It only takes a shrewd interviewer like Erik Enge and a good interview to drag out some SEO tips out of Matt Cutts, Google’s most famous blogger in the SEO field. Despite being somewhat vague, Matt’s answers definitely give some more insight into the Googlebot and some specific Google tips can be distilled out of the answers.
Talking about Digg ans social media marketers, Matt stressed that it’s not about forcing unnatural links but funding creativity to create content people honestly like and find worth to share. This probably means Googlebot likes Digg and crawls it as a reliable source of content.
When the subject changed to links in widgets, twice the message came through that your widget should be on the same domains as your actual website. This results from the Googlebot’s preference for editorial links. When people sign up for a widget with a link in hidden in it,piggybagging all along without the user realizing, the bot will not give the link as much value. Therefor when your widget and anchor texts refer to the same site, the link will be of greater value for Google, unless for widgets that refer to third party sites instead of the widget’s original source.
Another give away concerned anchor texts linking to your site. As Matt mentioned (2 times), it’s probably a good idea to bring some variation into your anchor texts, as the goal is to inform people. A good anchor text should derive traffic naturally anyway, he added. One could conclude that Googlebot looks at the ratio of anchor texts to a site against URL’s to a site, so it’s good to be on the look-out for over optimizing for specific anchor texts.
Further conclusions of the interview point out that reciprocal linking is ok, if not abused and if you keep them as a small percentage of your overall links. Also, Matt didn’t condemn affiliate marketing tactics and the offering of discounts for linking to a certain page. Google would undertake steps though if abuse is reported and if this practice would spam Google’s search results.