Matt Cutts: Google’s Moral Compass?
At SMX Advanced today, at the Y & A with Matt Cutts (moderated by Danny Sullivan), Matt was asked how he feels being the “moral compass” for Google. This was in the context of the money.co.uk hoax article.
For a complete transcript of the Y & A with Matt, check out Search Engine Roundtable’s post. (Excellent job by David Wallace)
Here’s how Matt responded:
Google PageRank: What is it Good For?
There’s been talk recently that Google has updated the PageRank for sites across the web: some are losing PageRank while some have seen significant increases. When it’s all said an done, it doesn’t mean a thing.
Sure, I look at it too. And, yes, sometimes as an SEO I obsess a little about it. It’s nice to know that a fairly arbitrary measure, the little green gas tank of trust, is getting full. More importantly, for savvier clients who have some measuring tools, and have enabled the PageRank function of the Google toolbar, is comforting for them to see their website get higher and higher in PageRank. Heck, I like to see it too; it gives me the feeling that Google is actually paying attention to my site(s) and rewarding/commending the work I’ve done for the website(s).
The PageRank toolbar gives SEOs important tips as to what Google thinks is important:
Cached Screenshot of your site.
Choose the “Text” only version of the cache to see what Google sees when they index your site. This is how you’ll know if you are being indexed and relevantly ranked for the keywords you’re targeting.
Backlinks to the page in question.
We all know that high quality, relevant backlinks with keyword targeted anchor text pointing back to you is essential.
But, in the end, your site’s PageRank doesn’t mean anything at all when thinking about organic search rankings. It’s pretty, it’s comforting, and above all, a high PageRank cultivates trust among visitors. That is, PageRank says to users that the information you have on your site is trustworthy, relevant, and could be valuable for the user. And, that, folks is what PageRank really does.
That’s what is so special about PageRank; users feel like the information they’re getting from your site is trustworthy and solid. I agree with Barry, focus on your site’s content and links. Because, after all, it’s about getting found through queries, making conversions, and getting your clients a nice ROI. If you focus on PageRank, it’s more than likely, everything else suffers. PageRank will come with better content and more high quality, relevant links to you.
Microsoft to partner with UW-Madison
Announced in late April, Microsoft will be partnering with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to open up an Advanced Data Lab, The Jim Gray Systems Lab, in downtown Madison. David DeWitt, professor emeritus of computer science, will be heading up the new data lab. Interestingly, the intellectual property derived directly from the lab will belong to Microsoft, but the students involved will retain the right to freely use the research results in an academic setting. While this is probably S.O.P. (standard operating procedure), as many pharmaceutical and oil companies garner the same bargain, it could certainly help Microsoft catch up in the technology arms race.
What the Lab Aims to Accomplish:
The lab’s primary focus in Madison will be to explore novel database system architectures that will be able to support massive data centers, which DeWitt believes could make research in domains like medicine and large-scale research more productive. New database technology could also dramatically reduce the cost of analyzing data. DeWitt said that at the core of Microsoft’s vision is the ability to give users real-time access to the most up-to-date data — even going beyond facts and figurers, but including new data types such as X-rays, videos and even spatial content.
Google Opening Up Shop in Madison:
Reported today, Google will be opening up a 5,000 sq ft. office building in Madison. Not much more is known at this time, but I have contacted Google about its plans for this office. I will update this post when I know more.
Follow-up From Danny Sullivan:
I reached out to Danny Sullivan about this, to see if he knew anymore about what the Google Office would be focusing on. Danny said, “Nothing offhand. They open so many offices and often there’s nothing that special about them.”
So that’s the word from Search Engine Land and Danny. It’s just another Pod for Google.