Matt Cutts was the Head of Google Webspam and the Google mouthpiece on all things SEO for nearly six years. Although he may be taking a much-deserved hiatus (which may be permanent), he left marketers with over 500 videos giving advice on SEO and other online marketing tactics. Some of these videos date back to 2009, but believe it or not many of them are still relevant today when it comes to SEO. It’s true that SEO best practices have changed dramatically over the last six years, but there are a few throwbacks that can help remind you of the basics and give you some classic advice on navigating your way through your SEO efforts.
Do site load times have an impact on Google rankings?
April 28, 2009. Back in 2009 Cutts explained that the problem with load times is that when Google cannot reach your site it will not be able to rank your website properly. Cutts adds that load time may be more important in the future for rankings, however. Now in 2015, load time is a huge ranking factor because it allows for a better user experience. You can learn more about load time here.
What’s a preferred site structure?
March 6, 2009. Cutts explains that you don’t want your site to be too deep or too confusing. In other words, the fewer clicks it takes people to navigate through your site the better user experience. Today, four to five clicks is the recommended number it should take to get to any one page on your website. Back when the video was filmed this was more of a way to improve your ROI, but today this will also improve your SEO. If you’re having a hard time keep your pages four clicks deep, consider using breadcrumbs or paying more attention to internal linking.
What are some best practices for moving to a new CMS?
June 22, 2009. Making the move to a new CMS can have negative effects on your SEO, so it’s important to understand how to make the move safely. It’s important that if you’re going to also have a new layout you make the change to your HTML code the same time you switch CMS systems. This will help make sure that your rankings don’t change; however a new layout may change your rankings if users are not interested, so make sure you do a lot of A/B testing before making the switch.
How can I remove old content from Google’s index?
November 23, 2009. This is a great question that really makes a big difference when it comes to SEO. If you don’t remove your old content, Google will continue to crawl and index that content which may be irrelevant and/or spammy and end up hurting your rankings. How you solve this problem is the same now as it was in 2009: 404 for a single page and blog via robots.txt if you’re concerned with an entire website.
How much content should be on a homepage?
May 25, 2011. Content has always been important and continues to become vital for SEO success. The content on your homepage is actually still something many businesses are looking to test to make sure they’re making the most of their space. Cutts said in 2011 that the more content you give Google to crawl and index the higher visibility you’ll get in the search rankings, and this still holds true today.
What are your thoughts on ranking reports?
August 8, 2011. Last but not least, Cutts let us know a few years ago that ranking reports aren’t nearly as important as focusing on how your site converts. Even today, your SEO can bring in a lot of traffic and page views, but it won’t mean much to your bottom line if they aren’t converting. It’s as simple as that!
How can content be ranked if there aren’t many links to it?
June 2, 2014. This is something that can confuse new Webmasters and startup owners, and in fact is puzzling even to veteran digital marketers. We all know that linking both internally and externally is crucial to helping keep your content natural and rich with relevant articles for readers, but this isn’t the only thing that matters. According to Cutts, other ranking factors, such as how often a keyword occurs in a piece of content, matter as well.
Do you have any SEO questions in general? Chances are Cutts has recorded a video covering something similar, so let us know in the comments below and we’ll send you the video and let you know if any of his advice has changed since the video was recorded.