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Relevance is the new PR. Ex-Member of Matt Cutt's Team Sings...

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by Djinn, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. Djinn

    Djinn Newbie

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    The original copy has already been pulled down, but you can see the cache here:
    http://webcache.goog...quality-team%2F

    Since cache only sticks around so long, here is the entire article:

    Quote
    An Interview with an EX-Member of Matt Cutts?s Search Quality team!




    [color=#04558B !important][FONT=Arial, sans-serif !important]73[/FONT][/color]
    in[FONT=Arial, sans-serif !important]Share[/FONT]
    </span>

    Today we have something special for the readers of JamesNorquay.com, I have an exclusive interview with Andre Weyher. I first met Andre at a Search Industry event in Sydney and was intrigued too see why some one who use to work with Matt Cutts had moved to Sydney, if he could possibly share any ?secret information? and also to talk about his new project which we will also talk over.
    http://jamesnorquay.com/an-interview-ex-member-matt-cuttss-search-quality-team/google-search-quality/
    Google-Search-Quality-Member
    Question 1: Tell us about yourself Andre, how long did you work in the Google Search Quality team?
    I?ve been in Google for close to 5 years, after spending 2 years in the AdSense and AdWords teams (and some shameless self promotion) I got the chance to join Matt Cutts?s Search Quality team. A great experience as there are much less people in his department and the experience and knowledge I got are quite unique. Matt is a great guy and the atmosphere in the team is fantastic, you get to investigate the deep and dark corners of the internet, keeping the search index clean from spam and blackhat SEO. It?s also great to see the exact other side of the coin now!
    Question 2: What were your daily roles in the search quality team?
    The teams main focus is fighting spam and keeping Google?s search results clean so that the user gets the best possible experience. This is a very important thing for Google if you think about it. Google?s entire earning model relies on the good quality of the organic results, if people didn?t trust organic, they would stop using search and not click on ads anymore. Everyone in the team gets a market or a specialisation. I was mostly busy with content quality and back link profile, making decisions on the quality of pages and the links pointing to them and if needed, applying a penalty based on the severity and nature of the violating behaviour. The job also entailed creating reports about the current spam ?situation? on a particular market.
    Question 3. What are your thoughts on the recent algo updates penguin and panda are more on the way?
    Absolutely, from what I have heard, there are still plenty of tweaks to come in the future. I think the message that Google is sending is very clear, they are fed up with people breaking the guidelines on an industrial scale and are coming down very hard on webmasters who do. Everyone knew that Penguin would be pointed at links, but I don?t think many people expected the impact to be as large as it turned out to be. At this stage a webmaster is out of his mind to still rely on techniques that were common practice 8 months ago. Purchasing links was always risky but resembled a game of roulette, you could get caught but many people also got away with it. Today it?s not a question IF you get caught, it?s merely a question of WHEN you?ll get caught. Not only this but take PR for example, getting a link from a high PR page used to always be valuable, today it?s more the relevance of the site?s theme in regards to yours, relevance is the new PR.

