solved simply by getting the information straight from the horse’s mouth. Yes, that’s right! One of the best SEO resources comes direct from Google. Specifically Matt Cutts. For a few years he has been uploading very helpful videos on the GoogleWebmasterHelp channel on YouTube. There are over 300 in fact. If you haven’t subscribed to the channel, I recommend doing so. It’s personally one of my favorite resources and something I place the a lot value in.
The channel has a variety of different videos, but the ones that I like the most are the QNA videos done by Matt Cutts. In these videos Matt answers questions that people have sent in. Matt has an excellent way of explaining things. He often breaks things down in ways that everyone can understand. You can quickly tell that it’s important to him that his message is understood well. The videos are recorded in a very relaxed and casual setting which really allow you to concentrate and absorb the information being shared. Here are a few examples.
In the world of SEO, often you hear about link building. It’s an important aspect of SEO. It’s so important that there are a slew of products, services, and tactics that claim to help people with building backlinks. Some of these products may work, but it’s a safe guess that many do not. Most of the services are very expensive, and I suspect that most fail to deliver what is expected. Lastly, it seems that there are only a few tactics that are truly effective. That said, have you ever considered learning more about different ways to build links yourself? Matt Cutts has recorded an 8 minute video that talks about just that. Here is the video below:
What about keyword spam? Specifically using multiple versions of the same phrase and rewording it multiple times in your content? (i.e. SEO Hosting, Hosting SEO, Search Engine Optimized Hosting, Optimized Hosting For Search Engines, etc.) In other words, does Google consider it keyword spam when you target multiple variants of the same keyword phrase? The reason why people do this is because in most cases each variant can return different results in the SERPs. Let’s see what Matt has to say about that:
A couple of years ago there was a lot of interest with converting a standard WordPress blog into a DoFollow blog. Meaning, the nofollow tag is either manually removed from the code or a plugin is used to achieve the same result. The purpose is to reward people by passing PageRank in exchange for leaving a comment on your blog post. This is still done today. But what does Matt Cutts have to say about this? Let’s find out. Pay attention to the point made at 2:00 minutes into the video:
Have you ever wondered why it takes a long time for Googlebot to come back to your site to reindex it? I have personally played around with this a few years ago and jokingly have called this Training the Googlebot. In other words, after Googlebot crawls your site, a short period later it will return to check for new content or changes in existing content. Over time, if new content isn’t available, or if the existing content hasn’t changed, Googlebot will stop visiting as often as it did before.
Knowing this, I “trained Googlebot” to visit many of my sites quickly by controlling the flow of new content being published. Meaning, if I wanted Googlebot to index new content FAST, I would train it to believe that my site was busy simply by published new content very often. The result ended with new content getting indexed within minutes of being published. A great example of a site that has a fast recrawl rate is Digg.com. New content on Digg will get indexed almost instantly. A great of a site that doesn’t get recrawled very often would be an old GeoCites webpage –if they still existed of course. Here’s what Matt Cutt has to say about Googlebot recrawl rates:
These are just a few of 300+ videos that can help you with solving the mystery with SEO. Many of these videos have less than 10k views. I really find that strange because the information is extremely valuable. The great news about the low view counts is that you will be learning from a resource that many other people don’t know about. This gives you an advantage over your competition. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, I strongly recommend subscribing to the channel. It’s a very valuable resource to have if you’re interested in learning more about SEO.
Out of the box WordPress is very search engine friendly. However, there are a few adjustments that can make WordPress a search engine magnet. Over the next few weeks I am going to be publishing a series of posts that will teach you how to optimize your WordPress blog for search engines. No advanced skills are needed to make these adjustments. This first post covers permalink structures and the All in One SEO plugin. If you have any questions, or need assistance, you’re invited to share them in the comment section below.
Step One: Permalink Structures
WordPress default permalink structure creates URLs that look like this:
By default WordPress uses web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them, however WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives. This can improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links. But the real bonus is SEO.
Google and other search engines look for keywords in web page URLs. It’s not known exactly how much the keywords in the URL influence ranking, but in my experience it appears to hold a lot of weight.
Here is a video of Matt Cutts talking about keywords in URLs.
Adding keywords into WordPress URLs is a quick and easy SEO enhancement. In your WordPress Dashboard scroll down to the bottom of the page and look in the left column for the Settings section. From there you will see the Permalinks section.
Here’s a screen shot:
You can adjust your permalinks to display the day and name, month and name, numeric, or custom structure. Using the day and name setting adds the full year, month, day, and post title into the post URL. Using the month and name setting adds the full year, month, and post title into the post URL. The numeric option doesn’t add the post title into the post URL.
Custom structure is the option I choose. The reason I choose the custom option is because I don’t like to display the year, month, or date in the URL. I only want the keywords. In the past I have used this code:
Lately, I have started using this code:
You can learn more about using WordPress Permalinks here.
Here are some additional references that may help you:
Michael Torbert’s All in One SEO Plugin has really stood the test of time. I have personally used this WordPress plugin for many years. The plugin gives you the ability to customize the structure of your article titles, optimize the titles of your category, tag, search, and archive section, and auto generate meta descriptions and keywords. There are many additional features that you should learn about as well. I recommend paying a visit to Michael Torbert’s home page and learning more about the All in One SEO Plugin. Michael also has a PRO version which might be worth checking out. Personally, I have never used it.
