3. General on-site optimization. On-site optimization is a collection of tactics, most of which are simple to implement, geared toward making your website more visible and indexable to search engines. These tactics include things like optimizing your titles and meta descriptions to include some of your target keywords, ensuring your site’s code is clean and minimal, and providing ample, relevant content on every page. I’ve got a huge list of on-site SEO tactics you can check out here.
Because of the size of the actual web, the Google search engine uses an approximative, iterative computation of PageRank values. This means that each page is assigned an initial starting value and the PageRanks of all pages are then calculated in several computation circles based on the equations determined by the PageRank algorithm. The iterative calculation shall again be illustrated by our three-page example, whereby each page is assigned a starting PageRank value of 1.
Google will index this link and see that ESPN has a high authority, and there is a lot of trust in that website, but the relevancy is fairly low. After all, you are a local plumber and they are the biggest sports news website in the world. Once it has indexed your website, it can see that they do not have a lot in common. Now, Google will definitely give you credit for the link, but there is no telling how much.

To avoid undesirable content in the search indexes, webmasters can instruct spiders not to crawl certain files or directories through the standard robots.txt file in the root directory of the domain. Additionally, a page can be explicitly excluded from a search engine's database by using a meta tag specific to robots (usually ). When a search engine visits a site, the robots.txt located in the root directory is the first file crawled. The robots.txt file is then parsed and will instruct the robot as to which pages are not to be crawled. As a search engine crawler may keep a cached copy of this file, it may on occasion crawl pages a webmaster does not wish crawled. Pages typically prevented from being crawled include login specific pages such as shopping carts and user-specific content such as search results from internal searches. In March 2007, Google warned webmasters that they should prevent indexing of internal search results because those pages are considered search spam.[46]
Concerning broken link building, it can also sometimes be relevant to scan the whole domain (e.g. if the website is a blog within a specific niche as these often feature multiple articles closely related to the same) for broken external links using e.g. XENU, A1 Website Analyzer or similar. (Just be sure to enable checking of external links before crawling the website.)

Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines' algorithms, or by a manual site review. One example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices.[53] Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google's list.[54]


The Nielsen Global Connected Commerce Survey conducted interviews in 26 countries to observe how consumers are using the Internet to make shopping decisions in stores and online. Online shoppers are increasingly looking to purchase internationally, with over 50% in the study who purchased online in the last six months stating they bought from an overseas retailer.[23]
The internet was the little guy savior, simple sites could rank well locally. Sadly your company is in the process of destroying that. In this economy small business with zero page rank that are listed on page 22 of results, need to be found in order to survive. My customers are really suffering because of the work that is coming out of Google, it keeps getting worse. Their conversions are still good coming out of Yahoo and MSN and now Bing. They do not have the resources to produce blogs, forums, or $5,000 websites let alone pay for Adwords when they are just trying to pay rent and not a lot of people can do their own web production.
Game advertising - In-Game advertising is defined as "inclusion of products or brands within a digital game."[49] The game allows brands or products to place ads within their game, either in a subtle manner or in the form of an advertisement banner. There are many factors that exist in whether brands are successful in their advertising of their brand/product, these being: Type of game, technical platform, 3-D and 4-D technology, game genre, congruity of brand and game, prominence of advertising within the game. Individual factors consist of attitudes towards placement advertisements, game involvement, product involvement, flow or entertainment. The attitude towards the advertising also takes into account not only the message shown but also the attitude towards the game. Dependent of how enjoyable the game is will determine how the brand is perceived, meaning if the game isn't very enjoyable the consumer may subconsciously have a negative attitude towards the brand/product being advertised. In terms of Integrated Marketing Communication "integration of advertising in digital games into the general advertising, communication, and marketing strategy of the firm"[49] is an important as it results in a more clarity about the brand/product and creates a larger overall effect.
i.e. the PageRank value for a page u is dependent on the PageRank values for each page v contained in the set Bu (the set containing all pages linking to page u), divided by the number L(v) of links from page v. The algorithm involves a damping factor for the calculation of the pagerank. It is like the income tax which the govt extracts from one despite paying him itself.
The paper’s authors noted that AltaVista (on the right) returned a rather random assortment of search results–rather obscure optical physics department of the University of Oregon, the campus networking group at Carnegie Mellon, Wesleyan’s computer science group, and then a page for one of the campuses of a Japanese university. Interestingly, none of the first six results return the homepage of a website

Matt Cutts, it’s Shawn Hill from Longview, Texas and I’ve got to say, “you’re a semseo guru”. That’s obviously why Google retained you as they did. Very informative post! As head of Google’s Webspam team how to you intend to combat Social Networking Spam (SNS)? It’s becoming an increasingly obvious problem in SERPs. I’m thinking Blogspam should be the least of Google’s worries. What’s your take?


Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet. The Webmaster Central Blog has informative posts on improving snippets with better description meta tags18 and better snippets for your users19. We also have a handy Help Center article on how to create good titles and snippets20.
One more important thing to keep in mind is that this factor is just part of the story about what helps pages to be displayed high in SERPs. Yes, it was the first one used by Google, but now there are lots of ranking factors, they all matter, and they all are taken into account for ranking. The most essential one is deemed content. You know this, content is king, there is no way around it. User experience is the new black (with the new Speed Update, it will become even more important).
Search engines find and catalog web pages through spidering (also known as webcrawling) software. Spidering software "crawls" through the internet and grabs information from websites which is used to build search engine indexes. Unfortunately, not all search engine spidering software works the same way, so what gives a page a high ranking on one search engine may not necessarily give it a high ranking on another. Note that rather than waiting for a search engine to discover a newly created page, web designers can submit the page directly to search engines for cataloging.
One of the earliest adopters of Internet marketing in the world of Fortune 500 companies was the Coca-Cola Corporation. Today, this huge purveyor of soft drinks has one of the strongest online portfolios in the world. More than 12,000 websites link to the Coca-Cola homepage, which itself is a stunning display of Internet savvy. Their homepage alone sports an auto-updating social network column, an embedded video, a unique piece of advertising art, frequently rotating copy, an opt-in user registration tab, tie-in branding with pop culture properties, and even a link to the company's career opportunities page. Despite how busy that sounds, the Coca-Cola homepage is clean and easy to read. It is a triumph of Internet marketing for its confidence, personality, and professionalism.
This is the argument that quickly emerged about blog comments recently. Say I have an article on a blog with 5 links in the editorial copy — some of those links leading back to other content within the blog that I hope to do well. Then I get 35 comments on the article, with each comment having a link back to the commenters’ sites. That’s 40 links in all. Let’s say this particular page has $20 in PageRank to spend. Each link gets 50 cents.
This year, for the first time, Google stated that user experience would be a core part of gaining rankings for mobile websites. A poorer user experience would send your site hurtling down the rankings. This appeared to come as a shock to many in the SEO community and despite assurances that content was still king – many seemed to feel that this ...

Thanks for the clarification, Matt. We were just wondering today when we would hear from you on the matter since it had been a couple of weeks since SMX. I think we’d all be interested to know the extent to which linking to “trusted sites,” helps PageRank. Does it really mitigate the losses incurred by increasing the number of links? I ask because it seems pretty conclusive that the total number of outbound links is now the deciding metric for passing PageRank and not the number of DoFollow links. Any thoughts from you or others?
Many years ago, low-quality SEO firms loved to abuse the comments sections of blogs, forums, and news sites as a way to build backlinks for clients. This approach is pretty ineffective these days, as most reputable sites that are worth having backlinks on have responded to such abuse by making all such links 'nofollow.' While sites like Quora and industry-specific forums are great for sharing your expertise and raising your visiblity, you're not going to get any SEO value from them.
Excellent post! I’m reasonably savvy up to a certain point and have managed to get some of my health content organically ranking higher than WebMD. It’s taken a long time building strong backlinks from very powerful sites (HuffingtonPost being one of them), but I am going to take some time, plow through a few beers, and then get stuck into implementing some of these suggestions. Keep up the great work amigo. Cheers, Bill
This will give you an indication of how many times a search is performed in a month (low numbers are not very useful unless there is a very clear buying signal in the keyphrase – working hard for five hits a month is not recommended in most cases) and how much the phrase is “worth” per click to advertisers (e.g., how much someone will pay to use that keyphrase). The more it’s worth, the more likely it is that the phrase is delivering business results for someone.
Keeping up with the latest trends is a must for any business, but ignoring technology trends in the digital world is the matter of staying in business. Unfortunately, those trends (while easy enough to find mentioned online) are rarely explained well. There seems to be this mistaken idea that anyone who has an interest or need in the practice will just magically get the jargon. As we all know, that is one superpower that doesn’t exist in the real world.
One thing that has worked well for me lately that can work well (and may help with the infographic promotion) is surveys. Google Forms allow you to create a survey for free. Think of interesting questions to your niche and start promoting the survey (ask well known influencers in your niche to share the survey with their social followers to help with responses. Offer them a link as a contributor once the survey is complete). Once you have a few hundred responses, you can create a commentary about your findings (Google also puts the data into graphs). If you have enough responses and the information is interesting, get in touch with the same bloggers who helped push it out there to see if they would be happy to share the results. The beauty of this method is that if the results are interesting enough, you might end up getting a link back from a huge news site.
After adding your main competitors into Monitor Backlinks, use the metrics provided to determine which links are worth replicating. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to replicate all of them. All sites have bad links, even Wikipedia. You should only replicate the links that have a good authority. While not always the case, usually the more complicated it is to get a backlink from a website, the higher value it will have.