    Question 4. What are common trends you looked for to determine a spammy site?
    These can be divided into a few categories; On page signals like keyword stuffing, hiding things under the CSS or silly techniques like making a keyword rich text in the same colour as the background of the site. The second category would be content quality, it?s important to remember here that Google does not judge the nature of your content, only it?s authenticity. So any type of scraped, synonymised or obviously poorly written text would be a clear spam signal. The third would be backlink profile.
    Question 5. What are common trends you looked for to determine a spammy link profile?
    There are a good few elements taken into account here, like how many links are there in total? A very important one; what is the quality of the pages they come in from? Do the pages look ?real? or are they just there to host the links? What anchors are used? The commercial vs. non commercial ratio of the anchors. In reality it?s very easy to recognise a blackhat profile, all you have to do is imagine what anchors would have been used if the linking happened completely naturally and compare it with what is going on in reality. Anyone can do it, just think logically and keep in mind which keywords convert to money.
    Question 6. From your time in Google what are 3 on page tactics that you recommend?
    Very good question, on page tactics are often overlooked, while in reality they should be a key element in your SEO strategy. First of all, choose your domain name wisely, having a good URL can give you a head start in the race. Good domains are still expensive and for a good reason. Second, be very thorough about your basic elements like titles, descriptions and H1/H2 headers. People are so focussed on putting the most expensive fuel in their car (link building) that they totally forget about the basics like putting wheels on it (on page elements). Of course you can?t over-do it as Google now also penalises for over optimisation, so don?t putt more than 2 commercial keywords in your titles or Google will frown upon it. Third, and most important, focus on content quality. Try to work on your website as if SEO was not part of your plan, create content out of a sincere interest and enthusiasm for the topic of your page. This is what Google and your users want form you, I know it?s tempting to think about financial gain but remember that Googles primary concern is valuable information!
    Question 7. What are 3 off site (link building) tactics that you recommend?
    Off site link building has dramatically changed since the recent updates. Anything that you can do automatically or at scale putts your website at risk. So keep the following in mind; Link building has changed from an almost purely technical process into something that resembles a relationship management campaign. Building a network with owners of sites that are related to yours for example. If your website is about cheese production, reach out to people in the milk industry, like I mentioned before, relevance is the new PR. Second, don?t dismiss directories completely. I have heard people talking about directories being altogether bad and advise people to avoid them. This is not the case, good quality, moderated directories, or niche directories are still worth looking in to. Third, to stay focussed on quality of pages linking in to you, Google judges your link profile by the quality of pages linking to your site, getting 3 links from authentic pages will do much more than 1000 links from splogs, so invest your time into getting quality, not quantity.
    Question 8. Are there any other secrets or tips you can give to SEO?s from a search quality member?
    This is a hard one? There are many secrets in Google?s sauce. I am aware that this might disappoint you but what I tend to tell people is the following; if you want to please Google with your SEO, then forget about SEO. Google wants you to create a site as if you don?t intend to manipulate their algo, but as if you are doing it because your passionate about the topic of your site. If you really are, your content will be great and your target audience will love you, this will do the best possible SEO you can imagine. Apart from this, follow Matt Cutts on Google+ [​IMG]
    Question 9. What are your thoughts on the trend towards social in search is more social integration on the way?
    The change is definitely in the air, I think we have all seen signs of this happening already. It also looks like Google is moving towards more localised versions of search instead of a country wide version. Social will surely play a huge part in this. Integrating Google places into Google+ was a clear sign of the direction in which they are heading. I can only guess how it will look in the future but you can bet on Google+ being a very important part of it. I don?t think Google will let go of their social network any time soon so if you don?t have a profile for your site yet? don?t wait.
    Question 10. Tell us about your new project Netcomber.com, how can it help SEO?s?

    Netcomber is a brand new project that I have been working on, together with my business partner. We are planning to make it into the world best fingerprinting website. Our system uses over 3000 factors to calculate which websites are owned by the same person who?s website you submit. We use signs like account IDs, hosting information and even coding style to determine ownership clusters, so it will also show hidden relationships that normally would not be shown because of anonymization of data. Search engines always used this data in their fight against spam, checking the quality of a network, or even taking down an entire (spammy) owner cluster. The data was always internal only, we have made it external! SEOs can use it in many ways e.g. checking if a directory is of good quality (if the same owner has 500 of them in the same template, you might want to watch out), getting new ideas for potential linking partners, or simply keeping an eye on the competition and much more? Currently the tool is based on 20 million sites, in a few short weeks we will finish a crawl of over 200 million sites, so we are in BETA and the tool is free to use for now.
    Thank you to Andre for taking his time to answer these 10 search related questions.
    For more check out Andrea on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin....eyher/4/524/859
    And be sure to check out his new project Net Comber here: netcomber.com
     
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  2. DutchTrafficService

    DutchTrafficService Regular Member

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    100% absolute guaranteed bullshit.
     
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  3. kideze

    kideze Elite Member

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    Great info, a lot which has been already figured out by the great BHW members we have. The biggest takeaway is that you need to get relevant links from people that are in your niche or near it to rank better. These type of examples are everywhere on BHW and could be the big factor on why people rank 1st or rank 3rd.
     
