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Is Attacking Matt Cutts Appropriate?

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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:29 AM

Barry Schwartz's Search Engine Roundtable reports an incident in which Matt Cutts is interviewed and the article contains a large number of followed links are included.
 
The interview is about what people use to perform their jobs and "get stuff done".  Matt did not scimp on the tools, applications, hardware, sites, etc. that he uses.  It is typical for interviewees to link out to sites they recommend and while this interview has a high number of links, did it break any Google rules?
 
The structure of the Usesthis.com is the same for everyone interviewed.  Every post is filled with outbound links to various sites that people use to do get things done.  The site is a community of mini-sites, all of which contain interviews with people from various industries and professions, asking them what they use to do their jobs.  You can see some of them here.
 
As of today there are currently 451 interviews in 79 categories, mentioning 3900 bits of hardware and software.
 
When the interview with Matt Cutts went up, it received a backlash from people who called Matt a hypocrite for using so many keyword rich anchor text links in his interview and an affiliate link at the bottom linking to the hosting company.
 
Search Engine Roundtable shows the hoopla in SEOs Calling Out Google's Matt Cutts As A Hypocrite?

 

The affiliate link is not part of the interview.  Rather, it is part of the site itself, put there by the site's owner.

 

Matt Cutt's takes a lot of abuse and is an easy target by those who dislike Google.  He may open his mouth and insert his foot sometimes but we all do that.  

 

In this situation, I feel that Matt did as he as was asked and, like the other interviewees, provided great leads on resources that many people may wish to try out.  Keyword rich anchor text is necessary for user understanding for where the links go, despite the paranoia SEO's have about it.  

 

The Usesthis website is an interesting concept.  If it earns authority status, it may be a nice referral site in the social community space. 

 
 
 
 
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#2 glyn

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:06 AM

I think that in 20 years time we will learn that Matt Cutts was a dummy and actually never existed.



#3 EGOL

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:36 AM

Matt Cutts is really lucky.  Really lucky.

 

People are just sayin' that they see links in his article that look manipulative.  No real harm done.   He's a big boy.

 

When Google sees links on your website that they THINK look manipulative they slap you down and leave you with $500,000 worth of inventory in a warehouse that leases for $5,000/month, and six employees that get laid off.

 

Matt Cutts probably meant no harm in publishing that article.   That guy with the merchandise and employees at the leased warehouse might have done the same.

 

Matt Cutts is damn lucky he still has a paycheck comin' in and doesn't have to sell his cats and fry their Fancy Feast for his dinner. 

 

I think that it is time for a little reflection on having a machine that treats people like weasels when you got no idea.

 

Webmasters get "real world education" from Google... Webmasters calling Matt a hypocrite?   ha ha ha... No comparison.  None.


Edited by EGOL, 08 April 2014 - 10:39 AM.


#4 earlpearl

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 11:19 AM

Oh yeah, EGOL.   tell it like it IS!!!!!!!   

 

I like that!!!!



#5 cre8pc

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 11:29 AM

People are just sayin' that they see links in his article that look manipulative.  No real harm done.   He's a big boy.

 

The entire website is built on links.  Rather than attacking him for being part of it (which I admit is a bit suspect), the reaction was aimed at Matt Cutts only.

 

This is what I feel is the injustice.   Its too easy to go after the mouth piece for Google rather than doing some research about the nature of the site.



#6 EGOL

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:04 PM

Rather than attacking him for being part of it (which I admit is a bit suspect), the reaction was aimed at Matt Cutts only. 

 

This is what I feel is the injustice.

 

Its too easy to go after the mouth piece for Google rather than doing some research about the nature of the site.

 

I think that it is absolutely appropriate to tell Matt what he needs to hear.

 

How many webmasters have been slapped down hard because google thought that their links were manipulative, then they got stuck with $500,000 of inventory, a five year lease at $5000/month, and employees on unemployment. 

 

Google slaps lots of sites for links that Google thought were paid, google thought the webmaster made and none of that was true.

 

Engineers should know all about Type I and Type II errors.  

 

If somebody calls them hypocrites that is a lot better than losing their paycheck, selling their cat, and eating fried Fancy Feast... and I would rather do that stuff than layoff my employees.

 

No sympathy here.  Matt should know what it is like to be blamed for stuff that was unintended.

 

I really like Matt.  I have great respect for him.  Just saying that getting splashed with a little mud will be good for his character and cause him to do some reflection.

 

How many times have you written a little code and got unintended results?  Google does that too but don't know it.


Edited by EGOL, 08 April 2014 - 06:09 PM.


#7 earlpearl

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:26 PM

I agree with EGOL above.   Google and MC are power incarnate and they need not be accountable to anyone.  They aren't.  They live in a different cloud.

