30 SEO Tips from the Matt Cutts Videos

In this post, we are going to provide an SEO’s summary of all the Matt Cutts videos. This is done in rough chronological order. Note that we are going to itemize only those items that might affect your site implementation in a direct way.

This means that we are going to include little information on Data Center updates, Supplemental Results, and updates from SES, even though these are discussed by Matt in various videos. We are also leaving out advice such as “develop good content”, even though we agree with it heartily. This is just the stuff that affects implementation.

Release Date: 7/30/6
Qualities of a Good Site

1. Make your site fully crawlable. One idea is to use a text only browser (such as the Lynx browser) and make sure you can crawl the entire site.
2. Google decides what description text to display for a search query at query time, and picks the description that best matches the query.
3. If you want to disable the DMOZ description for your site, use the “NoODP” metatag.
4. Stated that they favor the bold tag slightly more than the strong tag. This was recanted in a later video.

Optimize for Search Engines or Users?

5. Google does not penalize sites for coding errors, as they are too common.

Some SEO Myths

6. OK to operate more than one site, provided that the content is substantively different. This is true, even if there are common code elements, such as Javascript elements, and CSS.
7. Sneaky Javascript redirects are a problem.
8. Launching Sites will millions of pages will raise a flag and likely be a problem. Launch more softly, perhaps with thousands of pages at a time. That this is an issue was later confirmed in the Robert Scoble post on Matt’s blog (make sure you read the comments too).

How to Structure a Site

9. It’s OK to acquire a related domain, and simply 301 its existing links to a new site. Emphasis is on related. Don’t try this with unrelated sites. Note an example of this is the Amish GoKarts site.
10. Google takes a hard stance on cloaking. Don’t do it for any reason. This includes re mapping pages with too many parameters to simpler URLs. Solve this in your code.
11. In addition, if you want to do A/B Testing, do this on pages that can’t be seen by Google.

Static v.s. Dynamic URLs

12. Your URLs should have no more than 2 or 3 parameters on them.
12. Keep your parameters short. Long numbers may be interpreted to be Session IDs.
13. Geo targeting using IP delivery is OK, because you are treating the crawler the same as the user.
14. Official cloaking definition: Delivering different content to the Googlebot than the end user.

Does WebSpam Use Google Analytics?

15. The Google WebSpam team does not look at any data from Google Analytics.
16. If you run a porn site, and you want to be filtered out so you don’t show up in Safe Searches, the best way to flag this is in the keyword metatags.
17. Putting links in an option box is a bad idea.

Lightning Round

19. Google treats the strong and the bold tags the same.
20. Google treats the em and italics tags the same.
21. Google considers content to be duplicate if it’s an exact copy, or “too similar”.
22. Translated versions of content are not considered duplicate.
23. In the case of Canadian and US sites with minimal differences, they will pick one to show in the results.
24. Google does not weight blogs differently than web sites.
25. .gov and .edu links to not provide an inherent boost. They are weighted the same.

Reinclusion Requests

26. The best way to do a recinclusion request is through Google Webmaster Tools.
27. You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to identify some of your problems, such as sneaky Javascript redirects, Doorway pages, and hidden text.
28. Get clean (fix all your sins) before submitting a Reinclusion request.
29. Include in your Reinclusion request something that reassures Google that you will sin no more.

Google Webmaster Tools

30. You can use the “Preferred Domain” feature of Google Webmaster tools to indicate whether you prefer that Google represent your site as http://www.yourdomain.com or http://yourdomain.com. It also will pass link credit for link to the non-preferred version of your domain to the preferred version automatically. However, Matt says it takes weeks to take effect and you should leave your canonical 303 redirects in place.

Matt also recorded several other videos that cover other aspects of the search space for which we extracted no hard core implementation tips. These are:

  1. 7/31/6: Supplemental Results
  2. 7/31/6: Google Data Centers
  3. 8/7/6: My Tips for SES
  4. 8/23/6: Data Center Comments
  5. 8/28/6: Recap of SES San Jose 2006
  6. 9/6/6: Crawl Dates in the Google Cache
  7. 7/31/6: Google Terminology


  1. says


    It is very kind of you to create this very important blog entry.

    It is becoming increasingly hard and confusing for one to know what Google is exactly looking for these days to give a good ranking position to a website.

    this blog entry will help any website owner and webmasters to get clarification about what Google really wants so as to improve website ranking and traffics.

    I will recommend your blog to my friends to visit to benefit from this important posting.

    Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *