Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) Google’s SEO Report Card

By | November 4, 2019

>>CUTTS: Okay, so if you’re watching this
video on YouTube, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Most people in this room already
know that. Google’s SEO report card is not about assigning “As, Bs, Cs or Fs” to individual
SEOs. So the tension in the room just went down about five notches. Instead, we said
Google gives a lot of advice, why have best practices? How much do we take advantage of
those best practices on our own website? The answers are a little bit scary and we published
them on our blog earlier today. Now there’s one thing that works in Google’s favor, which
is that we practically swim in PageRank. The fact is that we don’t do anything special
for ourselves, we don’t do anything unfair. But starting around 2002, we became one of
the most link-to domains on the web. When I dug into this, what shocked me was the simple
fact that Google, to the best of my knowledge, does not have any team that works full time
on SEO. I found that very hard to believe but Google optimizes for the user experience,
we tend not to think about how sites are going to look inside of search engines. In fact,
some Google properties come to me in my team, and ask for SEO advice. I don’t want to give
anything that its private advice, so a great guy in my team Brandon–Brandon Falls, made
an SEO Starter Guide. And that way, we can publish it publicly. When a property comes
to me, I can send them to the public information that everybody else gets. I wanted to show
you a really quick joke slide where someone said “What if Google optimized for search
engines?” Whew! I’m glad our website doesn’t look like this. The fact is that we optimized
for users and so even a small number of changes can help. Now what was the methodology of
our study? We took over 100 Google properties. We said “How do we score in terms of Meta
description tags, consistent internal linkage, title tags, all of those sorts of good stuff?
What did the results look like?” Not that great. In fact, only a third of the properties
even had a Meta description tag, that’s SEO 101. That’s a very simple way that you can
tell search engines how you want your snippets to show up in the search results. We didn’t
even have that. That’s like the very simplest thing you can fix. Here are three example
bad snippets: the first one is literally a legal disclaimer, the middle one was basically
empty except for a language, the bottom one we didn’t even crawl. It’s horribly, horribly
bad. But this is my favorite bad snippets, if you look at Google patent search, they
took the page from Google Book search, copied it and pasted it and never changed Google
Book search. So when you do a search for Google patent search, it looks like it’s for Google
Book search, again, a very easy fix. Now what is kind of interesting is something that’s
kind of hard to change is the internal linkage of your site, trying to be consistent. We
had a three way tie between, and
with a trailing slash, again, the sort of thing where our user doesn’t know what to
type. Here’s a really bad example, four completely different URLs all served up the exact same
content all on our web server. Again, this is a sort of thing where users don’t really
like that. Search engines have to sort this out, we do it pretty well. But if you can
do it yourself, it’s even better. Now the report wasn’t all bad, for example, Google
named its products pretty well; Google Book search, Google News. But on our title tags,
we tend to just put the product name, we miss out on an opportunity to include two or three
simple keywords that are white hat and completely descriptive. Oh! I’m a little sad about this
slide, less than half of the time, whenever you have the link from the logo; did it go
to the preferred URL that we actually wanted to have show up on our site? So let me just
show you a couple of examples, if you were to click on the link on Google Mobile ads,
it would actually take you to a 404 page, that’s not cool, on Google Finance, also another
404. We even have a tool on Google webmaster tools to show you what the 404’s are on your
site, again, a very simple fix, the sort of thing that you should correct. One of my favorite
weird things was an alt attribute that said “Go to “%1$s HOME”. What is this? Somebody
had a template were they were supposed to fill in the name of the product and they just
forgot, again a simple fix, the sort of thing everybody should do. Now it wasn’t all bad
news because we name our products pretty well, Google Book search, Google News, our descriptive
anchor text was pretty good, whenever you’re linking to your own site with internal linker
text, if you can do that with descriptive phrases, that’s kind of nice. One thing that
was weird if you’ve seen this viral video of a girl catching–getting caught cheating
with her boyfriend, this was a site link on Google Video. We actually have a tool to remove
bad site links and it’s the sort of thing were a simple SEO audit really would have
made a big difference. Now what were our key takeaways? I showed some embarrassing stuff,
but overall we weren’t that bad. It was still helpful to think about taking our own advice,
we took this SEO audit earlier today we put it live on our blog. So the takeaway for you
is that you can go to our webmaster blog, download it as of today, and not only laugh
a little bit at some of the stupid stuff we’ve done over 49 pages. But I guarantee you it
is very readable, you can also learn how to make some six–simple fixes on your website
to rank better in the search engines. Thanks very much.

14 thoughts on “Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) Google’s SEO Report Card

  1. Gavin Post author

    Thank you Matt – I'd love to go to the pub with you! Interesting and funny.

  2. Matt Cutts Post author

    @takeallfree I've been shaving my hair every week–that's why it has stayed short.

    T-shirts are incredibly comfortable, plus Google is a casual workplace. I can't remember the last time I wore a tie. Probably for a funeral. If you'll notice, for this talk I wore a polo shirt, which is a little more formal than a T-shirt 🙂

  3. emmo Post author

    Pagerank is still king. Not content. Not Metatags.
    Power goes to the powerful. This is the Google algorithm.
    Mom and Pop online businesses all died in the year 2001.

  4. hireava Post author

    You never failed to amuse me Matt! You always provide a very detailed information with some humors

  5. Neil Hunt Post author

    @rknxubm yes i mean it. i have been searching for a solution to build many back links for my sites. And i will recommend this seo software which is an auto pilot will make income monthly and yearly even you sitting idle, making me happy really :). if you wanna try just try now >->

  6. Rajesh Kumar Post author


    This is Rajesh, i have web site i want to develop my website, please give me latest seo tips for google

  7. Jake Pranger Post author

    I like the video man. I'm learning this stuff now as well. Is the hummingbird update affecting you at all?

  8. FamousOn Web Post author

    Google a guiding company for all SEO and this video is describing everything in details of SEO. Great Work.

  9. Sunnyvale SEO Post author

    petty cool stuff in its time, but some of those things we can still do today

  10. ADEL SEO Post author

    First time I heard about SEO Report Card.

  11. Majestic Travel With LARRY & UMEKA Post author

    Umm! I never heard of the SEO report card. I hope I get a good grade! LOl!

  12. Adrian Henson Post author

    I approve this. This particular video has been very helpful for me. Besides I want to mention that I utilize youtube to bring visitors to my site since I am a video marketer. Do you want to learn how? I'd recommend that all of you go to my channel and learn more information regarding what you can do to bring more visitors to your website. To your success!


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