 

They wreak havoc on others, intrude and take their pieces of business when they want, tell others not to steal content and have been stealing it left right and upside down and there are no limits on them.

 

Take one's shots at them where ever and whenever until there are limits on them like the rest of the world!!!!!



#8 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:44 PM

Matt has no problem getting snarky in tweets when he punishes abusers. He laughs at those he punishes. I see no problem with calling Matt out on the fact that HIS guest post/interview uses a lot of keyword-rich anchor text links that Google would happily and snarkily punish others for. 



#9 EGOL

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:59 PM

Matt has no problem getting snarky in tweets when he punishes abusers

 

Oh man... I didn't even think of that.... And somebody like JCPenny gets off easy... but Joe Schmoe gets dropped strait into Hell. 



#10 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 01:12 PM

Kim, let's take this from the standpoint of thinking of this not as Matt, but just as some webmaster dude. Let's call him JohnBoy.

 

JohnBoy works for XYZ, Inc. He gets interviewed and is thrilled to be able to throw some anchor-rich text links into the article - some of which link to his company's properties and some to his own personal site - which he knows will help his company's site and his personal site rank better. Yay! Opportunity! SEO all the way! 

 

Google comes along and believes these anchor-rich text links are not editorial. They are manipulative because - like in guest posts - they are placed there by the guest poster (or interviewee, in this case). Therefore they are not really "votes" by the webmaster - they are placed there by the interviewee. So they should be nofollowed. Since they aren't, the website should be punished for unnatural outbound links, and the recipient of the link juice (JohnBoy's company) should be penalized for unnatural backlinks or Penguin, or both.

 

So....now, we remove the name, JohnBoy, and substitute Matt and Google for XYZ, Inc. - and BAM! Matt/Google gets away with exactly what they would punish others for. So yes, Matt himself needs to be raked across the pavement for this.



#11 bobbb

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 02:16 PM

He laughs at those he punishes

 

I'm laughing a little bit too because I have almost weaned myself from google search. My webstats show more traffic (not huge) from other search engines so I must not be alone.


 


Edited by bobbb, 08 April 2014 - 02:16 PM.


#12 jonbey

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 02:53 PM

Surely it is about the purpose of the article. Matt Cutts was doing an interview and linking out. Nothing wrong with that. Unless you can prove that he was deliberately building specific links to manipulate the search engine there really is nothing more to say.

 

Of course, what Donna suggests could happen too. But then, probably only if the site was found to have done some manipulative link building. If it is well made and managed then what is the problem?


Edited by jonbey, 08 April 2014 - 03:08 PM.


#13 margoupson

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:09 PM

I read Matt's article when the SER post first came out. I guess I didn't see what the big deal was, either.

 

He did use a ridiculous amount of links. Some were autobiographical (linked to a picture of his cats, for example), and were meant to show anyone not familiar with him who he was and what he does. Because, surprisingly, not everyone follows his every move with either a pitchfork or party streamers in hand.  :D

 

All of the rest of the links pointed to products he uses for work and travel, so people don't have to go search for the product if they're interested. I looked through some of the other interviews, and most everyone else did the same thing. These posts really aren't that different from the "25 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite...." posts that are all over the place every Christmas. 

 

All of the issues with links and Matt Cutts aside, it's actually a really interesting website. I could definitely kill some time browsing around there. 



#14 cre8pc

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:15 PM

So yes, Matt himself needs to be raked across the pavement for this.

 

I see the points being made here. He did a huge dis-service to that website because now, everyone who wants to join that site's community and create their own interview websites will likely face the same punishment as MyBlogGuest and its community.  

 

I continue to feel that the nobody would ever have noticed a thing had it not been for Cutts' interview.  

 

I continue to feel that the Twitter hoopla was not constructive.  The original complaint was from someone who saw an affiliate link at the end of the interview and went bonkers on Cutts, when it was not a Cutts link but rather, it belongs to the site owner.  It was a witch hunt and I feel that events like this one discredit the industries were work in.  

 

If I were that site's owner, I'd be nervous as hell right now.  Cutts did on his site what Google penalizes other websites for.  If I were a site owner who created a community in Usesthis.com, I'd be wondering WTF.



#15 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:50 PM

I agree that those kinds of links SHOULDN'T be a problem. But they very much ARE a problem in so many circumstances, even when they SHOULDN'T BE. So the fact that Google punishes links like that on sites all the freaking time, THAT'S why this was such a big deal.

 

It's kinda like saying to Matt, "hey matt, how would you feel if you were suddenly penalized by Google because of that article?"

 

His reply would be "But why? Those are legit links!"

 

And Google would say, "They are not nofollowed, and are not editorial, therefore we penalize you".

 

And Matt would be unable to do anything about that reasoning.

 

It doesn't matter if that's the way the web works, or if those links are useful. Logic doesn't matter. What matters is that Google punishes people for these kinds of links now, and Matt just peppered that site with those kinds of links.

