Google Releases New Holiday Webmaster Help Video

spn_exclusive1Happy end of the year, fellow Internet addicts! Matt Cutts just released a new Webmaster Help video – and this one’s short and sweet. In it, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, offers up a few tidbits of advice… things to add to your final 2012 “to-do” list before you ring in the New Year.

I’m planning on getting all three of these items accomplished myself, simply because they’re vital to my business since I work exclusively online. If you make any portion of your living online like me, then I’d suggest you think about knocking this stuff out in a hurry as well.

Protecting Your Computer

Cutts vehemently warns that everyone should install Google’s Chrome browser as soon as possible in order to prevent malware from running rampant through your hard drive. Of course, he works for Google, so this is a not-too-subtle plug for using the company’s browser.

Of course, you can use whatever browser you want (I’m a Firefox girl myself), but he brings up a good point. I’d just like to expand on it a bit. Run every one of your antivirus scans – in-depth – and clean your registry. Then run your disk defragmenter. In addition, delete all those temporary files lurking in your computer and restore all of your Internet browsers to their factory settings (or, at the very least, clear your cache).

It’s important to make sure your operating system and all programs are up-to-date as well. These should all be routine tasks, but let’s be honest – we don’t always stay on top of this stuff like we should. Take a day this week and whip your computer back into shape. The “end of the world” has come and gone (and we’re still here!), so set yourself up for success in 2013 by creating a secure work environment for your online business.

2-step Identification

If you’re a Gmail user, set up 2-step identification immediately.

It’s the ultimate way to protect your account against hackers gaining unauthorized access. Gmail account hacks have become an all-too-common trend these days, so adding an extra layer of security is essential to protecting your private correspondence and sensitive personal data.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about a man who had maintained a successful content-selling website for the better part of five years. It was a runaway success, and the site’s stats were nothing less than enviable. The site followed the membership model, and hundreds of people were signed up for monthly content-delivery services.

Then, suddenly, the webmaster found himself locked out of his site. I stumbled upon his story when I discovered his frantic posts begging for help in a popular online forum. The hacker had redirected his URL to some random website that he didn’t recognize. When he checked out the WHOIS data for his site, he nearly had a coronary.

The hackers had transferred the domain to their account, and the “new owner” was some unreachable guy in Dubai. The registrar was little help. The webmaster could do nothing but sit back and watch his life’s work dissipate in the blink of an eye.

He lost his entire inventory of content.

His monthly income.


Wanna know how they got in?

You guessed it – they hacked into his Gmail account and completed the rest of the process quite easily from there. Moral of this story: set up 2-step verification. It only takes five minutes, and setting it up now may save you years of anguish and hours of investigation down the road.


Matt’s last suggestion is something that I’m seriously guilty of neglecting myself. One word: backup. We all create content every single day for our online ventures, but saving it in Word, uploading it to WordPress, and calling it a day is simply not enough.

If my laptop fell on the floor, for example, my hard drive would be toast. If I wanted copies of my writing, I’d be forced to track down my published work and make copies of everything to secure backups of what I’d have lost. There would be no way I could pull that off – my work is everywhere now, and I write every day. Think of how long it would take to track it all down by memory alone.

That’s why you should create backups of your work routinely – whether it’s making copies to a jump drive, burning your content to DVDs, or even storing your stuff on a backup computer. Put it somewhere. Personally, I’m planning on trying one of those online backup companies in 2013 – seems easier and more secure than leaving a jump drive laying around. In addition, I could access my data from anywhere.

Remember that the New Year gives us all the chance to reinvent ourselves. We can fix what we screwed up, remedy sticky situations, and start ourselves off on the right foot in 2013.

Take Cutts’ suggestions to heart this week and give your online business a much-needed makeover – I know I’ll be right there with you.

Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the ‘net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.

About the author


Nell Terry

Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for'SiteProNews, one of the Web's foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the 'net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.


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  • That’s rich coming from Google considering they drove around doing Streetview and accidentally hacked everyone’s home network…. Install Google Chrome and prevent Google hacking you!! You can’t make this up.

  • At least #2 & #3 are good advice by Matt Cutts. I don’t know about Chrome being hack free.

    I am also a Firefox person and I have seen Chrome failing to work sometimes. So, I am still sticking to Firefox.

  • Happy new year Nel and all your fellow readers.

    I agree with the other commenter that the browser choice isn’t so clear cut – I think all the major browsers have their strengths and weaknesses these days.

    As for Antivirus – I’ve used Vipre Antivirus for years now and it has done a great job of protecting my PC – and doesn’t seem to slow things down like so many other AV progs I’ve tried.

