Matt Cutts Answers Questions About Advertorials and SERP Subjectivity

Matt_Cuts_Answering_SEO_QuestionsIt’s that time again! Time to talk about some questions and answers posted up on Matt Cutts’ YouTube channel. Matt Cutts is the head of the webspam team at Google and today he’s talking about advertorials.

Advertorials are basically like native advertising but look much more like natural content or editorials. The problem here is that many times when people come across a piece of advertorial content, they think it’s editorial and that the writer isn’t getting paid for that content. A lot of the time advertorials pass PageRank, which is problematic when they aren’t disclosed as such. If it’s found out you’re doing this, you could see some SEO penalties heading your way.

In order to avoid penalties, you need to disclose the content’s advertorial nature to Google. You can do this through optimization tactics like the rel=”nofollow” tag, which tells Google not to pass PageRank for it.

The second question Cutts answered had to do with how Google thinks of search quality when relying on subjective signals. He explains that the assumption here is faulty: that Google can’t determine the context of the search query when it comes to SERPs. They can often determine the context of a query. The human quality testers can infer context by looking at the domain and the query. Even if they aren’t familiar with the subject matter, it is easy to see how the two are related.

He does caution that search engines can’t be completely objective because they are made by humans and they all have their own philosophy and algorithms. Some might show more diverse results while others might favor particular sites over others. It’s just how it works and total objectivity isn’t possible in this regard. Every search engine will have different ideas of what the best search results are and there is no exact science determining what “best” even means in terms of what sites should rank higher than others.

At the end of today, as SEO and website optimization have some inherent subjective qualities. But that shouldn’t be viewed as a negative thing. If anything, it allows good content and good websites to naturally rise to the top. So the next time you’re feeling like the SERPs are getting you down, remember that a human touch graces all algorithms.

That’s all for now. Be sure to stay tuned for the next installment of Q and A’s with Matt Cutts.

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