Before Search Marketing Day SEO Conference: interviewing Googler Kaspar Szymanski

an interview with Kaspar Szymanski from Google

Cezary Lech: Kaspar, your personal brand seems to be more and more visible at European industry events – are you about to become the European Matt Cutts :)?

Kaspar Szymanski: I appreciate the recognition regarding me and teams time spent in reaching out to webmasters across Europe. Personally, I think it’s great to have someone like Matt be so active in communicating with webmasters. Our goal is to make sure that information about website best practices reaches the largest possible number of webmasters. That is why I and a lot of other great people at Google work hard to answer questions at events and conferences all over the world, in a variety of languages. If by doing so we manage to help some webmasters to improve their sites, then we’ve done our job well.

CL: On the second day of the event we will discuss some tools commonly associated with black hat techniques. In my personal opinion, any tool can be used both ways for white hat SEO or straight forward spamming, e.g creating 100’s of thousands of spammy profiles linking from international forums to a particular doctors site landing page. What’s your take on that matter?

KS: I am not familiar with any particular tools you are referring to but creating loads of PageRank passing links in an automated way can hardly be a Google webmaster guidelines compliant approach. It is always interesting to see what the industry comes up with, however I want to be clear that we strongly discourage black hat techniques of all kinds. Also these kind of backlinks tend to have a short life within the Google link graph, so in my personal opinion it sounds like a waste of time and effort which can be better spend on making a great website for your users.

What is your favorite SEO industry myth? Recently I was surprised by an industry guru saying linking to other sites resulted in your sites ranking going down. What do you think of SEO legends like this one? What is Google planning to do about this? What is — in your opinion — our industry’s most vicious myth?

Great question! I believe the worst one is about AdWords having impact on SEO. I’ve said it so many times at conferences and at our forums. It is great to have you as an AdWords customer, but if you get caught spamming in the Google index we will apply the same policies to your sites as we would to any other site. There are no double standards.

What is in your opinion our industries hot topics?

I guess that is one of our more visible, rolling out globally this year algorithm updates, popularly called Panda. While this algorithm change may not be visible everywhere yet, the general principles listed in our blog post can be applied to any website. So if you feel that your website might have content that isn’t up to par, then I’d strongly recommend resolving that as soon as you can — not necessarily for our algorithms’ sake, but do it for your users.

There are rumors about you having a surprise announcement at the Search Marketing Day:)

My primary objective is to help webmasters understand the Google webmaster guidelines, not to make announcements. That said, I was rather hoping for some surprising and interesting questions at the panel :)

Search Marketing Day is scheduled for the week following the SMX Advanced at Seattle; can we expect some exciting news? Something like “nofollow doesn’t work any more” for example? :)

I guess we’ll have to wait and see about that :)

Follow Kaspar at Twitter and LinkedIn.


Cezary Lech

The Partner & Head of Marketing at MaxROY.com, a consulting agency which has been an official training partner of Google since 2008.The organizer of the SearchMarketingWeek.com training as well as the international conference SearchMarketingDay.com on online marketing – one of the largest events of this kind in East-Central Europe. The author of numerous articles and presentations concerning SEO, Content Marketing as well as other aspects of online marketing.

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