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Matt Cutts put out his latest update with Google in his blog.  It appears that Google is now allowing bookmarking within the search engine itself.  The way it’s done is to use stars next to each page you want to bookmark (much like Gmail operates with stars and emails).  Then for any related searches, the bookmarks will show up above all the organic listings in a separate starred list.

And for editing on any of your bookmarks, there’s now a Google Bookmarks page that you can use to go and adjust your bookmarks as you see fit.  Any text you add here will be used to match searches you put in, and will display that bookmark if you search for text within these fields.

How many people use this tool we’ll have to see, but it does have some advantages for organizational use within Google.

The news about Google’s real-time search has been out for a little while now, but many people are still wondering how this is affected by real-life situations.  Well – Matt Cutts was gracious enough to show by example.  He displays exactly how Google tracked a recent mild earthquake and how long it took to show results on Google.

It’s good to see that their real-time search update actually functions as intended, and I can see the potential for it to help in a variety of ways.  Being the top search engine and a huge point where people check on things every day, getting your breaking news from Google (for info relevant to what you’re looking for) may get info to some people (who don’t check the news so often) faster.  Whether or not Google should take this role is not something that’s universally agreed upon, but there are visible benefits.

Most people view PageRank as that value from 0 to 10 that’s in your Google Toolbar, showing how much reputation your site has on the internet. There are some details that you should know if you really want to understand PageRank. Read more

Yes, Google will still show pages even if you have set them up to be blocked in your robots.txt file.  Why exactly, you’re wondering, I’m sure.

Google is actually not crawling any of the URLs you have listed as blocked in your robots.txt file.  What they are doing is displaying the page, just not showing your description meta tag or any information from inside that page.  Matt Cutts gets into more detail about that here:

So to prevent Google from displaying your pages at all, you need to remove the page inside your Webmaster Tools or else use a robots meta tag with a noindex value in it for each page.  Then your page will not show up in Google’s results at all.

You can get more details on this information from Quick Online Tips.

Matt Cutts put up a new post on the Matt Cutts blog early this morning.  Apparently Google has a new page that will allow you to ask questions, take votes, and then have Matt himself answer them on video.  It’s an addition to the Google Moderator pages.

This is great to see, and I’m very interested to see what Matt has to say about a lot of the questions that have already been posted.  Should be interesting.

So last month Matt Cutts posted a blog entry giving away some startling news.  Apparently the “nofollow” tag makes a link still absorb PageRank, but not pass it on.

In the past, most (educated) SEOs used the nofollow tag to adjust PageRank flow.  This was done because using the tag would completely block the link from passing PageRank, and that PageRank was passed on to the other valid links on the page.  This is called PageRank Sculpting.

The way this works is like this: say I have 4 links from a page I run.  The page has 60 “points” of PageRank.  Well, by default, all 4 links each get 15 points.  Before, if I wanted to make some of these links get more points (PageRank Sculpting), I’d add the nofollow tag to links.  So if I nofollow’d one of my 4 links, then the resulting 3 links would now pass on 20 PageRank points, adding more “link juice” to the pages they were pointing to.

From the updates on Google (which, apparently, have been running for over a year), this now is a bit different.  The link that I added the nofollow tag for still absorbs the 15 points, but does not pass this “link juice” on.  So I now have a page with 60 points of PageRank, 3 links get 15 points, and 15 points are lost.

As you might believe, this made many SEOs rather unhappy.  I myself am not thrilled with this news, this now makes me have to rethink/redefine PageRank Sculpting for my own SEO projects.  I know this is going to affect how many SEO’s use their blog comments, as well.  Before, defaulting the blog comments to nofollow meant that all links stayed intact, PageRank points stayed in the places the web developer wanted them to be.  Now, any additional comment (even if they are nofollow) pulls PageRank away from the site page.

Because of this, I suspect many SEOs will now either make their comments in an iframe, or remove comments from their blogs entirely.  I’m of the opinion Google actually gives PageRank to some sites based on links they have going out, not just links coming in.  This is very hard to test thoroughly, but I’m starting to wonder if leaving comments in a blog as dofollow would be better than not.

Eh, I’m just trying to keep integrity and do white-hat SEO, so I’ll try to find the best way to do it all.  We’ll see what comes of it.