Matt Cutts On SEO Rockstars

This just in:

Matt Cutts has agreed to come on SEO Rockstars with me and WebGuerrilla next Tuesday (January 31, 2006) at 4pm PST.

Let’s start gathering up questions and rants for him 🙂 Feel free to post in this thread until we get off our asses and get the SEO Rockstars blog redesigned and fully launched.

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  1. First of all, let me say that I enjoy SEO Rockstars very much. Its an excellent show and highly entertaining.

    For Starters it would be nice to hear Matt’s opinion on the “Google vs. The Bush Administration” topic. He mentioned very little in his post and I think it would be interesting to hear how he and other Google employees feel about the subject.

    Just a thought.

  2. This is going to be fun…

  3. What is Matt’s take on the V-E SEO contest – does “sandbox” apply to terms that never were indexed before, how important are keywords in the domain names (majority of current top-10 listings have V-E in them), what happens if the black-hats “report” a site for spam (how does Google look before it shoots?) … and since ALL of the competitors are now linking to his non-www domain, what will his Page Rank end up being?!? 😉

  4. Wait a second, I thought it was my chance to rant and ask other people questions?? 🙂

    Don’t bother asking me government/china-ish type questions; that’s outside what I should discuss. But SEO and pretty much everything else is fair game. 🙂

  5. I promise to give you time to rant to your heart’s content 🙂

  6. Ask him if he proposed to his wife by telling her she was “canonical”.

    In all seriousness, good booking guys and I’ll catch the podcast.

  7. And these damn wrong number dialers.
    What the hell do we do about them?

    I say we shoot them like dogs!

    What movie?

  8. grasshopper says:

    matt, good on ya’ for coming out to play. i’m sure todd and greg will be fair with you. ish.

  9. All other things being equal between sites except size, does the larger site rank higher? Naturally larger companies have larger sites. I see the larger companies showing up first in both the retail and industrial areas and I think this has to be the reason. Does being big automatically make you better? If this is true do you think it is a good thing or will the algo be changed so the small guy can compete?
    It was certainly much more fun when just being smarter than the other guy could get you to the top!

  10. BigDaddy rollout…..

  11. – How can I help identify my content that is not appropriate for kids to prevent it from popping up for them in SE’s.

  12. BillTheCat says:

    As the author of Googles safe search, I think you should be practicing lines such as

    “Senator: I can not recollect”
    “Congresman: not to the best of my memory”

    Because a day on the dc hotseat may be in your near future.

  13. When can we upload pages from multiple domains under one account in the bulk-upload function of Google Base?

    Lots of talk about canonicalization lately; Does it really matter if I have multiple versions of my home page:,,, etcetera if I am ONLY linking to one version within my internal linking structure, and most of my incoming backlinks are going to the same version? Do I really need to redirect all other versions? Can’t Google figure out which one is the “right” one?

    Is there a limit to the number of links Googlebot will follow on a page? In other words, should we break up the HTML sitemap on our larger sites into multiple, smaller sitemaps, or is it OK to have hundreds or thousands of links on that page to our internal pages?

    What is Google doing about the benefits some sites get from a viral increase in links from those spammy screen scraping websites that just show search engine or directory results for certain key terms with AdSense all over the place? I have noticed my rankings jump up when this phenomenon happens to one of my websites. Is this something we should be embracing, or should we try to keep it from happening? Will we be penalized if too many of these Adsense Spam Sites are linking to us?

    One of my clients is a content distribution company – We buy and sell content online. Right now all of the content we sell is kept offline, while we keep our own online library of content that’s not for sale. We are discussing the option of monetizing the content we have for sell while it’s sitting on the shelf. Could we put the content we plan to sell online and JUST TAKE IT OFF once someone purchases it, or would that have a negative impact on the value of that content for the purchaser? Using the noindex tag would defeat the purpose in this case. We’d rather just keep it offline if it’s going to make the content less valuable to the buyer.

