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SEO CHINA Part XXXI: Matt Cutts on Chinese Food, Adwords and Mom

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Matt Cutts works for Google and has a blog about how to court their search engine; so, when Matt flaps his blog wings in America there is a tsunami on the far side of the Internet.

This is a spoof on his recent interview on SEO in China….

Matt recently finished an interview with Zac on China SEO and Google that was started in September of 2006. Actually it was done much sooner, but got caught in Zac’s gmail spam filter, but I digress….

I have, via the magic of the Internet, figured out Matt’s answer algorithm and inserted myself and Matt’s probable answers into the interview:
Zac: First of all thank you for doing this interview with me, I believe it will be very helpful for SEOers and web marketers in China.

There are currently lots of misunderstandings about SEO in China. The first thing that pops up in mind is “spam” when people hear the word SEO. Some say “SEO is shortsighted and is like suicide”. From search engine’s point of view, is that true? Is SEO hated, allowed or encouraged by Google? We’re talking about whitehat SEO here.

Matt: I hate pop-ups. Google consides it spam. It’s a common mistake to think that search engines don’t like SEO. The fact is that SEO within Google’s quality guidelines is okay. It is even better if you follow party policy. That includes things like making sure that your site is crawlable, thinking of words that users would use when searching and including them naturally within the content of the site, and doing things like making sure that page titles and urls are descriptive except for stupid things like democracy .

What Google (and other search engines) don’t like is when someone tries to cheat or take a short cut to show up higher than they should. When a site violates our quality guidelines, Google calls that spam. When I do it we call it marketing.

Zac: Google announced its official Chinese name “Gu Ge” (Harvest Song) in April 2006 however the majority of Chinese users do not seem like the new name. It sonically sounds like 哥哥 which means big brother and tian-anmen knows we have had enough of that!

According to China Internet Network Information Center, CNNIC, Google is losing market share from 33% last year to current 25.3%.

http://www.linuxworld.com.au/index.php/id;836499436;fp;2;fpid;1

What do you think of the market share drop?

Matt: Liar Liar pants on fire! What was the question? We spent 190 million on market research and Baiduble 1% of that. Maybe we should outsource to India.

Zac: I noticed there are Chinese employees in Google headquarter. Any idea how many Chinese in Googleplex now? How are they doing? Any advice for Google fans who want to join Google?

Matt: We do have many Chinese engineers at the Googleplex. The ones not under investigation by Homeland Security are doing great.

ZAC: Let’s talk about duplicate content, which is a hot topic recently.Let’s talk about duplicate content, which is a hot topic recently.I see much more content copying on Chinese web sites. Many Chinese webmasters like to “gather” (wink, wink) contents from other web sites, either using software or by hand, then publish on their own web sites. Does Google penalize these sites full of contents you can see everywhere? Is there a percentage or threshold, exceeding which penalty is applied? In other words: just how much can we scam you before we get busted?

What should the original author do so that the original is recognized as so?

Matt: We have noticed that some Chinese web sites have a lot of duplicate content. Users like to get different search results, so Google is looking at how best to provide diverse results. Our algorithms already have some ways of removing duplicate content, and we will continue to look for ways to improve. As of today we have no way to filter out Chinglish modifications of content, so….

The original author should consider imitation the greatest form of flattery–I made that up just now.

Zac: Some web sites use multiple domains with exactly same content , for example, domain.com and domain.com.cn. Is this risky? What’s the best way to do it?

Matt: Use Google adwords. Ad don’t forget that creativity can really help. You could hire some Americans for that. For example, there was a site that made industrial blenders, which sounds like a very boring subject. But now go watch this video at: YouTube and you’ll see something amazing. They threw all kinds of different objects into the blender to prove how powerful their machine was; however, I am easily amused and don’t watch Letterman so I did not catch the duplicate content.

Even things like newsletters, blogs, information about an industry, or other resources can serve as a reason for people to get interested in your site and link to you. Porn sells well.

Zac: The highest PR we can find on Chinese web site is PR8. Is there discrimination against Chinese sites in terms of PR? If not, why don’t we see PR9 or even better PR10 Chinese sites? Does PR still matter for ranking in the first place?

Matt: PageRank does depend on the link structure of the web, but I wouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t see PR9 and PR10 sites. For one thing, Chinese sites are usually only ranking against other similar Chinese sites, so the playing ground is level. You guys have a billion people for god’s sake. You’d kill us in the rankings.

Lonnie: Is there a significant difference between Chinese site SEO and English site SEO? Are there differences in your algorithm for different languages?

Matt: What algorithm? we call it the “formula” like the Coke guys. So, we Google brasses who know the formula are not allowed to travel on planes together. That’s one reason I haven’t been to China.

One main difference between Chinese site SEO and English site SEO is the set of queries they are working on. For example, “hot asian chicks” is one of the strongest queries for English, while “笨老外” (dumb foreigner) is a common query for Chinese. Another difference is that almost all mid- or large-sized Chinese domains have blogs, which is not the case for other languages. We do it through shills like me.

Zac: Do you consider your Adwords program in China a success?

Matt: I don’t know much about adwords. I am salaried at Google.

Zac: Some SEOs believe that freshness plays an important role in Google ranking. Many think blogs are easier to rank better due to freshness. Yet some SEOs think it’s not a good idea to tweak web pages frequently.

Zac: Is SEO service a reliable business model that you would recommend to SEOers in China? I ask this because there’s very very few established and reputable SEO companies in China. Many companies claim they provide SEO services but what they actually do is spamming forums and blogs.

Ethical individual SEOs are struggling to survive.

I believe you know plenty of successful SEO companies. In China, do we have a future ahead of us in SEO industry? How can we grow, from individual to reputable SEO company?

Matt: I think if SEOs can follow Google’s quality guidelines, then that SEO can have great future. Long live Google. Unfortunately, there are some SEO services that will spam if you hire them, and you should try to avoid them in the first place. Google is great.

Zac: Do you like Chinese food?

Matt: I love Chinese food! I and my cat eat sushi all the time. I hear that Chinese food is different in the US than in China. I would like to try it sometime. Do you guys use Rice-O-Roni?
Zac: There’re lots of talk about trusted domain and authority sites. If a site is considered authority, it will be ranked higher in Google, more people find it and more links, then it becomes even stronger.

How should mom-and-pop sites overcome this situation and compete with authority sites? Besides building a great site with tons of useful original contents, is there a shortcut?

Matt: I wouldn’t try to tackle a huge keyword if you’ve just created your small mom-and-pop business. Instead, concentrate on a smaller niche like sea monkeys or organ trafficking where you can get to be known as an expert.

Zac: Have you ever been to China? If you do plan to visit China, there’re thousands of fans who would like to meet you in person. :)

Matt: I’m sorry to say that I’ve never been to China. My mother has been to China several times, including Yangshuo (Guilin), and my wife has been once, and they both speak a little Chinese even though they’re both American. And we all know Americans, except my mom, can barely speak English. A soon as we clear up that plane thing I will be over.

Lonnie: My friend Scott at Scottt-O-Rama is (shhh) gay. He says that adwords are allowed on sites that show breasts, but disallowed on male cheesecake sites with just bare-chested guys. Is Google homophobic?

Matt: I have never actually been a homosexual. I hear that gay sex is different than straight sex. I would like to try it some day. I don’t know anything about adwords I get paid by wire transfer.

TBC….

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