I SPENT A FEW HOURS in Dublin's Googleplex to hear Matt Cutts' take on "How Google Works" and took away four thoughts that I will add to the Web Analytics, Social Media and Media Writing modules at Tipperary Institute where I work as a lecturer. Based on the event's Twitter chatter, I may elevate all four main takeaways to Final Exam status. The Dublin Chamber of Commerce arranged the well-attended event and Matt Cutts did the assembled group a big favour by bringing the warmest day of the year to Dublin during his visit. That personal feat also earned Matt a Dublin sunburn, something many Irish yearn to obtain.
An important note on the takeaways listed below the break: some of the commentary is mine, informed by current practise, while others are all Matt Cutts'. You can tell the difference by listening to the pocket audio recording that accompanies this post. If you're subscribed to my blog using Google's handy Listen application, you'll hear the background rumble of the warm weather air conditioning in the meeting venue.
First Takeaway: Reset page/post titles in the URL. If you blog, you may have the opportunity to make a headline separate from the URL of the written page. It's relatively easy to do with Wordpress and I've occasionally edited a Typepad post to get a more powerful URL for a blog post. If you write for a newspaper or broadcaster, you should ensure your software can produce URLs with hyphenated post syntax.
Second Takeaway: Write often. A frequently updated site attracts regular crawling by Googlebots and that could result in higher quality being awarded to the site which means a higher Page Rank. Matt did not explain how to configure a page to show activity through new comments. If that's your workaround for producing new content, you need to read SEO boards to ensure your comment streams are truly producing new and discoverable content on your site.
Third Takeaway: Build a reputation. Matt cited this incentive because if you have a good rep, people will cite your work and link to it. Matt suggested performing a useful service, offering tutorials, establishing a creative niche, giving away code, doing live blogging, making interesting lists, creating controversy, socialising in real events, or making (compelling or viral) videos. However, none of these tactics will enhance a website's standing unless established sites point to the target site.
Takeaway Four: Use cool tools. You could fault Matt Cutts for delivering a talk that was too basic or for trying to make his presence more attractive than the well-appointed tie that he wore. That considered, it's easy to follow his recommendations and to deep dive into Google Analytics, to open up Feedburner's tools and to subscribe to Google's Webmaster Video Channel. Personally, I like Matt Cutts the man and I enjoy his contribution to This Week in Google more than any other voice. He's just as personable when running from side to side in a presentation.
I appreciate being able to sit in a proper seat during Matt's talk and hope the Dublin Chamber considers offering the expert voice of Avinash Kausick to an upcoming lecture about improving the search engine standing of online assets.
Direct link to Matt Cutt's talking about "How Google Works": http://podcasting.ie/best/mattcutts.mp3
Ian McLeary -- "Practical tips on Google Search from Matt Cutts", 24 May 2010.
This post was sent mail2blog using Nokia E90 O2-Ireland Typepad service in the green of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Updated with MP3 and Amazon link using Android Typepad editor.
Avinash Kaushik -- Web Analytics 2.0 ISBN 978-0470529393. After 50 ratings, this paperback gets a five-star rating.