    Aside from being a navigational issue and a sign of poor site architecture, I want to know if 404 errors are factored into your algorithms. Does a site that gets a relatively large amount of 404 errors (say, from just one or two files, such as the favicon.ico or an image that was removed a long time ago, yet never taken out of the preload script) suffer in rankings as a direct result?

    Do you still consider h1 and h2 tags worth adding to a site that just uses div tags or other font attributes instead? Does an H1 tag still tell your algorithm what that page is “about” or has it been abused so much by spammers as to be almost or totally ignored?

    If Googlebot sees the same footer text at the bottom of every page on a website, do the keywords in that text get ignored? Should we be taking the time to customize our disclaimers for the keywords on each page? What about the anchor text on our text-based links at the bottom of each page (the ones | that | look | like | this). Should we be changing that throughout the site so it’s not so repetitive?

    If we have content on our website that would make a good press release to go out at places like PR Web, should we take the time to rewrite it first, or will Google know by the backlinks on that press release that it’s OUR content? So far we’ve been rewriting them for fear of some “duplicate content filter” that would cause us to stop ranking well for those pages. What is the best practice for marketing our good content through Electronic PR?

    Please answer this with a “yes” or a “no” – Is there a Duplicate Content “Penalty” ?
    Please answer this with a “yes” or a “no” – Is there a Duplicate Content “Filter” ?
    Thank you for assisting in this quest for answers. Feel free now to elaborate. J

    Should I use a 301 redirect on an old domain of mine – which I no longer use – to one of my new domains if the old site has nothing to do with the new one? The justification would be that I paid for the domain, and it still gets visitors, yet I no longer offer that product / service. Instead, I want all of those visitors to know about this new product / service for the remaining time that I own that old domain.

    How long do we have to keep the old site up after redirecting it to a new site? How long does it take Google to give the old site’s backlink and/or age credit to the new site? Once the old site is finally taken down and the 301 no longer exists, does the new site lose that backlink and/or age credit, or is it permanently transferred even after the old site is no longer registered or hosted? What if someone else picks up that old domain when you let it go?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I’m sure Google could have a 24-hour hotline open and the lines would be full non-stop. But many of us have the same questions, so hopefully you can kill a thousand birds with a hundred stones.

    Kind regards,

    Everett Sizemore

  14. Will XML Sitemaps ever become useful again in terms of being a give and take between Googlebot and SEO companies?

    What is Google doing to improve its spidering capabilities? Why do Yahoo! and MSN seem to have Google beat when it comes to showing newly indexed pages? When will Google catch up?

    Does Matt think that Google is spreading itself too thin by trying to extend itself to so many different applications (i.e. Maps, Books, Analytics, etc)?

  15. Does Matt have to go through any dark allies on his way to the radio station?

    If so he may need to remove his pocket protector and not look at his shoes as he walks through them

    Does this signal a potential move to the “Dark Side” by Matt?

  16. Here’s another one for you Matt – talk about 301/302 redirects. Yea, I know per the spec which one *should* be used for temporary/permanent redirects, but there is FUD out there that you can ‘trick’ Google by doing temporary redirects until a new domain comes outa the sandbox.

    Ditto for the silly folks who are redirecting to Google.Com, they get a PR10 page, and then the pull the redirect … and sell links to unsuspecting folks who think they are getting major link mojo … although there is so much snake-oil in the SEO^H^H^H link selling business, maybe this ain’t that unfair.

  17. What’s the best way to move from to and have the smallest amount of impact on a websites ranking and organic SERP traffic.

  18. >BigDaddy rollout…..

    Ditto. Better yet, if what you’re showing today on the ips is it, go ahead and flip the switch now.

