This is live blogging from matt’s session. It will update as I enter information.
Matt said: about his role on the web spam team, he defined spam as sites that “rank higher than they deserve”. Go figure that one out.
Matt asked how many people were into domaining because it was like a garage sale, where you find a rare book worth a lot on sale for only 50 cents. He also asked how many were in it for the money, and then how many had a life long commitment to creating new content and publishing content of value to users on the web…. Can you see where Google is going with this? Sure you can.
He highlighted GMHS.com which is a for sale domain. User won’t be happy if they typed in the name of a high school and got this. Not too happy a user.
Earthday.org parked page… says it is relevant. Lots of user stuff. Complete new user might be happy landing on it. A savvy user will not be as happy with it.. they will wirte in and say… Matt suggested hiring a blogger to be the EarthDay Blogger for 10% of the eventual value… cherry pick your top 10,20 domains and give a blogger some equity to write content.
Ajaxian.com neat site about AJAX. Take gmhs.com and get somebody to develop it.. that’s the high end of content and value add, because not everyone is providing that. For the valuable domains, that is what Matt would do.
Q for Matt: standard dupe content question. Matt says he can handle that. Litmus test is “were was the first place this content debuted (was viewed)”. Gigablast is like 2 guys and can’t do that, but Google can. Google filters out dupe content that is not as useful as the original. What abut shuffling content, dictionaries.. trying to evade detection, as Matt says. He says it is easier to find someone to generate that content for you.
Q: on DMCA process from Ron Jackson, do you complain to Google or the host? Matt says google.com/dmca.html to describe that process. There is a process for counter-notify and dispute, and if that happens Google stops and leave the debate for the involved parties to handle.
Q: from a lawyer… an admittedly frustrated lawyer, not having great success because people just switch web hosts when challenged. Matt says Google “doesn’t ant to play police”. The lawyer says Federal copyright registration is a prerequisite to DMCA, and not easy to get a copyright on a web page. Matt suggests that after you’ve been scraped a few times…people look for ways to embed links in the article to take advantage of the scraping… “I get a lot of links”…”I’m guaranteed to have more page rank than they do”… he personally says “oh well, that’s links that go to my website”.
Q; on tld’s and their impact on ranking. Matt says early literature shows G didn’t care about what TLD was using.. just # links and how reputable those links were. He says except fro some corner cases, it doesn’t matter, and he says most people will never fit those corner cases.
Note: Matt says the new york times is more reputable than your college friend (he was addressing link value). Think about that.
Matt: “you never want your users to be angry” , Matt remembers his mother in law with a huge infection of scumware, and how much Matt spends the first day of a visit cleaning up her computer. Some people don’t want their ads showing on parked pages. Matt says Google helps show people how the domain channel can work as a profitable advertising channel.
Q; about how long it takes for a new site to monetize. Taking longer now than it used to. Matt says people think a page gets a little page rank just because it is a page, which is a misconception. Page rank is peanut butter… you’re spreading it around, it gets thin. You need more links (more peanut butter?). Think about marketing aspect.. catchy angle that attracts people’s attention, and then spread that around your network. Q: Gestation period has gotten much longer…. Matt says it can take time for pages and trusted pages to develop.
Matt showed off searchmash.com. Will we see some of these features on Google? Entirely possible. Notes the integration of DomainTools for whois as of yesterday. “please don’t scrape this”…. Google has built in a “fair amount of checking” so too frequent queries will cause it to block you. “We like this idea of trying out experiments”. He searched “aa 127″ and got American Airlines flight status for flight 127.
Matt says if a domain changes hands, Google resets the links vale to zero/near zero. [Update: Matt apparently said this about expired domains in 2007. I can't be sure of exactly what was said here, but these were contemporaneous notes so perhaps we will have to wait for the recorded sessions to be sure].
Domain names are the primary way of mapping where domains are on the web and Matt expects that to continue. Domain names are important and inseparable going forward.
Generic domains that users are likely to remember, will indeed carry more weight than others. There is a real value to those FuneralHomes.com for example. Google does give keywords in the URL a certain amount of weight, but you don’t need it in order to rank.
“We have a deal with GoDaddy that if you sign on with GoDaddy you’re automatically registered with Webmaster Tools”.
Q: Parked Domains: ” We try to detect parked domains, and once they leave their parked status, we let them in relatively quickly”
Q: If a domain says it is for sale, does that harm it’s chances in Google? Matt: Our litmus test is not whether or not it’s for sale, but if their’s good ocntent on it and it’s helpful to users.
Q: if you stub your toe [violate google guidelines] on on domain of thousands, do all of their domains suffer? Matt says no.. just because one domain is doing something bad…. BUT, it does increase the odds of google scrutinizing the other domains. Says google knows how to find other owned domains via common templates etc. If just doing everyday stuff, one domain in trouble doesn’t hurt other domains.
Q: Breakup page of more than 100 links… people complain about it.
Q: Ip cloaking to block abusive users. Matt says be careful.. ok to block scrapers etc but Google runs spot checks from different IPs… matt will go to his old school account to see what the page looks like. If user and Googlebot see same thing, should be ok. Matt cares about cloaking Google, not other users. BUT be careful not to get it wrong.
Q: Geo IP cloaking question… Matt says ” different MD5 sum means high risk category” ;-) Dont treat Googlebot like it was it’s own unique country (Googlestan), getting Googlestan content. We crawl from California… if you cloak it, be very careful to say what you are doing “it looks like you are outside of Colorado..so we’re serving you outside of colorado content…”
Q: on use of nofollow. Directory owner, asking if nofollow helps or hurts. Matt says nofollow is a “very simple thing”. Nofollow link doesn’t flow pagerank, doesn’t flow anchor text. Link level to say “I trust this link but I don’t trust this link”. You don’t want to flow page rank through them if you don’t trust them. Real business 3-4% of your links will be stale, don’t worry don’t need nofollow. If check them at some point, willing to vouch for them, at some point checked them for quality, then don’t need to worry about nofollow. If just a domain directory, use no follow.. it is a matter of how much due diligence you put in.
Q: Webmaster asked about DiamondsDirect.com and why it and other sites don’t appear in Google. Matt looked at it, said the site was good, most users would lik eit, but the feed data was dirty (some control characters showing up) and appeared at many places.. probably more unique content.