More threads by djbaxter


Jun 28, 2012
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Google’s Gary Illyes Urges SEOs to Stick to the Basics
by Matt Southern, Search Engine Journal
Feb 11, 2019

During his recent AMA on Reddit, Google’s Gary Illyes advised SEOs to stick to the basics. In particular, that means making sites more crawlable. ... he also recommends focusing less on updates and metrics developed by rank tracking software.

Here is Illyes’ full statement:

“i really wish SEOs went back to the basics (i.e. MAKE THAT DAMN SITE CRAWLABLE) instead of focusing on silly updates and made up terms by the rank trackers, and that they talked more with the developers of the website once done with the first part of this sentence.”​

Illyes reiterated that statement further down the thread when asked about his favorite SEO conspiracy theory, [which he views] as evidence that SEOs are not focusing on what really matters.

“I don’t have a favorite, they generally want me to crawl up in a corner and cry, because we don’t do a good enough job getting people to focus on the important things… like CREATING A DAMN CRAWLABLE SITE.”​

Illyes took a subtle shot at rank tracking tools at another point during the AMA.

A user asked Illyes a question and kept repeating the term “link velocity,” which Illyes was clearly not thrilled about.

Illyes responded:

“I would love if you didn’t focus that much on links and made up terms like link velocity.”​

Of course he is correct for the crawlability aspect. Making a site crawlable & fast lies between the developer and the SEO. The primary task of a developer is to make it work, not make it efficient. Then the SEO comes along and says, can you make it better/faster? At which point the company's limit on resources come into play and the work is slow to get upgraded.

As far as focusing on links, I think this is misdirection. Google is still having trouble knowing a 'good' link from a 'bad' one. Not talking about spammy ones, but more on how the links have been acquired.
If you take into account his comments over the last little while, I think his main point is that SEO people (MOZ, Randfish have been singled out recently) create these hypothetical constructs which acquire a life of their own and those are what he's telling you are a waste of time. I tend to agree with him: This is what SEOs are doing these days to sell services in a search world which is increasingly becoming about local.
Yes, that makes sense. I don't follow Rand, nor the gossip part of the industry very much so I didn't clue in that there might have been an indirect criticism in Google's message.
@djbaxter naled it on the head. And to an extent, Gary is telling the truth. You also have to understand he is very irritated with SEO people in general. "Link velocity" probably isn't a real thing but many of the other ideas SEO's come up with are. And he can get upset all he wants but we're working with what we have because Google is so tight lipped. I'm not saying they shouldn't be, but this is what you get when that happens. It's the eventuality.

I do agree with him though to an extent. Just focus on providing great content and the rest will take care of itself. Well, at least for non local anyway.

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