SEO

That was the theme of the event last night. For the first time ever, the three founders of the Google Search Office were together in a public forum, namely, Matt Cutts, Ben Gomes and Amit Singhal. The event was sponsored by the Churchill Club, of which Citrix is a member. The event was moderated by Danny Sullivan, the Editor in Chief of SearchEngineLand.com.

So why would someone like me show up to this type of event. Well, who isn’t interested in SEO these days, and I thought it would be nice to visit the Computer History Museum at the same time. They actually have a Cray-1 sitting on the floor that you can walk up to and physically touch. I might be one of a few that marvel at this, but my father used to work with Seymor Cray at Control Data in Minnesota, way back in the day. I used to hear the stories about his computing methodology and I find it fascinating.

The secrets

Why else would anyone attend, but to potentially hear a secret slip out. Well, Google makes 500 search engine modifications every year, so which secret do you want to hear about first? It is clear these guys won’t divulge their innermost secrets to search, but they will share the following…

Everything they do is based on this one principle, “Their job is to answer your query” in a way that is best for the user. And they try to answer that query in a way that is most beneficial to the user. For example, if you are searching for poison control, it is important to show results for an emergency number to call, or if searching for an address, it shows the location of a map. Their query methodologies are based on the simple principles of how language works.

If you are approaching Search Engine Optimization with the mindset of “What is best for the user”, and you follow ethical search optimization practices, you will succeed.

Plus

There was talk about Google Plus. And here’s the tip. There is value in who-knows-who together with who-knows-what and this information will get factored into the Google search algorithm. They did admit that the Google Plus One referral system, is a ranking system and matters when you are logged in, and also when not logged in.

Competition

Regarding the claim that Google filters out or doesn’t present competitor information in their search results, they say that “the Search team is separate from the Advertising team”.

SEO for you

Google frowns on anyone “Gaming” the system, and will manually penalize you for it. But there are companies that help you with ethical search optimization, and these fall into the gray area, which I’m sure is where Matt Cutts comes into play. He can manually take action on search results. You can appeal the action. They did mention this … “There is such a thing as Ethical Search Optimization. And you can search Google for Quality Search, and follow the guidelines.”

Five year predictions

Matt Cutts – my mobile device will be able to communicate with me bionically, for example: I will be at the store paying for my groceries with my mobile device, and it will remind me to buy cat food, because I am almost out and haven’t bought it for 4 weeks.

Amit Singhal – I am a trekkie, so I envision a Star Trek phone so advanced it has conversations with me

Ben Gomes – I envision the Star Trek computer as well, where searching for something on a phone or mobile device is effortless.

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