I don’t mean for the article title to come off as harsh, but I feel it’s important to warn you: if you’re looking to excel in SEO, Matt Cutts isn’t truly and entirely on your side. For those of you that don’t know, Matt Cutts is Google’s liason when it comes to SEO. He manages the Google Webmaster Central Blog, frequently posting videos and writing articles on the latest Google’s doing in search, and what SEO professionals can do to improve their ranking.
Now, I’m not saying that Matt Cutts’ content is invalid or without tangible use: he certainly does post about useful new information and it’s both interesting and helpful to keep up with. But the most effective lessons I’ve learned about succeeding in SEO are all areas he doesn’t seem to emphasize.
Let me put it to you this way: have you ever asked yourself, “Just who is Matt Cutts and why did Google appoint him the spokesperson for all things SEO”? Why didn’t they pick Jack Menzel, product director for Google Search? Or Dan Russell, head of search quality? Both are prominent figures with friendly personalities who bear a similar level of responsibility as Cutts.
Well, to answer that question, we need to take a look at what Matt Cutts was (and is) in charge of. Matt’s an engineer who deals with spam; in fact, he’s the head of webspam. Most of his career has been dedicated to sorting and removing spam. This sheds light on what Google really thinks of those who implement SEO, we’re spam. And when you think about it, many of us are. If Google were to risk telling us its secrets, it’d find itself in a degenerative spiral of plummeting search result quality, because someone out there would use their understanding of how Google works to exploit it and make low-quality search results appear higher in SERPs than they ought to.
It simply isn’t in Google’s best interest to advise us on how to perform more effective SEO. Instead, they advise us on how to create a quality website— and the Venn diagram of those two things does overlap, but not everywhere. Not where it really counts and not in the areas where you can really get ahead of competitors that are also actively pursuing SEO efforts.
So keep reading the Webmaster Central blog and stay current with what Google’s saying, implement entirely new areas of semantic support (like rel=author and microdata) but don’t trust everything they say and focus on that which you’ve tested and that you know has worked through your own trial-and-error pursuit. Create a trustworthy site that’s host to great content, but also exploit what works, even if it’s subject matter Matt Cutts avoids or denies altogether.