15 Tips from Matt Cutts

By Daniel Scocco

Charles from Blogging Pro recently published a post covering the first day of the WordCamp 2007 conference. He is sharing his views on the event, including a description of the first keynotes. The most interesting part is his summary of the presentation delivered by Matt Cutts. Here are the 15 points that Matt covered:

  1. Don’t put your blog at the root of your domain.
  2. Name your directory ‘blog’ instead of ‘wordpress’.
  3. In URLs, no spaces are worst, underscore are better, dashes or hyphens are best.
  4. Use alt tags on images: not only is it good accessibility, it’s good SEO.
  5. Include keywords naturally in your posts.
  6. Make your post dates easy to find.
  7. Check your blog on a cell phone.
  8. Use partial-text feeds if you want more page views; use full-text feeds if you want more loyal readers.
  9. Blogs should do standard pings.
  10. Standardize backlinks (don’t mix www with non-www).
  11. Use a permanent redirect (301) when moving to a new host.
  12. Don’t include the post date in your URL.
  13. When moving between hosts, wait until Googlebot and traffic begin to visit the new host before taking down the old one.
  14. If using AdSense, use section targeting.
  15. Use FeedBurner’s MyBrand feature to take control of your feeds (i.e., feed.domain.com instead of http://feeds.feedburner.com/domain).

I agree with most of the points, but not with all of them. First of all, I don’t think you should install WordPress on a subdirectory unless you have clear plans to develop the root directory for other purposes (e.g., a business website).

Secondly, I don’t agree with using partial feeds for maximizing page views. Feedburner confirmed sometime ago that the click-through rate is very similar to partial and full feeds. Additionally, you might be limiting the potential of RSS subscribers on your blog by offering a partial feed.

You can find another coverage of his presentation on the post “Matt Cutts, Whitehat SEO Tips for Bloggers.”

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56 Responses to “15 Tips from Matt Cutts”

  • Dawid Michalczyk

    Hi Daniel,

    I have been subscribing to your RSS feed for a few months now and just wanted to say that I find your posts of consistently high quality – clear, concise, useful, and interesting. Thank you!

  • Daniel

    Dawid, you flatter me! Thanks for reading.

  • Pedro

    Daniel,

    I’d have to agree with Dawid on your posts!

    About this specific post, I’d like to hear your opinion on “12. Don’t include the post date in your URL.”. That seems to contradict with “6. Make your post dates easy to find.”, since there is no easier place to find a date then the URL itself. Also, Darren (problogger.net) uses dates in his URLs.

    Best,

    Pedro

  • Mike Panic

    I’m with you Daniel, I don’t understand why one wouldn’t install it root. Splash pages are so 2001.

  • Jamaipanese

    no root install?!?!?!?!?

    I don’t agree, and a little more explanation on a couple of these tips would have been very nice.

  • Jeremy

    It would be nice to hear Cutts’ explanation re: root install. As it’s #1 on the list, you would think it’s important.

  • David

    While I appreciate people spreading around my name, it was Charles of the WordPress podcast that provided WordCamp coverage for Blogging Pro. 🙂

  • Daniel

    David I will fix that, sorry.

  • Daniel

    Pedro, I think point 6 refers to the data within the body of the page. Perhaps Google is able to trace it and somehow get an indication of how “fresh” the content is, improve the relevancy of the search results.

    Personally I also agree with the point 12, since I don’t like dates on the URL. I think it dilutes the value of the keywords (since it increases the number of characters). There is no rule here though, even some SEO experts like dates.

  • Daniel

    Jeremy, if you take a look at the other post I mentioned it appears that Matt Cutts’ reasoning for not installing WordPress on the root was the following:

    1. maybe later you will want something else besider a blog

    2. people will link to your main page and to the main blog page, so you get some extra links that way.

    I don’t agree with any of these arguments, but I did not hear the presentation so I can’t go further.

  • Kevin

    with regards to point 1 – ‘Don’t put your blog at the root of your domain’

    I assume he means that you should use http://www.domain.com instead of domain.com. ?

