Okay guys, hold on to your seat and lean in a little forward…because what we are disclosing below would most certainly knock you off your feet! Given beneath are 4 killer tips straight from Matt Cutts’ mouth (literally!) Wondering how on earth did we manage that? We kidnapped Matt Cutts, the anti-spam head at Google! Oh yes! Practically picked him up from Bay Area, California, cupped his mouth, blindfolded and gagged him AND more importantly…elicited it all out of him! Just for you! Kaboom, isn’t it? He wasn’t too willing to let the cat out of the bag…but then we are nothing if not persistent! He was made to drink cranberry juice (he hates it) till he started talking. Get reading quickly before he gets to know of this printed version and scraps it from search results altogether! So, Mr. Matt, what’s the first SEO secret?

1. Improve your website’s page-loading speed – “Faster sites create happy users”

There is an inverse relationship between your website’s loading speed and ROI. The longer it takes for a web-page to load, the lower your ROI and vice-versa. And there is a very reasonable explanation for this…slow loading pages lead to bad user experience, bad user experience causes missed leads, missed leads cause high bounce rate and high bounce rate causes poor SERPs. A study conducted by senior Google researchers suggests that if the search results page is slowed down by mere 100-400 milli-seconds, it impacts 0.2% – 0.6% searches per user. While this may seem small, it is of great consequence at Google’s scale.

“One thing I would pay attention to is optimizing for speed…It is a slight factor in google rankings but lots of people have run tests and discovered that if you are able to decrease the speed…the latency when pages are returned within your website, customers end up doing more things… more purchases, more browsing and so you can definitely increase your ROI if you decrease your speed or latency…..Matt Cutts

Why does page-speed matter?

Think of a visitor who is in desperate need to know how to make Cuban sandwiches and what he sees is the time bar/ revolving circle moving at turtle’s speed…He’ll wait for a few micro-seconds but as his patience begins to dwindle…zip, zap, zoom..he’s gone! Websites with excellent content but hopelessly horrible page loading speed are useless! Visitors don’t like a website that takes an eternity to load, nor do search engines! If your web-pages take more than four seconds to load (as independent tests show), it’s slow, dog slow, and really needs a boost! Page speed is an important factor in Google rankings and the page loading speed of most top ranking websites usually lies between 0.1 – 1.0 seconds. So, how can you get to this speed?

“Minifying your javascript, css, trying to merge includes, trying to optimize your images…all relatively simple things but they can really affect your bottom-line when you think of end-user behavior.- Matt Cutts

If you want to dig deeper into it, here’s Google offering a fund of information on how tomake your website run faster. Google also enables you to measure your website’s loading speed with the help of Page Speed that accords  Page Speed Score on a 1-100 scale Thanks Matt, moving to the second one now…

2. Get an excellent website architecture, internal linking & CMS

“Think about the look of your website, good internal CMS practices and good internal education”

Site architecture is all about how easy/ difficult is it for search engines and users to find their way in/ out of your website. It’s about presenting the most relevant and valuable text in front of your users in minimum number of clicks. It includes everything from design and lay-out to navigation and deep linking. An excellent website architecture is one that is easy on eyes and mind, both!

“Think about something like an Apple product, when you buy an Apple product you open it up, the box is beautiful, the packaging is beautiful, the entire experience is really wonderful.”- Matt Cutts

Matt also suggests that you be careful with your internal linking structure.

“Make sure your internal linking is consistent, when you do make internal links…make sure that there are good keywords but not spamming…”- Matt Cutts

How many clicks to your deepest pages from your home page?

Now, what would you prefer as a visitor? 6 clicks to the deepest level of information or just 3?

“Well, this is not SEO advice, this is just behavioural advice…If you have stuff within fewer number of clicks from the root page, visitors are more likely to find it…If someone has to click 8 times to register for your conference compared to register on right home root page, fewer people are going to find it, if it is that many clicks away… Matt Cutts

So, rationally thinking, it’s pretty evident that a topical funnel website structure (that has many clicks to deepest pages) leads to poor user experience. By flattening the structure i.e reducing the number of clicks to the deepest pages and increasing the quality of links on each page, we can make it easier for human visitors and search engines to identify the most relevant content.
Image courtesy: SEOGadget
Furthermore, Matt suggests you have full control over your CMS. Your CMS should be not be super technical so that even non-geeks can use it without much difficulty.

So, how to build an excellent website?

