Posts Tagged ‘matt cutts’

Why a Statement from Google's Matt Cutts Means It's Time To Get Serious About PR

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

The press release — a PR rep’s best friend. And in the early days it was the best method for businesses to get their message to the media.  But in the digital age, the focus has shifted.  It has become less about the message and more about the links.  Although the press release has become a staple of most medical Internet marketing strategies as a means of easily earning backlinks, a recent comment from Google’s Matt Cutts suggests its time to rethink your efforts.

If you analyze the backlinks of almost any surgeon or dentist you are bound to find a handful of links to press releases in their backlink profile.  While some of the releases may be meaningful, most are announcements about redesigned websites, new practice partners, or that shiny, new device they bought for their practice.  While these aren’t bad press releases per se, they definitely aren’t going to earn you or your practice much attention from the press.

In most cases these low-level releases are created for one purpose: links.  Admittedly, even Plastic Surgery Studios has been responsible for some of these less-than-stellar PR efforts.   However a comment from Google’s Matt Cutts in a recent Google Webmaster Help thread suggests these efforts may be in vain.  Amidst the discussion about the value of links in a press release, Matt wrote:

“Note: I wouldn’t expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.”

PR With a Purpose

With that said, many would turn their backs on press releases and treat them as a dead medium for online marketing.  But what they fail to recognize is that a good, newsworthy press release can earn a practice greater visibility both online and offline, as well as backlinks from outside sources who pick up the press release.  But in order for this to happen you have to do something newsworthy that will not only benefit you, but the press and, ultimately, the reader.

Take a step back and think about the newspaper, your local nightly news, or any other media outlet you regularly consume.  Then, think about your announcement.  Would it interest you if it showed up in your newspaper or nightly newscast?  If not, then it’s probably not press release-worthy.

Your website redesign? Probably not newsworthy.  Your website redesigned with an exclusive breast implant database that would allow patients to get up-to-date information on breast implant warranties, recalls, and the like directly from implant makers? Now that might be a resource worth talking about.

Moving Forward

The search engines are forcing doctors and dentists to, as Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive says, “Do real company sh*t.”  Links obtained easily through tactics like press releases, article directories, and the like will be harder and harder to come by.  It’s time to focus on doing things that real companies do.  Build relationships, add value, and deliver what your patient base asks for.

As with any content, your press release should serve your audience and offer value.  Charities, patient events, new offerings exclusive to your region, or any other announcements that will benefit the consumer is what you should aim to use press releases for.  You should always ask yourself: “If I were reading this about another business, would I care?”  If not, you may want to reconsider.

My Take Away from the Google JuneTune Chat

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Having not participated in the first Google Webmaster group chat I really didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for today’s session. A few of my colleagues at the office had participated in the first chat earlier this year, and felt it was quite beneficial so I decided this time to give it a try.

The sign up and sign in process were painless, but unfortunately Google had some troubles starting the session. After about ten or fifteen minutes of listening to what sounded like Darth Vader raping a cat over the phone, the session began.

Today’s session consisted of three main topics. John Mueller talked about Personalize Search, Maile Ohye discussed case sensitivity in the robots.txt file, and Jonathan Simon talked about how to remove indexed content from Google. The presentations were solid, but as a search marketer there really wasn’t too much take away from the 3 presentations. Perhaps the most useful and sometimes amusing information came from the Q&A section. With that said I have decided to outline the good and the bad from todays event.

The Good

  • Maile clarified that the way you present your data in the robots.txt file can make or break your site. The directories and filenames in the robots.txt file ARE case sensitive. By not paying attention to case sensitivity you risk duplicate content problems because as Google crawls your site it will see pageA.html and PAGEA.HTML as two different pages hosting the same content. I figured this might be a useful tidbit since the room was split in the poll 111-70 as to whether or not case sensitivity matters.
  • It was clarified that new websites are being crawled by the spiders usually within a week of existance, however linking can speed this up. Also mentioned was that Google’s index is refreshing about once a month.
  • The .com vs .everything else conspiracy was cleared up. Matt Cutts explained that .edu’s and .gov’s do not actually pass on any more authority than other domains. Also, .info domains have not be devalued as a lesser domain. Essentially Google says all TLD’s shall be created equal.
  • PR plays a critical role in how often your site is crawled. They went on to say that some news sites are crawled every 2 minutes by the search engine spiders.
  • Matt Cutts gave the “official” word on whether or not Google thinks that SEO has a future, and the answer is, “Certainly, as long as the SEO is whitehat.”

