‘Ask Me Anything’ with Google’s Gary Illyes at SMX East

At last week’s SMX East conference, Google’s webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes took questions from the dual moderators — Barry Schwartz and Michelle Robbins — as well as from the audience in a session called “Ask Me Anything.”
In this post, I will cover that question-and-answer dialogue, though what you’ll see below are paraphrases rather than exact quotes. I have grouped the questions and used section headers to help improve the flow and readability.
Off-site signals
Barry: You’ve been saying recently that Google looks at other offsite signals, in addition to links, and some of this sounded like Google is doing some form of sentiment analysis.
Gary: I did not say that Google did sentiment analysis, but others assumed that was what I meant. What I was attempting to explain is that how people perceive your site will affect your business, but will not necessarily affect how Google ranks your site. Mentions on third-party sites, however, might help you, because Google

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