  4. Boul Dous

    Boul Dous Junior Member

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    Interesting. He was holding back I Believe. The fingerprinting thing is a big surprise to me. Has anyone here been a victim to this technique from google or anyone? How would you know anyways?
     
  5. hotdude

    hotdude Newbie

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    Try reverseinternetDOTcom you'll get a load of data on competitors

     
  6. Djinn

    Djinn Newbie

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    I think it is about time I start to build my own private blog network for this very purpose. I already started using a few plugins that post to social sites, they appear to be doing the job.
     
  7. dubious

    dubious Regular Member

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    We've known that truly contextual links have been the winners for a while, non-contextual links are really more to make a backlink profile more organic.

    Think of it in a similar fashion to the Pareto Principle:

    A minority of your backlinks would produce the majority of authority (hey, that rhymes).

    But you still need link volume and link velocity to balance out do-follow/nofollow ratio if you favour do-follow too much, or a couple of profile links here or there that provide virtually 0 juice in a vacuum, but volumetrically make your website more justifiable to have those money links in the first place.

    Other than that, most of these comments are PR bullshit and absolute link bait ;P
     
  8. dubious

    dubious Regular Member

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    ^ Just want to add in regards to contextual links, the easiest way to contextualize a URL in your website is to use strategic internal linking to contextualize the link.

    For example, people in this forum always write advice like "Write xx unique articles for xx money site and xx Web 2.0s" but they rarely talk about internal article structuring on a website.

    A golden strategy is to use an article series, with H1 as money keyword (ie: "Social Media Marketing"), a Table of Contents which link to your H2 sub-headings (say 2-6 h2s per article. This number is arbitrary so test it for your self) in which the links in the ToC are domain.com/social-media-marketing#does-social-media-work-for-business

    You physically write a super article of say 20 LSI keywords in your sub-headings, but break it up into 6 articles in a series.

    So then your first article may contain 6 keywords including the h1, but each subsequent article in the series contains 3 to maximize internal pages.

    Each subsequent article links to the previous and next article, with a link to the money article in all of them. (Proper title text on all hrefs).

    This way, your silo structure for contextual articles would be as follows:

    Money Articles <--> Pages 2 <--> Page 3 <--> Page 4 <--> Page 5
    ^------------------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|

    When link building, you build an individual article based on a h2 heading, and build a backlink to the direct link:

    ie: domain.com/social-media-marketing/2/#does-social-media-build-brand-awareness

    This way, even if you do complete Whitehat Tier 0/Tier 1 link building, your master money link is heavily contextualised
    within your own website and any external contextual links is just gravy at this point.

    If your articles rank in some way shape or form for all your keywords (say you have 100 all up), then that would mean your main keyword would benefit from the bulk work. Then you can bookmark/wiki/comment to all hell with your Tier 2 links since all the hard work has already been done.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  9. ja1myn

    ja1myn Senior Member

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    I don't believe fully in that "relevance is the new PR" statement. I think it's a mix of both. When it comes to things like directories, it definitely is more important that the directory and the site be in the same niche. But as far as getting contextual backlinks on web 2.0s and guest blog posts and things like that, PR is definitely still a major factor by far.
     
  10. Getwhatchuwant

    Getwhatchuwant Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    There is some good takeaways here but PR is still PR so for instance if cnn.com features your website on their homepage you not only get traffic but I am certain you will get juice even if cnn is not necessary "relevant" to your keyword. Point is relevance is key especially since we are trying to get as many good links as we can, it makes sense in that regard but 1 good link from a major site is still worth its weight in gold due to the authority alone.
     
  11. trubnut

    trubnut Regular Member

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    This made me literally burst out loud with laughter ;)
     
  12. educatedfool

    educatedfool Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Okay, if they the search team is after blackhat techniques, then why don't they target official sites of those tools helping out in the process of BH SEO. I'm not against any tools here, since I personally prefer them sometimes, but when every webmaster know about many of those tools and the search team is after the technique, why not going after the tools.