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What’s New In The World Of Google Meetup – December 4, 2013


Welcome to the first official What’s New In the World of Google meetup recap. Please be sure to join us every Wednesday from 8-9:30 am as we discuss all things Google.

The meetup takes place at the EverSpark Interactive offices located at:

6 Concourse Parkway, Suite 900
Atlanta, GA 30328

RSVP here –

Last week, I opened the meeting with a private press conference that took place in the actual garage where Google got started 15 years ago. Susan Wojcicki (Senior VP of Product Management) begins the press event by welcoming everyone to her old home, literally, and begins to tell the story of how Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were living in the dorms at Stanford back in 1998, got funding for a new project, and were looking for office space. Back in those days, everyone was starting dot-coms, and office space was hard to come by in that area. So, to make a long story short, she rented part of the house to them, and the rest is history.

It really gets interesting around 9:17 when Amit Singhal (Senior VP of Search) takes us back to the days of dial-up modems — you remember, when you would get kicked offline if someone called your home. He goes on to talk about the growth of mobile and even boldly states, “The future holds all kinds of beautiful devices, and Google will keep reinventing itself to give you all the answers that you need in a simple and intuitive experience. And someday, having to pull out a cell phone from your pocket and search will feel as archaic as a dial-up modem.” From there, he spends about 8-10 minutes talking about Google search milestones since 2001, when they first rolled out spell-check (aka Did You Mean?) through 2012 when they revealed their Knowledge Graph. Singhal says, “You should not be spending your time searching, you should be spending your time living,” then introduces us to Tamar Yehoshua, (VP of Search) who takes the next 5-7 minutes to show us how their new design language (aka Hummingbird) and how you can converse naturally with Google. With the new Google Search App, you can simply say, “OK Google” and the app proceeds to do your search and quickly responds back to you with your results.

What I found most fascinating during her presentation was how you can ask Google questions like, “OK Google, compare olive oil verses coconut oil,” and Google (in a Siri-like manor) proceeds to show you the nutritional facts of both. I have already started using this feature while grocery shopping and have been making healthier purchases for my family. But wait, it gets better: Through push notifications, you can say, “OK Google, remind me to get olive oil when I get to Trader Joe’s,” and the app quickly identifies the closest Trader Joe’s and sets an alert to remind you to buy olive oil the moment I walk into the store.

Here is the full video:

From there we watched the following videos and opened up the room for discussion:

Is there an SEO disadvantage to using responsive design instead of separate mobile URLs?

Posted 11/6/2013 by Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam Team at Google


  • If you are going to use an m.domain page for the mobile version of your site, best practice would be to use a rel=canonical tag to avoid splitting the PageRank between those two pages.

Are all comments with links spam?

Posted 11/13/2013 by Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam Team at Google


  • It’s perfectly OK to leave topically relevant comments on blogs and forums that you actively follow, however do not abuse it. Be sure to use only your real name; do not use exact-match anchor-text keywords as your name.


This was a link-building strategy that worked like a charm pre-Panda and Penguin. In fact, there are still many SEO and link-building companies out there (both in the U.S. and internationally) that are actively selling these types of links. Generally speaking, they run a churn-and-burn operation,  get small businesses to give them a few hundred (or heck a few thousand dollars per month), build 500 to 10,00 exact-match comment-spam links per month, engage in these activities for a few months, eventually the client complains about lack of results and cancels. By that time, 10 other small businesses are unknowingly paying these unethical companies to get their sites top-ranking (cough) penalized. This is what gives SEO a bad name.

Is it necessary for every page to have a meta description?

Posted 11/18/2013 by Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam Team at Google


  • OK to have unique meta descriptions
  • OK to have no meta descriptions
  • Just don’t have duplicate meta descriptions.


Meta descriptions, while they help with conversion and click-through percentages, they don’t directly affect search rankings. Indirectly, yes, but not directly. What do I mean?  Google monitors everything ranging from traffic, click-through percentage, bounce rates, entrance and exit pages, you name it analytically speaking. If one of your pages ends up on the first page of Google for any given keyword due to a compelling meta description and the user clicks on your page during the first 5 seconds, stays there for a few minutes, then proceeds to click around the rest of your site, it’s safe to say (all things considered) you might be OK and will continue to rank for that term. On the flip side, if someone sees and clicks on one of your pages after searching for a keyword — where your meta description lured them in again — however in this case, they spend 10 seconds on your site, don’t find what they are looking for, and exits to find something more relevant … well, in this this case, you might not be so safe and could fall back to the double- or triple-digit pages of Google. Google wants to create the best possible user experience, and your page was not the most relevant for this term.

Should I use the Disavow tool even if there’s not a manual action on my site?

Posted 11/20/2013 by Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam Team at Google


  • It’s perfectly OK to use the Disavow even if you don’t have a manual action message in your webmaster console.


Here are a few other good resources around this topic:

How many links on a page should we have? Is there a limit?

Posted 11/25/2013 by Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam Team at Google


  • It used to be the case that Googlebot would truncate at 100K. Anything beyond that would not get indexed, therefore only the first 100 links on a page would even get seen and indexed. Google now recognizes that web pages have gotten a lot bigger (with rich media) so they removed that guideline and now tell us to “keep it to a reasonable number.” Matt Cutts continues on to say that there may be a limit on the file size that they can read now, but it is MUCH LARGER.
  • Just take into consideration that when you start linking out in abundance, you continue to bleed RageRank, therefore best practice would be to only link out as necessary and don’t overdo it.

Until next week, thanks for taking the time to read the recap.

Best Regards

Jason Hennessey

Jason Hennessey