Matt In Conference Land: Social, Transparency and Penguins

Matt Cutts loves conferences. It appears that as the public face of Google’s search team, he doesn’t miss a chance for a relentless cross-examine in front of a wide audience. I guess there’s something about being candidly grilled that feeds lil’ Matt fetish needs. That’s a good quality to have (for a captive soldier).

But we’re not here to talk about Matt Cutts’ mommy and daddy issues, but about the things he actually said. On yesterday’s sunny morning (August 15th), Cutts attended a panel at SES San Francisco where he shared some of his thoughts, which correlatively reflects Google’s search team thoughts, because he’s just that cool. Okay, maybe not that cool but a pretty nice guy nonetheless.

The panel also included Incisive Media’s Mike Grehan, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan and WebmasterWorld’s Brett Tabke, which probably made it the nerdiest panel of all time (although I’m considering to promote Danny Sullivan to first lieutenant geek after his epic rant about link building).

SES San Francisco Panel

The Penguin and Panda War Zone

Almost immediately after the session began, someone shot the question everyone were craving to know the answer to: “What the fuck is going on with the Penguin update?” (or something like that). In response, Matt said something very ambiguous that the search team is still working hard on iterating the Penguin and the updates will be “jarring” and “jolting” in the near future.

What does it actually means? I mostly can understand from that blurry statement that the Penguin update formula has yet to stabilize and we would likely to see (and feel if you are a site owner) significant Penguin-related rankings fluctuations. In fact, that’s aligns with some meaningful movements which already occurred recently (mostly on the weekends) and captured by search weather services.

Unlike the Penguin, Matt said that the Panda update is well-understandable by now and being refreshed periodically on a regular basis (about once a month). Just as a reminder, Google announced on June-July search updates list that new data have been incorporated into the Panda algorithm. So I guess the Panda-front isn’t so quiet too…

Social Signals? No, Not Yet

When being asked about the importance and impact of social signals on rankings, Matt repeated his old statement from couple of months ago that social signals have yet to become a considerable factor for rankings and links totally still rules even though they sucks (I’ve added the last suck part myself).

However, Matt also said that he thinks social signals will have a much greater affect in the future and they are experimenting in this area. Not surprisingly, Matt referenced particularly to Google+ and the +1 button as the social indications and restated that they still don’t carry a lot of weight.

More Transparency

Transparency was also an issue Matt addressed several times. He stated loud and clear that Google took a strategic decision to become more transparent but then someone from the audience said something like “Oh yeah? If you really want to be transparent then reveal your algorithm!” (to the applauds of the cheering crowd).

{Begin Rant} For all those who cheered and clapped their hands moronically, I just want to say that you are bunch of idiots! I don’t know if you realize that, but there are actually also dark forces in the SEO world which will clearly abuse the algorithm! So unless you want scams, frauds and shitty sites arising to the top, please shut the fuck up. {End Rant}

Back to Cutts. Matt talked about the recent messages disarray and agreed that boilerplate pattern messages without specific practical reference or advice aren’t helpful (and fucking confusing, me saying). Therefore, starting from the next few months Google will also try to offer more useful pragmatic messages, so webmasters would know what exactly is the problem.

Oh, and one last thing. Matt had a *special announcement* that Google “Search Quality” team has been renamed to the “Knowledge” team. Okay… To be completely honest (and transparent) Matt, you can call yourselves the “Mountain View’s Transgenderly Challenged” team, no one really gives a shit…

Photo: @BruceClayInc