 

Pot...meet Kettle.



#16 seosmarty

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 04:09 PM

Wow Donna and EGOL (!) are on fire!

 

I haven't joined the Twitter sentiment on that interview even though a few people tagged me in Tweets and FB updates... I just don't feel it's my style but I don't see anything bad about calling Matt out either. After all, he OBVIOUSLY was enjoying himself penalizing MBG. He was tweeting the second before the site lost rankings - he was tweeting WHILE pushing the button. Do I think this is right? Nope :) Do I think attacking Matt is bad? Nope :) I just can't force myself into doing that even though I don't think that's a bad thing



#17 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 04:23 PM

If it wasn't for the fact that the poor UsesThis site would be unfairly targeted, I could imagine how interesting it would be if people threw a bunch of negative SEO at that article. Just to prove to Google how such a thing can be harmful to a poor webmaster, and through no fault of his own, the poor dude would have to jump through a million hoops to get rid of all the links, AND beg Google for forgiveness, even though it wasn't his fault. So...I wouldn't be surprised to see a negative seo campaign thrown at the site to prove a point.

 

Of course, what Donna suggests could happen too. But then, probably only if the site was found to have done some manipulative link building. If it is well made and managed then what is the problem?

 

Doc Sheldon's ENTIRE well-made site was penalized because he had two measly guest posts. Just sayin'. 



#18 EGOL

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 05:05 PM


 

Doc Sheldon's ENTIRE well-made site was penalized because he had two measly guest posts. Just sayin'. 

 

Yes. Yes.  People write to me almost EVERY day trying to get their articles published on my site.   Some of them are professors, some are heads of government agencies.   Some of them just want me to make a little mention and a link on my blog so the people who read it can see good work that they have done.    People from NASA and other agencies write and ask me to link to their articles from within my existing articles. 

 

For every one of these I get fifty from obvious linkbuilders and PR people.  People want me to link to a dental site.. for goodness sakes where they posted a big pile of rubbish way down on the assofthesite where the dentist isn't going to see.   I have filters in my Gmail account that trash common phrases of SEO language so I am not seeing half of it.

 

Some of these linkbuilders are so sneaky that they have probably gotten the Pope to link to their stuff.  I have an industrial strength BS meter and even sleep in a tinfoil hat and these people can fool me.  No kidding.  

 

So, I am just sayin' that it would be really easy for the average Joe Schmoe who owns a blog to be tricked into doing something that would make Matt Cutts pretty upset and press the "Ban" button on his CP.... and Matt Cutts saying that everybody should use  nofollow is off-the-scale arrogant.   Does he think that everybody on this planet who owns a blog is reading his stuff?    My goodness!   

 

That is like saying that you better not publish a website and expect it to be Found unless you read and worship all google utterances.... duh... but aren't we supposed to make websites without regard to pleasing search engines?   I think I have heard plenty of Googler's say that..  Why are they waiving a stick over us?  They need to adjust their expectations or publish some clear commandments. 

 

 

So, Matt stepped in some doo.  It's easy to step in doo.  That's what he needs to see.  It's doo made by Google.  Its hard NOT to step in it if you are trying to run a good website. 

 

 

I am not saying this stuff because Penguins are after me.  The aren't.  Just responding to unreasonable expectations from google.  They want us to jump through hoops because their algo is built on a bad foundation.


Edited by EGOL, 08 April 2014 - 05:34 PM.


#19 jonbey

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 05:37 PM

I have a new policy. For every guest post request that does not look like spam I simply suggest it should be a sponsored post. Low rate. Generally the guest bloggers have zero budget so walk away.



#20 EGOL

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 05:44 PM

I bet you will get lots of checks from JCPenny.



#21 earlpearl

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:38 PM

I bet you will get lots of checks from JCPenny.

LOL   I don't know where you get requests for paid links....but is this a "hint".  Ha ha.  I've received them from reps of other branded sites.   

 

 

Of businesses and their named reps, Google and MC are fair game.  They are huge.  They make the rules.  They have zero accountability.  They ruin other businesses.  They muscle their way into industries with big dollar opportunities   (the google hotel search box is a great example).   They make rules for others and disregard them for themselves.

 

They are very fair game.  Meanwhile in the seo world, there are an innumerable google lovers, that sing google's praises endlessly and butter up MC and his team.  They disregard all the negatives.

 

Within the SEO world there is a lot of money to be made sucking up to google, google, google.  

 

No matter what MC writes or says the google lovers will praise him.   

 

Its even more reason to take shots at the behemoth and its spokesperson.



#22 EGOL

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:45 PM

I really like google and Matt Cutts too.  I am just giving them honest feedback to improve their business. 

 

If they ran a real website they might understand things a little better.