  1. Don’t write for search engines, write for visitors with search engines in mind
  2. Cross-link important pages
  3. Eliminate broken/ dangling links and duplicate content
  4. Place important links on the top of the page
  5. Include a well-defined HTML sitemap
  6. Submit a comprehensive XML sitemap (including images and videos) to search engines
  7. Choose the correct link structure
  8. Keep important pages within 3 clicks from the home page
  9. Make sure you don’t have too many 404 errors
  10. Add no follow to the pages that are not important. For example, members login, payment pages, Contact us form, Privacy policy (Warning: Do not nofollow About us page)
Whoa! We can’t believe, we managed to extract 2 tips out of him! Quickly to the third one please…

3. Be a social animal – Try social media optimization – We do use Twitter and Facebook links in ranking

With Google validating social buzz as a prime ranking factor, there is all the world’s sense in striving for an excellent social media reputation.

“We are also trying to figure out a little bit about the reputation of an author or creator on Twitter or Facebook…Don’t necessarily say to yourself…Aha! Now I am going to get a tonne of followers, just like people get a tonne of reciprocal links… You need to know who are the followers who mean quality…- Matt Cutts

Try to envision something like…I tweet a post (say a link)…Now, Google will evaluate my Twitter account reputation (my overall activity) by conducting a deep sentiment analysis…This will tell Google how I feel about the link, how relevant it is and what others think of the same…From there, Google will accord me a Social Score. And it is this Social Score combined with my SEO factors that will determine my overall raking. Also make sure you offer some useful service so that you increase the probability of being linked, discussed and bookmarked.

We had somebody that was doing a language translation site and they were wondering Why don’t I rank No 1? and so I checked out their site and it was literally like a brochure – 5 pages, contact us, about us, this is what do we do…and then I looked at who the no 1 site was and the number one site was talking about Japanese to English translation and had a lot of tutorials…Here’s how you can write your name in Japanese…and all these facts”- Matt Cutts

Social media marketing techniques include everything that lets you, as a webmaster, build direct contact with your present customers and prospects. It includes social networking, social bookmarking, blogging, guest posting, blog commenting, forum posting, community building, image/ video posting etc. Matt Cutts suggests that if your posts are clear, relevant and compelling, social media can get you better visibility and high-quality inbound links.
Image courtesy: Marketing Shepra
So cool that was, the last one please and we’ll let you free, promise!

4. Optimize your images in a web-friendly manner – “Introduce more textual content and you can rank a little higher in search results”

We had long been agonising over the fact that if Google cannot read images, what’s in for photographers? How should they promote their website? Now, this was the time, Matt was sitting in front of us and that’s when we drew out of him the Secret to image optimization

“I would advise you to look at ways in which you can incorporate the data around the image. It could be in the meta information within the image, it can be the title, the name of the image or a paragraph of text around the image…”- Matt Cutts

Another good thing is to include a feature like User comments on your site. This helps you unknowingly target those keywords that the end users will type in their comments.

“One tip I would give is introduce a place where people can leave comments…because if you’ve got a picture, we might not know what that picture is but when you have 30 comments below it…and just in the process of users talking about the picture, you often end up with targeting the keywords…”- Matt Cutts

Let us now tell you that all throughout, our heart was pounding wildly inside our chests. We understood what it meant to be abducting senior engineer at Google… .But thanks heavens, all went as planned!

Four-fold SEO strategy as suggested by Matt Cutts: Your winning SEO strategy

The world of SEO is constantly evolving…getting more dense and complex. Bounce back quickly…Make the most of these simple yet electrifying tips and get ready to explode the World Wide Web! Improve your website’s loading speed, build an efficient website structure and CMS, get an excellent internal linking strategy, optimize your images properly, participate in social media discussions actively and everyone will be happy – you, your visitors and search engines! So, go and tell search engines you are ready to conquer search rankings! P.S – Sorry your highness, Mr Cutts. We sincerely apologise for the above narrated cock-and-bull story but we were doing exactly what you want every writer to do…Adding soft humour to gain more readership…! And since these tips actually flow from you…we hope to be spared in all sense!

Ricky Goswami

Ricky is an Award winning Ecommerce Marketing expert and Digital Marketing strategist, with 15+ years of experience of consulting Small companies to Fortune 100 companies. He is Co-Founder at KeywordCountry (@kwdcountry) and Smarter.Codes.