cutts
Google’s Matt Cutts, left, and SMX Advanced organizer Danny Sullivan.

Hundreds of Internet and mobile search marketers are gathering in Seattle this week for SMX Advanced, learning about the latest search-engine optimization techniques and strategies for higher rankings in search results.

An annual tradition at the event is the entertaining audience Q&A with Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, which represents a critical part of Google’s efforts to ensure the quality of its search results. The updates rolled out by Cutts’ team, small and large, can have a huge impact on search results and web publishers, so the session is heavily attended.

At the event this evening, Cutts talked about updates to the company’s PayDay Loan algorithm and its process for reconsidering appeals from site owners over ranking penalties, plus the latest updates to Google Webmaster Tools.

But in terms of fundamental takeaways, Cutts dished out some tough love when addressing a question about his own link-building strategy.

Here’s an excerpt from what he had to say.

I post useful things. That’s my link-building strategy. And there’s a lot different variants of that. There’s all kinds of ways to add value to the web. You can be the person who does analysis. You can be the person who writes interesting research. The person who takes data and slices and dices it, and visualizes it in a way that no one has ever seen before. You can have a perspective that no one else is able to replace.

Think about the Walt Mossbergs of the world. You can’t become Walt Mossberg overnight, but you can build up to it. You can build up to it in smaller niches, and build up your topic area more and more until people know that you’re the person to go to for this area.

It’s easier to be real than to fake being real. The era of shortcuts that will guarantee No. 1 rankings is quickly coming to an end. At this point, it’s easier to just have those authentic conversations, and do the work, and get to be known in honest ways. That’s what stands the test of time.

Conference organizer Danny Sullivan, keeping the mood light, responded to Cutts’ remarks by citing BuzzFeed’s gallery of “40 Dinosaurs Having Sex” as a prime example of content that stands the test of time.

See Search Engine Land’s live blog for more. The SMX Advanced conference continues Thursday morning with a presentation by Microsoft Bing on the company’s Cortana artificial intelligence technology and the future of predictive search.

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