Matt Cutts – uncut

by Anthony on August 2, 2006

So Matt Cutts has put up some videoblogs to Google Video recently, looking a little like he’s been kidnapped and forced to answer questions put forth by readers of his blog. And good on him, he’s got some great responses in there.

Read on…

At the end of this one he talks about having links in an option box. For example, on – thats the only way to get to our blog archives!! We’ve noticed that once blog entries drop off of the homepage, they tend to drop really fast in the SERPS. I guess this is why. (Don’t know why it didn’t occur to us earlier, actually!)

Given our fear of totally overhauling the site, I think the most elegant solution will be to create a file called ‘sitemap-archives.php’ or something, which scans for files matching certain patterns. It will identify the monthly-archives pages that blogger creates, and just make a little sitemap of them. (Or alternatively, scan for individual post-pages, and map those out grouped by date)

In this video, Matt talks about webmasters having many sites on a single IP address. He notes that it is very common for this to occur. (I mean, most webmasters will have shared hosting. So your website will be on the same physical machine, with the same IP address, as potentially a thousand other sites)

Matt says that having 10 or so of your own sites would be fine, but having 2,000 would raise some eyebrows and get you in trouble. I wish he’d drawn a little more distinction there – I mean, would it be a problem to have 100 sites on a single IP? How about 200?

What I find most interesting is the way he mentions ‘different IPs’. He doesn’t mention C-blocks at all. So if your IP is 111.222.333.444 (I know, impossible), the C-block refers to the 3rd grouping of digits. So 111.222.333.444 and 111.222.333.555 could concievably belong to the same datacenter, whereas 111.222.333.444 and 111.222.311.444 should be totally different.

I don’t know if this is a myth or not, there doesn’t seem to be any ‘final word’ on the matter. But many people believe your sites should be spread across multiple IP addresses, and multiple C-blocks if possible, to maximise the value of cross site linking.

The interesting part here is the way Matt says ‘different IP addresses’, without even appearing to consider C-blocks. Is it a myth, or isn’t it?

We’ve been considering getting dedicated hosting at work, because we have a lot of client sites (100? 200?) spread across several different reseller accounts with different webhosts. I’d love to consolidate these onto a single machine, but I don’t know if our search engine rankings would take a hit because of this.

He answers the question, does the webspam team use Analytics data at all in their algos. He seems a little evasive to my mind. He’s clear that the WEBSPAM team doesn’t use that data, but seems unusually uncomfortable committing to saying “they don’t factor into the SERPs at all”. To my mind, Google either does or soon will use Analytics data to affect your sites ranking.

So this is a bit of a double-edged sword. Perhaps if your analytics show you have visitors arriving at your site from all sorts of referrers (backlinks), and are getting lots of traffic, you’ll get a boost. But the opposite may also be true – a site getting only a few hundred visitors per month may be considered “unimportant” by google, and thus dropped in the SERPs.

Of course we hear a lot about ‘is it a good idea to let google collection *that much* data about us? Well, I guess it depends. It could be good or could be bad. It would seem prudent, however, to limit the data we hand to google on silver platters until we know for sure one way or the other.

This SEO Agency uses the Analytics software as is based upon Urchin, which has been around for quite a while. I’ve never seen Urchin in action, but I imagine it’ll be pretty handy. No doubt why one of the Google’s toronto seo expert has made many customisations to improve the software for use in Analytics, but I’m sure the base software would still be worthwhile. If we were to get dedicated hosting, we could also get Urchin to monitor all of our sites, as opposed to relying on Analytics.

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