Matt Cutts Answers SEO Questions About Common Mistakes, HTTP Vary: User-Agent and Negative SEO

Matt-Cutts-Google-SEO-May-2013It’s time once again to dive into some answers Google engineer, Matt Cutts, provided to questions on his YouTube channel. Hopefully his answers will give you the tools you need to make significant improvements in your own SEO strategies.

The first question we’re going to cover has to do with the most common mistakes people make regarding optimization and what web masters can be doing better. He first points out that not having a crawlable website is offense number one. Another common mistake is failing to use the right wording or keywords. He suggests thinking about what the user will type into Google and use those phrases in your site optimization tactics. Make business information as accessible as possible like business hours and things like that.

The next question has to do with the HTTP Vary: User-Agent header and whether or not Google still recommends using it. Normally, when you visit a website, it is cached so you don’t have to put a load on the server every time you visit it. However, if you’re visiting from different devices (like a desktop and a smartphone), it’s important that the server sends you the appropriate version of the site. Inserting an HTTP Vary: User-Agent header in your site’s header will tell the server which version of the site to load depending on what device you access it from. Google still suggests using this even though Akamai no longer supports it.

The third and final SEO question we’re going to talk about today has to do with negative SEO. Cutts explains that whenever they release a new algorithm, they try to thoroughly think about how people could possibly take advantage of the system and potentially frame another site. One of the biggest ways people can do this is to link to a competitor’s site in a malicious way in an attempt to drop their rankings.

Cutts suggests using the disavow links tool to combat this. To use it, all you have to do is upload a text file to your site listing out all the backlinks you want Google to ignore. Easy! You can pick and choose which links you want ignored or even state that you want Google to ignore all links from a particular domain.

That does it for this week. Good luck with your SEO efforts and be sure to come back again soon for more answers to your most pressing optimization questions.

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