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December 17, 2008

SEM Synergy Extras: My Interview with Matt Cutts

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Over at SEM Synergy we wanted to close out the year with style and substance. Today on the show I talked to Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam Team and an all-around authority on Google guidelines and practices.

People like hearing from Matt because he’s an open and principled spokesperson representing the most popular search engine on the market. Matt’s a regular at all the search marketing conferences, chiming in during Q&A if he’s not on a panel himself. He’s a master at walking the line between giving away the keys to the Google kingdom and lifting the mystery from the black box called ranking. I may not have squeezed any secret info out of him during our interview, but there are certainly a number of nuggets there for the harvesting.

My favorite takeaways came from Matt’s thoughts on the future of search and the Internet. Some of these he’s mentioned before, like cloud computing and mobile search. Others, like his new focuses for spam fighting in 2009, I haven’t seen or read about yet. Here are a few of my personal picks on what Matt said that you should know about.

2009 will be a big year for mobile. Yes, another big year for mobile — but for real this time! It’s not that the last several big years for mobile were hoaxes, but rather that we’ve been building to this point for a while now, and the time is finally upon us. The Pew Internet Project, an initiative of the Pew Research Center, released The Future of the Internet III report this week and the verdict is in. By 2020 (and maybe even before that), mobile devices will be the primary connection tool to the Internet. This is a prediction that has rightly scared a few people who realize that this could blur the line between work time and personal time even further. Matt’s concerns lie elsewhere though, focusing on how to make search useful on a small screen and on things like the progress of speech to text, machine translation and face recognition technologies.

The role of SEOs will be broader in the new year. Matt says that the uncertain economy will push SEOs to take on new skill sets in order to offer clients the most helpful services possible. This is a point that he also made during his PubCon interview with Mike McDonald of WebProNews. Bruce Clay agrees. As the value of rankings as a metric of SEO success drops, the need to provide more rounded Internet marketing services rises.

The biggest spam issues in 2009 are international spam and hacked sites. The spam that’s out there is also more malicious than its predecessors. Hackers and crackers are breaking into sites through vulnerabilities that most users are not aware of, and Google employees are now stepping up to the plate to cut down the breaches and boost education efforts. He says that if a Googler notices that someone is using a hackable version of WordPress, he may drop that webmaster a line to let them know how to patch it. Spammers beware!

Check it out for yourself on WebmasterRadio.fm or SEMSynergy.com. Thanks for coming on the show, Matt!

A quick programming note: Next week’s episode of SEM Synergy will be a rerun featuring Mike Moran, co-author of Search Engine Marketing, Inc. We’ll be back with a fresh new episode to close out the year on the 31st with guest Barry Schwartz giving us the best of search in 2008.

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One response to “SEM Synergy Extras: My Interview with Matt Cutts”

  1. Cybernaut SEO International writes:

    Any detailes as to the specifics of international spam will be much appreciated. Do you have any more nuggets on this?



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