 

If I was the boss out there, I would hire about 100 people who are experienced and successful webmasters to be webmaster advocates.


Edited by EGOL, 08 April 2014 - 06:47 PM.


#23 glyn

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:15 AM

EGOL, you may enjoy this reading which has MR C suggesting that there could be different levels of Penguin - it's another great sign of respect to those businesses that have been hit with Penguin that they should learn about this in a throwaway tweet from Mr C. It's so convenient.

 

In other news it seems that Google is expected to cull keywords even from their paying advertisers - so all you do now is hand over a bagful of cash and say.."please spend it well google people, you guys are the best!". It's no surprise to see that TripAdvisor is now pushing hard their own PPC platform for hotels or that Google is going into the travel market more heavily as the US market alone is worth 1.3 trillion.

 

g



#24 EGOL

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 08:17 AM

Thanks glyn.

 

I think that the "different levels of penguin" remarks are simply for FUD.  They may have them.  I don't know.

 

Culling keywords from paid advertisers is crazy.

 

They need to change their slogan from... "Organizing the worlds information".... to..... "Organizing the worlds information and keeping it in a vault".



#25 earlpearl

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:29 AM

EGOL, you may enjoy this reading which has MR C suggesting that there could be different levels of Penguin - it's another great sign of respect to those businesses that have been hit with Penguin that they should learn about this in a throwaway tweet from Mr C. It's so convenient.

 

In other news it seems that Google is expected to cull keywords even from their paying advertisers - so all you do now is hand over a bagful of cash and say.."please spend it well google people, you guys are the best!". It's no surprise to see that TripAdvisor is now pushing hard their own PPC platform for hotels or that Google is going into the travel market more heavily as the US market alone is worth 1.3 trillion.

 

g

 

UGGGGGGGGGGGGGG   those sonuvabiatches!!!!    Actually I don't pay much attention to adwords in analytics and sort of read them and analyze them differently going to adwords direct.   I probably should have...but I just didn't scrutinize adwords conversions on keywords  versus organic.

 

In direct ways and in subtle ways big Goo-ogle has been taking a knife to all the webmasters out there and has disarmed them all with regard to critical knowledge.  Its knowledge google has and uses.  Its knowledge google keeps from you.

 

Which keywords work?  Which keywords work to drive clicks on which sites?  Google knows.  You don't.   When google recently slightly changed the font/character size/pixels on  what is showing in meta tags...google will know the difference on clicks from keyword phrases.  You won't know that.

 

Google will redesign their pages and show information in different ways and it will monetize google.  It will cost you traffic or cause you to spend more on advertising.  Google has a monopoly on information.  Its a very expensive monopoly.

 

Sc3ew em.   but I gotta use em.   Therein lies the dilemma.



#26 cre8pc

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 10:29 AM

Not to yank you all away from Penguin-Land....just wanted to provide Barry's update which mentions this discussion and he added a poll.

 

Should SEOs/Webmasters Attack Google's Matt Cutts?

I received a wee bit of negative vibes via Twitter from people who didn't bother to read the discussion and assumed I was Cutt's best buddy, defending him and stuff.  Which just adds to my points earlier that it is far easier to whine and respond with knee jerk reactions than do any research first.  

 

Cutts is an enormous draw at conferences. Attendees pack into giant rooms just to hear what he has to say, or especially, announce.  Before he speaks, he shakes hands and can be seen standing before a long line of people wanting to have their picture taken with him.  He is, in fact, a nice guy with a ready smile and approachable personality.

 

However, he also writes and takes actions in his role as the Google mouth-piece AND as his own person.  If I said I felt his interview was no different than any of mine, where I try to link out to excellent sites I support, I would be scoffed at for being naive.  Matt is no longer permitted to be Matt, the person.  He is now Google property, representing them.  Everything he does is scrutinized as being the Word of GOGGGGLE.   Most of us are able to have a work identity and personal one, but Cutts is not permitted the same by the SEO industry.  He is held to a higher standard, especially because all the harsh rules and changes we learn about come from him.

 

When he writes something - anything - he is pounced on.  Barry says he accepts this.  

 

There are countless, solid reasons to despise G###le and I'm fed up with that company.  This is a company that appears to do whatever it wishes, answers to nobody, and takes pleasure in achieving power.  It seems like Matt drinks from the same Kool-Aid.  Clearly, as shown by this latest incident, Cutts can break their own rules.  (If I were that site owner, I'd be panicked right now for the future of the site.)

 

My question is about getting results.  It's about resolving issues.  No amount of pouncing on Cutts has much of an affect on what Go###@@ will do.  They don't appear to care what Cutts does.  So chasing after Cutts is going to solve what?

 

Emotional outbursts on Twitter can't be expected to be taken seriously by anyone.


Edited by cre8pc, 09 April 2014 - 10:33 AM.




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