Many webmasters have more than one website. Sometimes these websites are related, sometimes they are not. You have to also be careful about interlinking multiple websites on the same IP. If you own seven related websites, then a link to each of those websites on a page could hurt you, as it may look like to a search engine that you are trying to do something fishy. Many webmasters have tried to manipulate backlinks in this way; and too many links to sites with the same IP address is referred to as backlink bombing.
In this new world of digital transparency brands have to be very thoughtful in how they engage with current and potential customers. Consumers have an endless amount of data at their fingertips especially through social media channels, rating and review sites, blogs, and more. Unless brands actively engage in these conversations they lose the opportunity for helping guide their brand message and addressing customer concerns.
When running PPC ads, it's important that you keep careful track of the specific ads and keywords that you're targeting. You can do this by using the Google Analytics UTM builder to create campaign URLs that you can use to track the campaign source, the medium and any keywords or terms that you might be targeting. This way, you can determine the effectiveness of any campaign that you run and figure out the precise conversion rate.
A variety of methods can increase the prominence of a webpage within the search results. Cross linking between pages of the same website to provide more links to important pages may improve its visibility.[47] Writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrase, so as to be relevant to a wide variety of search queries will tend to increase traffic.[47] Updating content so as to keep search engines crawling back frequently can give additional weight to a site. Adding relevant keywords to a web page's meta data, including the title tag and meta description, will tend to improve the relevancy of a site's search listings, thus increasing traffic. URL canonicalization of web pages accessible via multiple urls, using the canonical link element[48] or via 301 redirects can help make sure links to different versions of the url all count towards the page's link popularity score.
Most online marketers mistakenly attribute 100% of a sale or lead to the Last Clicked source. The main reason for this is that analytic solutions only provide last click analysis. 93% to 95% of marketing touch points are ignored when you only attribute success to the last click. That is why multi-attribution is required to properly source sales or leads.
Chris_D, great question. If you have a single product page that can have multiple urls with slightly different parameters, that’s a great time to use a rel=canonical meta tag. You can use rel=canonical for pages with session IDs in a similar fashion. What rel=canonical lets you do is say “this page X on my host is kinda of ugly or otherwise isn’t the best version of this page. Use url Y as the preferred version of my page instead.” You can read about rel=canonical at http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139394. Bear in mind that if you can make your site work without session IDs or make it so that you don’t have multiple “aliases” for the same page, that’s even better because it solves the problem at the root.

Try to publish periodically. Thanks to that you’ll keep your users. Naturally, it’s almost unreal to write masterpieces daily, but you must NOT forget about your users and please them with new information, if not daily then at least every week. Use an editorial calendar and try not to change it. Then you’ll produce new posts automatically. There will be no need for constant reminding.
Finally, it’s critical you spend time and resources on your business’s website design. When these aforementioned customers find your website, they’ll likely feel deterred from trusting your brand and purchasing your product if they find your site confusing or unhelpful. For this reason, it’s important you take the time to create a user-friendly (and mobile-friendly) website.
Thanks for the clarification, Matt. We were just wondering today when we would hear from you on the matter since it had been a couple of weeks since SMX. I think we’d all be interested to know the extent to which linking to “trusted sites,” helps PageRank. Does it really mitigate the losses incurred by increasing the number of links? I ask because it seems pretty conclusive that the total number of outbound links is now the deciding metric for passing PageRank and not the number of DoFollow links. Any thoughts from you or others?
Matt, this is an excellent summary. I finally got around to reading “The Search” by John Battelle and it was very enlightening to understand much of the academia behind what led to the creation of Backrub.. er Google.Looking at how many times the project was almost shutdown due to bandwidth consumption (> 50% of what the university could offer at times) as well as webmasters being concerned that their pages would be stolen and recreated. It’s so interesting to see that issues we see today are some of the same ones that Larry and Sergey were dealing with back then. As always, thanks for the great read Matt!
PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases. 
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