Here is a helpful video tutorial I found on YouTube that will teach you more about the All in One SEO plugin and how to configure it:
By the way, the All in One SEO plugin is one of my personal favorites. Stay tuned for the next post that will offer you more information on optimizing your WordPress blog for search engines. All of your comments, questions, and even suggestions are welcome. You’re invited to share your feedback using the comment form below.
Yesterday I wrote a post explaining about how Matt Cutts allowed the Google Webmaster Central team shave his head. I realized that some of the valuable information in that article that I wrote may have been hidden with all the excitement with Matt having his head shaved, so today, I want to bring the hidden jewels from yesterday’s post forward into this article. Specifically, I want to take a closer look at the 100+ short videos Matt Cutts published on YouTube and explain some things further that will help you understand more.
Should File Extensions be Used in URLs?
As most of you know, I am an avid WordPress user. Unless I am building from ground up, I use WordPress for all my website projects. That said, when I configure the permalink structure, I use the /post-title.php extension rather than /post-title/
The video provided by Matt Cutts confirms why.
Are Dates In URLs Search Engine Friendly?
I have debated about this for a few years with friends. I never believed that it was search engine friendly to include dates in URLs, if anything I felt like it placed important keywords too far to the right, causing some risk of them getting truncated in the SERPs. Matt Cutts explains that it’s a good idea to have a date stamp somewhere visible on your page for people, but it’s not something required by them, nor does it have any influence on ranking.
When I build niche sites that generate revenue using AdSense, typically I write 50 articles for the site and upload twenty of them immediately. From there, I use the WordPress scheduling feature to stagger the remaining 30 over the course of about three months. After watching these TWO videos, I suspect that doing this is unnecessary. Instead, I can now upload and publish all content in one session, and then use the extra time towards building quality backlinks.
How many pages can Google index from a single site?
Can I publish 100+ pages at once?
For now, that answers quite a few questions for me, I am sure that you’ll find this information useful as well. If you haven’t done so already, now would be a great time to subscribe to my RSS feed. As I drill down and watch more of Matt’s Grab Bag videos, I’ll piece more of them together here as I have done in this article today. Stay tuned… and in the mean time, you should take a look at his videos too. Be sure to check out the entire Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel as well.
You might be interested in learning how to become a better webmaster. Fortunately for you, Google has created a service called Google Webmaster Tools. It’s a free service which allows webmasters to check the indexing status and optimize the search visibility of their websites. Specifically you can use Google Webmaster Tools to check and set the Googlebot crawl rate, view lists of internal and external pages that link to your site, discover which keywords people search to find your site, view stats about how Google indexes your site, submit a sitemap.xml file, generate and maintain a robots.txt file, and set your preferred domain to www or non-www. If you haven’t started using Google Webmaster Tools, you need start today.
That said, if you’re interested in taking your first step towards becoming a better webmaster, I recommend reading the Google Webmaster Tools blog and subscribing to the RSS Feed. Secondly, I recommend subscribing to their YouTube Channel and investing time towards watching their videos. Just announced today, they have 154 videos with nearly 11 hours of footage generating one million views.
In celebration of this achievement, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, honored a lost bet by allowing the Webmaster Central team to shave his head and upload the video to their channel.
It happens that Matt Cutts has been using Google Moderator to compile a list of the most popular questions about how to become a better webmaster. The end result was over 100 videos uploaded into the Webmaster Central YouTube channel in a play-list called Matt Cutt’s Grab Bag. If you’re serious about wanting to become a better webmaster, then I recommend that you invest time into watching these videos. That said, what advice, tips, and tricks do you have towards becoming a better webmaster? What are some other resources that can help too? Share what you know with everyone in the comments below.
Knowing and understanding what people think when they visit your blog or website, and what impressions they have is critical towards building, growing, and maintaining your site. As a site owner, it’s a good idea to open lines of communication with your site visitors. Doing so, enables you to receive vital feedback, which in return can help your site maintain forward direction.
Last year Google released a service called Google Moderator. Matt Cutts made an entry on his blog about it, and six months later the White House even found a use for it. Since then, not much else has been said about the service, nor have many people been utilizing it. Personally though, I think Google Moderator is an excellent tool, and one that you should put to use on your site right away. It’s an excellent instrument where everyone has the opportunity to submit ideas, ask questions, or even offer suggestions. From there, individuals can vote the submitted feedback up or down, which will then display the most popular topics based on total vote count.
Google Moderator is a perfect system for finding out what people think about your blog or website, what you can do or stop doing to enable growth, and what topics or questions could be answered or covered towards continuing to help people that visit your site. All in all, it’s all about feedback, and using Google Moderator is an excellent way to get the best feedback from people who visit your site.
What’s more, Google Moderator can be used to create a feedback system as simple or as intricate as you want. It can be a system that allows site visitors to express their opinions about things, or if you’re a blogger, it can be used as a system that enables you to receive material for covering future topics. To get a general idea of how to use Google Moderator, check out the series called Ask a Google Engineer. Try creating your own series and share it here with everyone in the comments.