Here are some of the Questions and answers that stood out that I felt offered some good information or at least piqued the interest of the panelists:

Q: Hi Matt, Are there any guidelines available on keyword density we have pages that are about 1 single subject and the keyword density is quite high

Matt Cutts – 2:27 pm

A: Antony, you may not believe this, but we tend not to think much about KW density here at Google, b/c our algorithms handle it pretty well. My advice is to pull in an innocent/non-search friend and have them read the text. If they raise their eyebrow, …

Q: Does google differentiate between searches in lower case and searches with proper capitalization?

John Mueller – 2:28 pm

A: We may take this into account if we can recognize that it is relevant to the query.

Q: Will Google consider giving any incentive to webmasters/users who helps google to fight spam? Maybe some sort of point based system would be interesting..This will certainly motivate all the webmasters to come forward and help google to Keep Spam out..

Matt Cutts – 2:30 pm

A: Saad, I do like that suggestion a lot. Something for us to think about.

Q: Does Google support or plan to support hCard microformats?

John Mueller – 2:42 pm

A: I’m not aware of changes in that regard, but we are always open to new ideas!

Q: Why don’t you include actual search numbers in trends or kw selector tool?

Matt Cutts – 2:52 pm

A: I think we’re worried that some people could scrape or abuse that information. Personally I think it would be cool to offer better/more numbers or stats though. We’ll think about ways that we could offer crunchier numbers to people.

The Bad:

Here are some of the Q&A follies for your enjoyment.

Q: whats matts cats name?
A: I have two cats. One is Emmy (she’s a scaredy cat) and the other one is Ozzie. He’s a handful.

Q: I’ve got 3 cats,.. cindy, caty and penelopy..
A: cute

Q: Matt, I was going to ask you about your cat – I’ve got two Persians – is that cat grooming tool you posted on your blog as good as you make out?!
A: Pete, I wouldn’t recommend the tool unless I thought it was really good. I think it would work well for Persian cats, esp. because they have very long hair. 🙂

Q: Hi Matt! It’s me Zafar
A: Howdy! 🙂

Q: I just want to know since I am not breaking any rules anymore, is there a chance that I can expect a increase in my PR again? or would Google ignore it in the next update?I am not really a PR fan, btw.
A: Zafar, a reconsideration request would be the best place to do that.

Q: Mariya, I’m in Brazil and listening to the conversation via my cell phone – who’s paying for this international call???
A: Hi Wall-E, WebEx provides toll-free numbers for most countries. I hope you dialled the toll-free number and not the regular number (-:

Q: what does googlebot like?
A: milk and cookies!

Q: spam?
A: no thanks 🙂

Q: IS there a problem with URLs that end in .0 like example.com/seo2.0
A: I think this has been resolved.

Q: is position SIX a penalty?
A: Position 6 is always between 5 & 7. One site has to be at #6.

Q: Has Maile been on the Cranberry and Vodka yet today?!
A: Maile looks sober to me, Pete. 🙂

The unfortunate part of the Q&A was that a lot of the time was spent answering bogus bonehead questions that basically just wasted the time of the panelists. There is no such thing as a stupid question, but there is such thing as the proper time to ask a question. If you want to talk to Matt Cutts about his cat, see if you can catch up with him at a conference about it. Don’t waste the time of over 400 other people!

Sadly my question wasn’t answered.  I asked, “Is there a rule of thumb to consider when thinking about PR vs the number of links on a page and how many of those links will get some of the link juice passed on?”  This inspired by last Friday’s White Board Friday where Rand discussed how many links you should max out on based on it’s PR.  As a follow up I mentioned in the survey sent out by Google that they should answer the remaining questions in a blog post or group so that everyone gets a chance.  Obviously they could weed out any duplicates to shorten the list.

In conclusion I would say that the chat was a success and thanks to the Q&A actually offered some good information for SEM’s. Google announced that they intend to do more of these based on the success of the first two, and hope to hold them on a quarterly basis.  I hope they do.  While I didn’t feel this one was that informative, it definately has some great potential.