October 10, 2013

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Google’s Matt Cutts

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.

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Orun Bhuiyan

As SEOcial's marketing technologist, Orun loves to discuss his hard-won knowledge on topics like SEO, programming and design. He's an enthusiast in emerging technologies, including big data and the semantic web.
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Base Terminology

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's un-paid ("organic") search results.
The semantic web refers to the next stage of the world wide web and aims to ascribe semantic meaning to all web content through a collection of systems of classification. This means that, in the future, machines will be able to better understand the content we produce, resulting in better search results, new applications and an Internet that is fundamentally different from the one we use today!
What if each of the objects around you had a unique identifier that can be connected to the Internet? The goal of the Internet of things is to equip all objects in the world with tags that allow them to be digitally organized or manipulated. The implications? Less theft, less waste and the ability to control your surroundings in a manner never before possible.
Conversion optimization is the practice of modifying the parameters of a lead-generating system to stimulate a higher success rate as defined by goals. Most conversion optimization is structured to create an increase in ROI (return on investment). We frequently use multivariate and A/B split testing when optimizing conversion, wherein we test two or more systems at the same time, analyze their performance and deduce precisely what action items will bring us closest to the set goals in the least amount of time.
Market diagnostics or analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing business data — especially consumer data. This allows us to assess and improve the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
In many applications today, there is such a phenomenal quantity of data available that it's difficult to collect and process with traditional database tools. The field of collecting, manipulating and drawing conclusions from massive quantities of data from a particular source is known as big data.
What started as a CMS (content management system) that was only meant to create and edit blog content has grown at a tremendous rate to become the most ubiquitous system for developing websites on the internet. WordPress accounts for an incredible 15% of all sites on the web.

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