Getting closer to Google

August 7, 2006 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

Right! In my efforts to try to understand what happened to our website’s google ranking, I finally stumbled on Matt Cutts. Matt is a very friendly engineer at Google, who was the lead developer behing Google SafeSearch. Anyway, he’s set up a blog and the best part about it is that he creates these really cool short videos where he will sit and answer people’s questions about search stuff. And in the space of an afternoon I feel like I have been given an intimate guided tour of a whole lot of Google.

So, what have I learned so far? Well, firstly, something worth really listening to is Matt’s discussion about Google Terminology. The main thing that comes up in this is that Google had scheduled two major data refreshes for the 27 June and the 27 July. Matt suggests that the algorithm updates that are affecting these data refreshes are taking into account how much a site appears to be optimised for search engine ranking. If the site appears to be following the rules too cloesely, it may not rank so well. He suggests that if your ranking has changed drastically, it might be time to site down and rethink the content on your site and try to gear it more toward your visitors and less toward what you might think the search engines are looking for. I’ll keep this in mind, but at least its a clear explanation as to why and when our site changed so dramatically in Google’s ranking.

Another thing that I was concerned about was Google Analytics. We’ve been using these tools for close on a year now, and although the tools themselves have been extremely useful, we were becoming concerned that somehow Google may be using this data to rank our site. And that this information could result in negative ranking. Fortunatelty, Matt has set us straight on this as well. As far as he knows, and certainly in terms of their Spam prevention tools, Google does not use the Google Analytics data for their own search tools.

All in all, there is a load of useful information that Matt Cutts is willing to share with the public, and I have to say that although I’ve got frustrated with Google Search recently (and admittedly have been splitting my search queries between Google and Yahoo now), Matt has given me a load of insight into what goes on in a search engineer’s head. Go over to his site and learn a bit!

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