  19. Hey Oilman, why don’t you get Matt to perform his favourite Rolling Stones song…. now that would really make it SEORocktars…


  20. Can black hatters hurt your domain? (Google wash, Google Bowling etc.) Your (Matt Cutts) blog was Google washed by a black hat team but fixed rather quickly, I’m afraid it will not be so quickly to fix for us non-Google-staff …

    Reason is that I think I might maybe win the V-E contest but fear that black hatters will smash my domain …

  21. Ditto Mumbles on the size question. Does size always equal relevance? It seems Google thinks so.

    Also – please ask him to comment on the responses on his blog to his question about what Google could do in the next year for webmasters. Particularly:

    1) Portal for all the myriad google services – too many places to go to for the things we all use


    2) Some reporting back to webmasters about potential problems on their sites that may be causing penalties and a chance to fix them.

    Awesome show – can’t wait!

    [p.s. feel free to plug my domain LOL]

  22. Why does the Google UK homepage still after many years, default to results from the web, and not results from the UK?

  23. Does Google use the data collected with the Google-Toolbar as Ranking factor?
    Why does Google ignore Spamreports from germany?

  24. Looking forward to hearing from Matt. Here’s a simple question that might help me and a lot of others:

    When old pages that have 301 redirection are removed but then appear again in the index should you use URL removal AGAIN, ignore this, or send a note to the search team, or?

    *example: = The appears in index but it should NOT. Yes it has 301s, it excludes Google with robots.txt, and this appears to be causing a severe penalty since Feb of 2005. (50k daily visits then to 500 now)

  25. All other things being equal:
    If one website uses H1 tags and the other uses CSS to format the text in a way that appears to be identical to the eye, which website is more likely to rank better?

    If I reformat my H1 tags with CSS to change the size, etc… will that negatively impact my ranking?

    Does Google weigh the amount of traffic a video receives from being embedded into websites when ranking popular videos? Does freshness count?

    What factors are most important when evaluating how images are ranked for a given query?

  26. Question for Matt Cutts –

    “Do you think that Google as a company has considered seriously enough the ethical dilemnas of attempting to create artificial intelligence?”

  27. Why is G still penalizing sites with great content, but with some pages that are similar? Is it because G THINKS that ALL sites having pages that are similar are spammers? If so, a hard look is warranted, still.

  28. If I’m really not up to anyhing fishy, and staying white hat legit as an seo/web developer/web host, must I really go through the pain in the neck and expense of hosting myself and my customers on a few different servers? I’ve read quite a bit saying this is important, but doing so seems like THEN I’m trying to hide something.

    I host about 130 domains, and I do various degrees of SEO on a couple of dozen of them, and I want to give my clients every legitimate advantage. I also want to my own SERPs to do well, of course.

    Might things really improve if I were to move a few of these key domains off my own server, and set up separate hosting accounts at a few different IP blocks?

    If so, that seems ridiculous in light of the fact that I have my own server, and would be like trying to TRICK the SE’s into not knowing the truth.

  29. How does the duplicated content filter exactly work?
    When will copied content influence my ranking?
    Where (city) will the german google engineering center be opened?

    Is your honorarium really higher than the honorarium of Larry Page ;-)?

  30. Ask him what he really feels about people like ME, YOU and the Monkey

  31. Larry and Sergey only make one dollar a year in salary.
    Where can I send my donation so they can have a pizza and beer?

  32. >> Where can I send my donation so they can have a pizza and beer?

    Google Inc.
    2400 E. Bayshore Pkwy
    Mountain View


  33. Three major questions I want to ask.

    How much influence does Page Rank have in determining the SERPS?

    How does google treat links that are redirected through a script? I.E.

    What factors does Google look at to determine if a site should be in the sandbox, and how does Google decide it should come out of the sandbox?


  1. Matt Cutts on SEORockstars

    Matt Cutts will be joining Oilman and WebGuerilla on Rockstars this coming Tuesday at 4 PM specific – should be a GREAT show. Be sure to tap into the chat room and be prepared for a good old time!If you have any questions you would like asked – Post them

  2. […] After all of the bashing and hijack-attempts from the seo angels, angels Friesen and>Boser have interviewed Matt Cutts and the topic of the contest came up. Matt is a stand-up guy who doesn’t let himself get lured into games of politics being played in the seo world. […]