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What has having your own blog taught you about SEO?

What has having your own blog taught you about SEO? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

MATT CUTTS: Hey, everybody. We had some noise in the room that we were in, so we shifted to a new locale. Hope it’s not too bad. We have a question from Madrid, Spain today. The question is “Have you learned something about SEO that you wouldn’t know if you haven’t had your blog?” Really good question. I started my blog because I wanted to have a place which was a channel where I could just put up my personal thoughts or thoughts about Google and not have to worry about something getting edited or basically have an unvarnished channel. And what I didn’t expect is it would help me step into the mindset of a webmaster or a site owner a lot better. If you’re only working on trying to reduce spam, and you never, ever see that many of the great sites out there, then it’s easy to get into a mindset where you’re like, OK, there’s a lot of bad stuff out there. But it’s easy to forget, there’s a lot of great stuff out there as well. And so I like to tell a story that one of the very first VPs of Engineering, Urs Hoelzle, used to say, look these are regular people. They have websites. Of course they want to rank highly because they think they have great things to show the world, and we need to be sympathetic to that. And so a lot of people, when they come into Google, I often will do a new engineer orientation or at least I used to in the past. And I’d say OK, what do you call it whenever people try to rank higher in search engines? And they’d say well, it’s spam. And that’s not true. Like it’s a natural instinct to want to do well and want to do better in search engines. So I think that’s one thing that I learned, is how to step in the mindset a little bit better of a publisher or a site owner. There’s definitely been a few things I’ve learned. Like if you make lists, if you say the top 11 things about whatever, you definitely get a lot more clicks. And so it’s sort of a good reminder about human nature that unless you’re actually practicing some of that keyword selection, what things do I put in my title, oh, it turns out if you write about iPods, or gadgets, or accessories, or Chrome extensions, those can drive a lot of traffic. You know, it’s really helpful to see all that stuff so that’s not just an academic exercise. So there’s been a lot of stuff that I’ve learned about SEO because I’ve had my own site. It’s something that I’m glad that I do, and I encourage a lot of the people on our team to have some sort of web presence, or have a blog or have their own domain, so that they can just remember, OK, what we want to do is find the best possible sites. We don’t want to get in the mindset of every site being bad, and we have to take action on all those bad sites, and forget that there’s a lot of great stuff out there.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: