The Search Police: Matt & Duane’s Excellent Search Engine Adventure #14B #Liveblog

On the screen a Bill and Ted video plays. As a phone booth lands in the Circle K parking lot Bill says “I think there’s something afoot.” Now this is a fun scene: Danny is dressed as time traveling companion Rufus, Matt and Duane are dressed as Bill and Ted. They’re all carrying electric guitars. “Bodacious”, “excellent” and “Wyld Stallyns” are bandied about throughout the sessions.


Matt Cutts @mattcutts is going to show us bad things to avoid. To start, Matt just showed us some Albert Einstein style spamming and asked us not to cover this publicly in any way. That’s hard to swallow as a liveblogger here. Sorry, guys.

Continuing on with things to avoid. Reverse cloaking is when someone tries to cloak to Google and does it wrong. Use Fetch as Googlebot to see exactly how your site is seen by Google. Live Spam Stream is a fascinating look at real, live spam. Doorways, keyword stuffing, gibberish, auto-generated text, hacking, comment spam. Check out How Search Works and other tools Google does to give you knowledge about how your site is treated by and seen by Google.

Duane Forrester @duaneforrester is next. He starts with a story about getting familiar with a domain’s history before you think you know all about the property. He recommends that you shift from thinking about a query (a single action) and think about search sessions (a collection of related actions over time).

Mark up your content. Help them understand what it is. When they understand what all the pieces are they will deliver it more effectively.

Prepare for mobile. Move in the next 12 months from having the conversation about HTML5 to doing it. They aren’t sexy convos but they’re necessary for engaging searchers.

Evolve as search evolves. New devices demand different search experiences other than links. Anything could be search – a voice, a picture, a gesture, sound. Bing is building the universal interface for search.

Avoid shortcuts. Example, syndicated content. They can see the pattern and will ignore it or worse.


Pay attention to the details. Stay focused on the big picture. Importance is relative. No item is unimportant (content, social, user experience, link building, SEO). Are you doing usability testing? It’s critical.

Target your optimization. Organize work around high value areas first.

Encourage more sharing. Create lists. Use hooks. Participate in communities. Share others’ info/posts. Ask questions.



Q: Isn’t Disavow just reporting yourself to Google as having done wrong?

Matt: At the point that you’re using Disavow, you’ve already been working on the issue so this isn’t going to out you.

Duane: It helps us understand what the intent of a webmaster is. It’s an opportunity for an incoming SEO to deal with something in the organization with legacy.

Matt: Disavow, using it wrong examples: 1) Disavowing specific links? Just disavow a whole domain. 2) Text file, one URL per line.

Danny: SEs are going more toward a trust model. If you don’t have anything to hide from G & B, you don’t have anything to hide from their tools.

Q: Can you tell us what the most important Internet marketing factors are for search engines?

Duane: I’m not saying that the order of things Bing uses to value your site is content, social, user experience, SEO, etc.

Matt: Content and user experience are his recommended top priorities.

Q: Links still have more weight than social signals?

M & D: Yes

Q: In personalized results social can have a heavier weight? What’s the deal with Google +1s?

Matt: I’d hate to give a definitive answer on this. We don’t generally factor in Facebook shares since we don’t crawl Facebook, unless it’s posted somewhere publicly.

Duane: They may show results that have a lot of social shares and likes. They look at these signals in aggregate.

Q: When’s the next Penguin update?

Matt: Are you talking about incremental or a big launch? We don’t worry about what to number it or what to call it. They’re working on the next generation of Penguin. The next Panda update is going to launch eval this Thursday, so it might come out Friday or Monday.

Duane: We don’t have a barnyard of animals.

Q: What’s the next thing you’re working on?

Matt: Iterations of Penguin and hacked sites.

Q: Why is map ranking different than organic?

Matt: If you look at local and maps we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve been working to improve, perhaps integrating with Google+ might be a way to disentangle bad identities. If you have any specific data points to pass on, please share them.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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3 Replies to “The Search Police: Matt & Duane’s Excellent Search Engine Adventure #14B #Liveblog”

This was certainly a most excellent presentation.

I love how they continue to downplay social shares when there is compelling evidence that they often carry as much weight as links. Although they do not crawl Facebook private profiles, they can still detect the shares, tweets, and likes of a page as a signal.


“shift from thinking about a query (a single action) and think about search sessions (a collection of related actions over time). ”

What does that mean, exactly?

Hey Allen, Duane was talking about the mentality we apply to SEO and suggesting that you will be more effective if you think about search as a process rather than a single action. Searchers typically do a number of searches on the journey to an answer or transaction. As marketers we want to be present along all the steps of this process so our brand or product can be top of mind when the searcher hits the end of the funnel. Consider the keywords you’re targeting. Does your list account for the iterative, multiple-search process? Understand the many mindsets of searchers and try to address them all in your robust marketing targets.


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