  • Grace

    Kevin- He means http://www.domain.com/wordpress-blog versus http://www.domain.com. 😀

  • Daniel

    Grace is right, Matt is advocating for installing the blog on a subfolder like http://www.domain.com/blog/ or subdomain like blog.domain.com.

  • Kevin

    I thought thats what Matt was meaning at first but i thought I had misunderstood it as thats terrible advice.

    If anything the opposite is true. If we are talking about the blog being the main part of the website then the bog should be at the root of the domain. Why would you want to put it in a sub folder?

    Check your blog on a cell phone. – Not something I would put in a top 15 tips list 🙂

  • Daniel

    Kevin, yeah the cell phone part is arguable also, I am not sure how many people actually use it to access websites (although in the near future this will be a serious issue).

  • Medical Transcriptionist

    Daniel, Matt Cutts is right, he is advocating only the configuration files to be installed in a subdirectory, while your home page remains the same as in my case.

    I got tanked twice failing to adhere to this advice putforth by experts and starting from scratch now.

    I do agree with his advice on RSS too.

  • AruntheACE

    Why i have to use a subfolder as blog? then what I’ve to put in my main domain??

  • Better Blogging with Michael Martine

    You can have your cake and eat it too regarding feeds vs. the “more” tag if you use a plugin called Full Text Feed. I use it and it’s great: Feeds are full text, but on my home page I have the “more” tag to increase page views and give people a better overview of the blog’s content.

  • Ramkarthik

    Daniel, I think most of the good bloggers have their blog at the root of the domain. As you said full feeds are the best any time.

  • Egonitron.com

    hmmm…I tend to not agree with the subdirectory thing, but I can see where he would say that. First of all, if it’s installed under “blog.domain.com” then Google will immediately know it’s a blog, no questions asked. Also it’s nice to do if you do eventually decide to put something else at the root.

    About dates in the URL I agree, but for me it’s too late. It’s only good advice for those who are just starting a blog and don’t have a ton of back-links pointing to the date-included URLs.

    I don’t quite understand using a 301 when moving to a new host. Could someone explain this one?

  • engtech @ internet duct tape

    I’m a strong believer in having a landing page other than your latest blog post.

    ie: http://www.webomatica.com/

    You can do cool things with it like show post excerpts along with “best of” content, or recent linkblog stuff…

    I like using my landing page as an introduction/navigation thing. It really increased hits on my archives. http://InternetDuctTape.com

  • e_anka

    Regarding point #1 – I have bought a few domains for my new site: com, net, org and info, and now I wonder whether put everything – site and blog on com domain, and redirect others to com, or put the site on com domain and blog on net? How do you think?

  • Daniel

    anka, definitely put everything on the .com, and forward the other domains.

    You don’t want to split backlinks among different domains.

  • e_anka

    Daniel, thanks, now it seems so clear and easy!

  • Lincoln

    What did Matt mean by section targeting when using Adsense? *scratches head*

  • Daniel

    Lincoln,

    Read this:
    http://www.dailyblogtips.com/improve-your-adsense-targeting/

  • Desibabesworld.com

    Nice tips

  • raj

    Daniel, agreed… While I partially agree with Matt Cutts, on other items, he continues to smoke the Google Crack. In fact, dates in URLs were once a good thing, and as I understand it, little old Googlebot would favor sites with it by crawling more regularly. Or something like that.

    That said, though, I stopped using dates for a different reason: shorten the real or imaginary directory path in a URL. Now, I either use only the post title or the post title preceded by the year. Not everyone will agree, but it works for me.

  • Eric Atkins

    How do you make unique URLs without including a unique identifier? That’s why I’ve included dates in my post paths. The date will ensure that if I ever have more than one post with the same title I will still have a different URLs between the posts.

  • Daniel

    Eric, personally I don’t see the need for a unique identifier. I would never post something with the same title anyway, it would be rather confusing for the reader.

  • raj

    Eric, even if you accidentally have two identical titles, your blog platform will stick in an unique identifier – usually an integer, possibly preceded by an underscore or hyphen.

