Matt Cutts Talks Search and Bad Links   Matt Cutts, Competition, Search Optimization, and Legitimate Business

About a month ago, a UK-based Marketing consultancy called Click Consult did something smart. Click Consult posted and started updating the collective words of wisdom of Google’s Matt Cutts to a web site they registered call The Short Cutts (and Matt’s short cuts are at theshortcutts.com, get it?).

This is brilliant in several ways. And the topic here, strong as ever, is Influency*.

I’ve mentioned Matt Cutts a few times before. Mr. Cutts is a Google engineer, and the head of Google’s web SPAM team. In short, this means that if you’re being naughty with the way you do search engine optimization, Matt Cutts is your worst nightmare. Notwithstanding questions about what SPAM is, in real-world terms SPAM is whatever Matt Cutts says it is.

TheShortCutts is a collection of all the videos Matt Cutts has done for Google’s WebmasterHelp channel on YouTube. And rather than merely posting links to all the Matt Cutts videos, Click Consult has summarized the answers to the questions Matt is addressing. The Short Cutts is SparkNotes for Search Geeks!

Which I care about, but just a little bit, and you don’t need to care about at all since you know enough to hire the Answer Guy to handle your search engine optimization.

What’s worth discussing, more that The Short Cutts itself, is how many things this marketing firm did correctly in setting it up, and why doing the influency thing, and practicing long tail marketing require that you pay attention to lots of stuff.

Click Consult, despite being located in the UK, is operating a .com website. This isn’t exactly rocket science, but I’m struck by how often businesses ‘over there’ instead get lazy and register .co.uk sites. TheShortCutts is also a .com.

Somewhat remarkably, despite being the kind of site that attracts a not-mass-market audience and being very new (TheShortCutts was registered on March 14, 2013), TheShortCutts is currently measured by Alexa as more popular than all but 132,000 web sites in the world over the last three months, which since it’s only a month old means its traffic is really much higher than that.

The most significant reason for the high traffic is that TheShortCutts, at least among a certain group of people has ‘gone viral’. But let’s look at some more numbers that suggest The ShortCutts won’t be staying in its lofty position.

  • TheShortCutts.com generates about 3% of its traffic from search engines (answerguy.com, by contrast, gets 21% of its traffic from search)
  • People who find The Short Cutts don’t stay there; the average number of page views per visit is barely above one, and over 92% of visitors “bounce”, which means they leave immediately after seeing the front page of theshortcutts.com. Contrasting Answer Guy Central again, our average visitor views over four pages per visit, and our bounce percentage is under 4%
  • TheShortCutts, a web site belonging to an English company, and registered in The USA, is more popular in India than anywhere else. Most likely this is because a huge portion of the Search Optimization Business and others who spend countless hours tweaking the way web sites look to Google are located there.

TheShortCutts.com Traffic Rankings

So is TheShortCutts really doing Influency and long tail marketing the right way?

It’s hard to argue with the viral thing; The Short Cutts gets a lot of traffic. But based on what we see, this traffic will drop off; there’s really no reason beyond its novelty and a well-targeted audience for The Short Cutts to generate traffic. So on the one hand, The Short Cutts is doing everything right, but on the other, with search engines not interested in it and the novelty certain to wear off, The ShortCutts Will Be a One-Off Traffic Burst Unless They Add Something Compelling to Draw New Traffic.

So ‘the long tail’, in this case, turns out to be a very short tail, after all.

We know a little about what makes Google think you’re important. And since GOOG isn’t really sharing, you’d probably like to pay attention to this long-tail marketing thing and follow the rules a little better than TheShortCutts (ultimately) does.

Because there really aren’t any short cuts to grabbing the long tail.

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