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SXSW: Google's Amit Singhal Talks SEO "Experts," Mobile, Search 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the using-their-keywords dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google senior vice president Amit Singhal, one of the executives heading up the company's search-engine operations, sat down with Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple and author, at one of this year's SXSW keynotes in Austin, TX. 'Our dream is for search to become the "Star Trek" computer, and that's what we're building today,' Singhal said. But he seemed reluctant to share much about his company on a more tactical level, parrying Kawasaki's queries about everything from the amount of code in Google's search platform to recent cyber-attacks on the company's systems. But the two did have an interesting back-and-forth about SEO. 'We at Google have time and time again said—and seen it happen—that if you build high-quality content that adds value, and your readers and your users seek you out, then you don't need to worry about anything else,' Singhal said. 'If people want that content, your site will automatically work you could make a bunch of SEO mistakes and it wouldn't hurt.' When Kawasaki followed up by asking, 'Is SEO bull****?' Singhal replied: 'That would be like saying marketing is bull****.' That drew a laugh from the audience—and maybe some gritted teeth from people who position themselves as SEO experts. The two talked about much more with regard to Google's future plans."
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SXSW: Google's Amit Singhal Talks SEO "Experts," Mobile, Search

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:41AM (#43137601)

    SEO - Search Engine Optimization.

  • Since Marketing is bullshit that means SEO is bullshit too right?

    Hey assholes, take Bill Hicks advice already.

    • Yes, but they're both successful bullshit that help the most diuretic shitters rise to the top of the giant manure heap that is the modern economic system.

      • by micromoog (206608)
        I think the word you're looking for is "diarrhetic". You see, one involves excessive pooping, whilst the other is for excessive urination. A subtle distinction, yes, but nevertheless an important one. The fact that these words are homophones is just a happy coincidence of linguistics.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, sites with high quality content will succeed regardless of SEO tricks. But that's not what SEO is for. SEO is about getting clicks when your site has nothing useful to offer. And looking at the amount of rubbish I get in Google results (e.g. endless wikipedia copies) it is very successful.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bullshit.

      Sites with high quality content get drowned out by SEO tricks - if you don't get a good google ranking, you're relying on "going viral". The likelihood of which ranks up there with a lottery win.

      Google is a one-trick pony for search - it analyses text and uses extremely sophisticated algorithms to determine which text should match up with which search term. But google doesn't "understand" what it's parsing. To force google to understand what my website is about, I am obliged as a website owner to i

  • SEO as a bug (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:51AM (#43137695) Homepage Journal

    The 10% of "SEO" that is "fixing your website" is fine - good even. Make your URL's friendly, make your site accessible (to both handicapped humans and robots), follow standards, validate your code, organize your pages, etc.

    To the degree that any of the other 90% works, that's a bug Google should be (and usually is) actively fixing in their search ranking algorithms. In the meantime, thank goodness for Akismet for keeping the leeches away.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      Not for large scale sites its not 10% try migrating major online brands with knowing exactly what you are doing and you will lose a metric fuck ton of money - i know major publishers (no names no pack drill) who've have wasted 10's of millions on botched site rebuilds.
      • by sdguero (1112795)
        Try describing your SEO experience in complete sentences and use grammar. You could lose out on a metric fuck ton of money when employers don't hire you because you can't communicate.
        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          Oh sorry precious I am a fucking dyslexic deal with it - sorry to make you read for meaning. Exactly which Janet and John book did you get up to at school.

          Ok i said with rather than without whoop do fucking do - its fucking obvious what I meant.
          • by sdguero (1112795)
            Hold on. Lets break this down because your post wasn't obvious at all. That is why I replied with my snarky comment. For starters, original message said:

            Not for large scale sites its not 10%

            Double negative and no period on that abortion of a sentence.

            try migrating major online brands with knowing exactly what you are doing and you will lose a metric fuck ton of money

            This could me a decent, understandable sentence if it was completely re-written. But to your point, I can decipher two very broad unsubstantiated claims here.

            - i know major publishers (no names no pack drill) who've have wasted 10's of millions on botched site rebuilds.