    Some SEOs use the post id after the post-title. You can hack your permalink URLs so that the post date is after the post title, but not as a virtual directory path.

    The closer a page is perceived to be to the root of a website’s home page URL, the better, is it is accorded more importance. So look at the following examples. Which is better?

    (1) http://mysite.com/2007/july/my-great-post/

    (2) http://mysite.com/my-great-post-145

    (3) http://mysite.com/my-great-post-2007-07-26

    The first one appears to put the post several directories below root. The second uses the post id. The third embeds the date into the page slug.

    If you want numbers, I’d say pick #2 or #3. Personally, I now use one of the following formats on my newer blogs:

    http://mysite.com/2007/my-great-post
    http://mysite.com/my-great-post

    (I’m experimenting)

  • Lincoln

    Sweet, thanks for the section targeting link Daniel. 😀

  • Transcriber

    You could checkout my blog as well as mattcutts.com on how the url should be as said by Matt!

  • JTPRATT’s Blogging Mistakes

    wow, I have to do some more research on this one….I don’t get #1 or #12 at all. Like you said – why would you want to put your blog in /blog instead of the root? that makes no sense to me? Also, not putting the post date in your URL – that flies in the face of every WordPress site on the web! I don’t get how that would help, if only to get the keywords in the url closer to the root of the domain.

  • Grinder

    Although I think some of these blog tactics are good, I dont agree with some. I am sure they all work depending on your Business.
    Thanks

  • Seo-blog-part1

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  • Dawid Michalczyk

    “1. Don’t put your blog at the root of your domain.”

    After reading this post at first I thought that the #1 tip should not matter as long as your blog posts are niche related, but later I gave it some more thought (mainly because my rankings have been fluctuating and I started to suspect the blog for it). So I decided to move my news/blog to news.html and optimized the root index.html for my main keywords. I could always reverse it if it wouldn’t work.

    I did this some 6 weeks ago and my rankings went up significantly already after a couple of weeks, and with it traffic (about 15%). One of my main keywords went up from 13 to 5 place in SERPs!

    Now the #1 tip makes sense. The root page defines the whole site in a way. It tells the SEs “this is what I’m about”. So if you have a blog at the root, there will always be some variations in terms of keyword density/focus and that will always cause some SERP fluctuations.

  • hee-haw

    Nice article daniel , thanks for the tips. But i was wondering how can we “12. Don’t include the post date in your URL.” ?

    any idea on how to do that? For im not aware we could, for normally when post a post it will auto capture the date into the URL.

    I hope you could point out some ways 🙂

  • Cebu

    Wow, this tips gave me a big learning. I may apply this to my blogs.

  • Jampool

    Finally i found this very nice post. 🙂

  • renan orola

    nice blog it is very informative more people appreciate this kind of blog..thanks for the tips i learn in this blog.

  • cebu

    nice blog. keep it up.

  • cebu seo

    great! all those 15 tips are surely fully functional on my list of to-do’s in my wordpress blogs. My blogspots are getting a few little changes because they’re totally not necessary because of automation on widgets, i just make sure to write a post each day or two and it’s enough.

  • Filipino blogger

    Thanks for posting tips for seo matt cutts. We are proud of you for sharing information about seo tips..thank you.

  • sam’s tips paradise

    I like your 3rd tip. I have actually proven it to be a working tip so many times and I would not be surprised if this had better effects with a blog URL.

  • Rommel B. Sario

    Thank you so much for sharing this tips. A very informative post. I would really apply this tips to my blogs.

  • Linda Lee

    Thank you #37 for sharing that insight. This root thing for the blog has been bugging me since I read that. I have a few sites I installed as the root for blogs and the rest not. Recently two of my root blogs dropped off from #2 and 4 in the Serps for certain keywords and now one is on the 3rd page and I was really wondering why.
    My other site similar in a certain topic, keeps ranking higher, and that one has a regular website and the blog.
    I am seriously thinking about adding a regular website home page to both of them.
    The problem is now, like Matt said, I have quite a few posts and time now in the blogs in the root installs, how would I add a webpage now?

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