Matt Cutts (“The Google Guy”) spoke at an industry meeting a few months ago, and as reported by Search Engine Land, there was news in what he had to say. Here are the most important points to note, in our opinion:
- Spam reports now get 4 times as much priority as before in the spam queue at Google. If your competitors are using spammy SEO techniques, it can’t hurt to report them. (Your competitors can report you, too, of course, so remember to avoid black hat SEO tactics yourself.) And if you find really spammy web sites like link farms and MFA sites showing up for your keywords, by all means report them to Google.
- Users are more likely to click on the first link in an article as opposed to a link at the bottom of the article. He suggested you put your most important links at the top of the page. They may not count more for SEO purposes, but will help in driving visitors to click on the links, especially call-to-action links that encourage visitors to buy.
- Google will be looking at why exact domain matches rank so well. For example, if you have a site at www.blue-widgets.com it may rank too well for the keyword phrase blue widgets. Expect the importance of keywords in your domain name to be reduced. We’ve always encouraged different criteria for choosing your domain name.
- When doing Keyword research, start with keywords your customer base is likely to use, and avoid industry jargon. The rule of thumb is called Ask 10 Taxi Drivers (meaning people NOT in the same business as yours).