    When it comes to backups… you can’t beat just dumping everything to a DVD-R and putting it somewhere safe. My friend and I have each others DVDs at our houses – so if my house burns down, at least my backups will be safe. I know it’s a crude and not particularly sophisticated method, but it works for me.

  • May be I should seriously consider the advice. I was a big fan of Firefox as long as the Google Toolbar was available for firefox. After it was discontinued, switched over to IE. Updagraded IE 9 to IE10 but uninstalled it as few programs didn’t work with it. One thing which I don’t like about chrome is not being able to use toolbars, which is a big help. Some of them are quite useful, finding the PR, ALexa rankings is a must have, which is not visible like in FF and IE.

  • My first comment in 2013,
    nice article by Nell Terry, I used to backup on google Docs or media Fire 🙂 So important to keep your content Safe!

    Nice Suggestions to remind every one


  • Thanks for this post. I used Chrome maybe for only 2 days and later went back to my good old Firefox. Cutts may be unobtrusively promoting Chrome as you said he is a Google guy which is understandable.

    Your point of backup is but extremely important. Just before the new year, my hard disk got destroyed due to over heat but ALAS! I lost very valuable documents for good.

    The Gmail security thing is wonderful. I am off to do it right away.

    Too bad for the webmaster who got his site hacked. I feel for him.

  • Wow, what useful information from Matt, if he hadn’t mentioned backing up data and running anti-virus on my system I would never have thought of it!


    How about Matt give webmasters some actually useful information?
    Or is everything Google does now an official secret and he’s run out of things to talk about?

    No offense to Matt, I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy. But when you have a corporation wielding so much power and cloaked in so much secrecy, stating the obvious like this is almost an insult to everyone out there working hard to get somewhere.

    Matt – please come back with something we can ACTUALLY USE, and not just inane rubbish.

  • Some of them are quite useful, finding the PR, ALexa rankings is a must have, which is not visible like in FF and IE.

    its the program that have extionsion or plugin not the browser 🙂

    and also Chrome uses more Ram as compared to firefox i think

  • This article hits home, excellent advice, I`ve had both my gmail account hacked and lost my computer contents. I had not thought of putting it on DVD though. Great idea.Thanks

  • Great article as usual Nell! Love your stuff. In as much as browsers are concerned, I use Chrome on a regualr basis, BUT, there are still some programs that will not run on it, so, IE9 is my back up choice for those. As far as Chrome being virus proof, I would have to say I think that’s just a “plug” for the Google browser of choice. I was a tried and true Microsoft fan for years, so, my virus protection of choice has been MS Security Essentials. It has worked flawlessly for me and you can’t beat the price!

    I too am guilty of no regular backups and I do need to get in the habit of safeguarding my material and sites. Good story regarding the fellow marketer who was hacked…and a good reason to get into the habit of doing regular backups. I have always relied on my hosting company to do that and that’s probably NOT a good idea. I like the idea of backing everything up to DVD and storing it someplace secure, so, I’m off the the store to get more as I am going to need them!

    Happy New Year to everyone and best wishes for a prosperous 2013!

  • A few comments from a certified computer technician:

    1) Delete all temporary files (Disk Cleanup helps, CCleaner is better at it), temporary Internet files, AND old restore points (turn system restore off on XP and Vista then turn back on, just remove restore points in 7) prior to using Disk Defragmenter, otherwise you are just defragmenting temporary files that takes much longer to do. Your computer will ‘fly’ after this cleanup (as long as your hardware is in good shape and you are running enough RAM)!

    2) I highly recommend doing the 2-step authentication. No matter how good your passwords, security is only as good as those that use it – a keylogger malware can easily capture your passwords and transmit them to the bad guys.

    3) I don’t agree that Chrome is the better browser. I have read there are serious security holes that no one seems to want to admit to, although none of the browsers are security-hole free. I use and like Firefox – use ad-block plus with it to add another layer of protection from malware (since the bad guys know how to inject infected code into otherwise benign advertisements on ANY website).

    4) If you are using XP, STOP using IE and use either Firefox or Chrome – both are better and more secure than IE8 (the most recent version for XP is IE 8) which is just riddled with security issues even after multiple attempts to patch it.

  • I totally agree with the 2-step verification process. Most people tend to dismiss it thinking that their password is a mix of words and numbers and no one can crack it. But there are people in this world who like to take away things from those who are good at what they do. They can’t tolerate those who earn a sincere living. I can only imagine the plight of that web owner, watching his years of work destroyed by someone else’s mischief.

  • As a webmaster, spending sometimes 12 hrs a day on the web, I’ve gotta tell you that all browsers have problems and I must use them all on work. Firefox, Chrome, IE