            And then there is this sentence. I honestly have no idea what you are trying to communicate in the parentheses here. Ignoring the terrible g

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      Make your URL's friendly, make your site accessible (to both handicapped humans and robots)...

      Seriously?

      Google rates you based on if your handicapped friendly or not??

      • Google rates you based on if your handicapped friendly or not??

        Yes, indirectly. Accessible sites are easy to index. Go ahead and put your text in images without ALT tags and see how well Google indexes the site. Use ALT tags and screen readers can help blind people use your site.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:03AM (#43137817)

    OK, just at a basic level, but it's still all good advice.

    http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=34397 [google.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well that's our experience too, visitors seek out our content, and find it on other people's scraped SEO sites.

    It seems the web is full of sites that mechanically scrape a handful of related sites, merge pages to meet a keyword target and appear high in the google ranking, often higher than the sites they scrape.

    Google doesn't of course let you report a site for copyright violation as an SEO spam site, because then they'd know about the copyright violation and would lose their DMCA protection (which require

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:19AM (#43137965) Journal

    I can understand that there will be people who do SEO, just as their are people who do spamming, send junk mail, and phone scams aimed at vulnerable old people.

    What I don't understand is how these people function within broader society? Do they lie about what they do? Do they hang out mostly with others of their kind? Are real people too cowardly to shun and loath them?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      SEO falls into three categories:

      1. optimising your website for maximum search engine exposure (reducing page times, making it bot-accessible etc). Nobody has a problem with this, and most reputable companies with an important web presence have an "SEO" team that does it. You'd think this was already done by web designers/developers, but you'd be unpleasantly surprised.

      2. Link building - asking people to link to your site. For example, contacting suppliers, local directories, asking customers to link to you

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'We at Google have time and time again said—and seen it happen—that if you build high-quality content that adds value, and your readers and your users seek you out, then you don't need to worry about anything else,'

    What's Google for then?

  • Maybe Mr. Singhal, "one of the executives heading up the company's search-engine operations", needs to spend some time explaining why Google's search results suck so much and have gotten steadily worse. But that will never happen. Because then he might have to talk about what a lot of people already know -- shitty search results are good for Google's bottom line.

    Shitty search results increase the number of links you click on, trying to find what you want, and if any of those links belong to people in Goo

  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:38AM (#43138215)
    In my opinion, SEO is just one form of advertising, just like buying an ad in a phone book. I have done "SEO" professionally many times, but in my mind assume my employer wants more than just search engine optimization. It really comes down to being an online advertising expert, which is a real job. For example, determining the ROI (return on investment) on advertisements has real value for any business.

    The problem is that the employers do not understand what SEO really means. If you are spending money on SEO, maybe you should spend money on advertisements as well and track everything to see what pays off. Run a small marketing experiment, find ads that make you money and then focus all your money into those ads.

    In reality, SEO is usually just a one time short job of renaming directories,images & files, adding alt tags, and generally cleaning up HTML code to follow standards. Some companies charge monthly fees to post blog comments and other content regularly, which may actually help your site gain rank, but rarely is worth the monthly fee.
  • by slapout (93640) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:45AM (#43138313)

    The summary should mention that Guy Kawasaki now works for Google: http://www.businessinsider.com/guy-kawasaki-joins-google-as-an-advisor-2013-2

  • Google hit says search engine optimization. Is that it? Deliever a good site rather than trying to get people to find the shit you've made?

  • SEOs are the enemy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrXym (126579) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:22AM (#43138721)
    I wonder what an SEO could do for its money which is actually acceptable to Google's aims of delivering relevant search results. They might optimise the site so it loads fast, or that the landing page includes relevant keywords, or that content is frequently updated - things like that. It doesn't seem like rocket science though and I expect Google and Bing offer tips which enable sites to do these things for themselves.

    It's the scummier things that some SEOs might do which make them the enemy of search engines - padding sites with meta tags, astroturfing, incestuously linking to the site from shill sites, hiring people to do automated +1 ranking, spamming forums & blogs with links, click jacking and any other scummy practice they can come up with. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these tactics actually count against a site's relevance if they are discovered.

  • The converse of the "If people want that content, your site will automatically work" argument is well proven by Truemors and Alltop.

    Why would Google would hire this two-bit hack...?

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