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SMX West 2010: Ask the Search Engine Pros

Panelists in the session were Arnab Bhattacharjee from Yahoo, Matt Cutts from Google, and Sasi Parthasarathy, Bing from Microsoft. Moderatking the panel was Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land and Matt McGee initiating the Q& A session.

So here are some questions that were discussed in the session. Let´s go over them.

Question: Is it a problem if my whole site is in secure https:// format?
Answer: Matt: No, secure websites like paypal are being indexed by the search engines and they show up in search results.

Question: Is there a way to hide the date in Google search results for blog posts? Example:
Ask the Search Engine Pros
Answer: Matt: Users like to see the date, so Google does not let you remove it. The date is inferred from when the post was first indexed, or from the date on the post itself.

Question: Should we be sculpting our Page Rank? What´s the best way to do it?
Answer: Matt: Adding no follows isn´t a good use of your time. Spend time optimizing your website architecture. Page rank dissipates as you pass through more pages. Put content that will make money close to the root / home of the website. Instead of sculpting page rank, spend that time creating new good content .
Arnab: All of the so-called micro-optimizations don´t really help. Arnab concurs with Matt.

Question from Danny: If already have great content and optimized website architecture, does blocking links with nofollow or another method help your page rank?
Answer Matt: No, blocking some links doesn´t increase the page rank flow. Google makes its own assumptions about where to pass link juice, even if you are trying to block links. Google wants to see what people see and focus on relevant links. Don´t get obsessed with PageRank.
Danny: Why not remove the page rank feature if people are just getting obsessed with it?
Matt: It´s not removed because regular people use it to determine how reputable a page is.

Question: What´s up with Google & domain authority with big sites like Wikipedia? A blank Wikipedia page ranks higher than my website.
Answer: Matt: Big sites aren´t always going to out-rank small ones. Wikipedia does a good job of SEO & has authority, so that´s why they rank well.
Arnab: If your website has great content & relevant links, then it is likely to rank higher.

Question: If Bing makes an algorithm shift, will that affect Yahoo immediately?
Answer: Arnab: Yes. Bing & Yahoo search results will be the same. Yahoo will innovate on the experience but core 10 links will be the same as Bing results.

Question: Is it beneficial to use CSS to keep your content at the top of the page?
Answer: Matt: It´s not a huge thing for Google. Google crawls a lot more of the page than they used to. You don´t want to bury your content after 5 pages of code, but if your content is good, you don´t need to worry about CSS usage much.
Arnab: At Yahoo it´s not a really important either

In Conclusion, Matt mentioned that Google Caffeine will be launching in the next couple of months as anticipated. The panel discussion didn´t change a lot of what we know about SEO – content is still king.

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Contributed by: Bhuvana Krishnan, Michelle Pate, Milestone Internet Marketing

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