Aaron Wall Interviews Matt Cutts

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Source Title:
Aaron Wall Interviews Matt Cutts
Story Text:

Aaron Wall of SEOBook has a great interview with everyone's favorite Googler Matt Cutts. To be honest there's a whole lot of stuff there worth reading so you should read the whole interview, but here's what he has to say about SEO's.

Is all SEO spam?

Absolutely not--I need to do a post about this on my blog sometime. Lots and lots of search engine optimization is white-hat and not spam at all. Things like making a site more crawlable, tweaking the words on a site based on what users type in or what you see in your server logs, and gathering links by coming up with creative ideas or services that make people link to you naturally. To me (and Google), spam is search engine optimization that is outside our quality guidelines--things like hidden text, hidden links, doorway pages filled with gibberish words that do a sneaky JavaScript redirect, and so on.

Comments

All SEO is NOT spam -- Yeah!

I love that Matt comes right out and says that all SEO is NOT spam as it finally can stop that silly argument on forums once and for all.

Why, just because matt says

Why, just because matt says so?

but of course.

Matt's blog = official word of Google, Nick.....

Exactly

One can safely assume (I think) that what Matt is saying on that issue is most likely Google's view as well. I suppose someone should get him to clarify if it's just his view or Google's though.

Yeah..

...but for all we know he's just trying to suck up to DH

"As you do"

I think all se's consider

I think all se's consider doing anything for se's as meddling, and that what they say in public is not necessarily what they say at the office.

having said that, i believe him when he says "making sites se friendly" etc...

honestly Jill

if it is their official view all it demonstrates is that the guidelines on their site shouldn't be taken at face value - everyone who uses the 'all seo is spam' argument is taking the piss, not seriously arguing the point....

also

Quote:
spam is search engine optimization that is outside our quality guidelines--things like hidden text, hidden links, doorway pages filled with gibberish words that do a sneaky JavaScript redirect, and so on

is a classic example of using a lot of words to say nothing. Anyone here know any spammers that do that stuff nowadays?

You have to admire the way he does it :) Matt really deserves to work for a company which would give him people to back up his masterful PR-speak properly instead of the clueless bunch he gets lumbered with...

Nice interview... he does

Nice interview... he does come across as a very fair minded person but does this reflect the rest of the team at the plex? How the heck do I get my five year old site back when it's technically still in the Google index, but beneath a pile of scraper sites and dodgy-redirections from other places - even if you search for the exact domain name (which nobody will bloomin' do!) it's on page 6.

No point e-mailing Google as suggested in the interview about issues like this... you get the standard "Look, it's in the index if you search for etc on page 10"

There's the

There's the quote:

"To me (and Google), spam is search engine optimization that is outside our quality guidelines--things like hidden text, hidden links, doorway pages filled with gibberish words that do a sneaky JavaScript redirect, and so on."

Interesting

A very interesting and enjoyable read, which I would have missed without Threadwatch.

On a minor sidenote: I get a tad annoyed by grammar and spelling mistakes, and some of Aaron's questions are full of them. Slightly disappointing, but I'll get over it eventually.

roops

On a minor sidenote: I get a tad annoyed by grammar and spelling mistakes, and some of Aaron's questions are full of them. Slightly disappointing, but I'll get over it eventually.

You probably will be a tad annoyed by my stuff for a while then ;)

I thought I did a spell check on it. If you ping me with the errors I can fix them and learn from the mistakes.

Good interview Aaron

Matt is an interesting, smart guy and I believe the googlites have made a great decision in allowing him to speak to the webmaster community as the 'voice' of google.

Then Matt Cutts said...

"...spamming attempts in six months or a year from now will not be the same, just as spam attempts today are quite different from a year or 15 months ago. I think the lifetime of off-topic spam in search engines will continue to drop."

LOL - Matt, the people you call the 'black hats' have wanted to do away with off-topic spam for longer than the SE's have. We all knew a long time before google was around that 'off-topic' did not sell nearly as well as as 'on-topic' does. And it is all about selling...

That's official

"To me (and Google), spam is search engine optimization that is outside our quality guidelines"

I wanted to add the "and Google" to make it clear that that is Google's position, not just mine. Written interviews are a lot more work than spoken interviews, but Aaron: thanks for keeping on me to answer those questions.

time for some over-analysis

I just read the interview and I've gotten the impression that technical SEO is dead or dying w/r to G, Google ranking is quite heavily based on links going forward, Matt has personal sympathy for select Mom & Pop websites, G loves buzz, and Matt probably likes watching Google SERPs like some kids like video games - it's the coolest game EVAH!.

SEO's should become marketers or diversity the skillsets. I can't say if it is the inteviewer or the interviewee causing the bias, but it's certainly there.

Just thinking "outside the box" for a second, I imagine that:

  1. Anything can be spammed, so *any* narrowing of citeria (such as relying more havily on links, and trusting links arising from buzz marketing) is akin to adding "trust". Where there is trust, there is a hack. Sounds to me like increased opportunity, not death-of-seo.
  2. Buzz marketing is (by definition??) one of the most easily influenced forms of backlink. If there is anything I learned from my early years as a mail handler for Publisher's Clearing House (yes, the magazine sweepstakes people) it is that you can get a large number of people to do anything if you promise the right reward.
  3. Either G will have to pay alot of manual attention to the serps, or everything outside the top 100 topics will be spammed more than ever. Using a long-tail analogy, that neglect of the long tail will of course have a huge impact, which makes the decay process recursive. I fully expect Google to maintain a serious market share in search going forward, so I doubt they would let that stuff happen. Of course, it' a tough job, but then I hear the pay is pretty good over at Google.

... so I walk away thinking there is alot of change ahead is SE world, and that means increased opportunity for search optimizers willing to put in the time and stay close to the results sets. Kinda the opposite of my impressions after reading the interview.

Which tells me (just instincts talking, mind you) that the interview had a bias (intential or not) and the interviewee an agenda (conscious or not). No surprises I suppose, but in the follow up discussions I would expect to see discussion and debate(?).... if I don't see discussion and debate I have to assume SEO is ready for another "regime change" and/or the discussions are taking place somewhere else (also reflecting a regime change?)

Of course there already is a new breed of SEO doing quite well in Google.

That's a great interview - I

That's a great interview - I was actually thinking today about what sort of questions I'd like to ask Matt Cutts, but I think Aaron asked more interesting questions than I could think of. :)

Well-thought out answers, too - it's good to see such a clear channel of communication on a range of issues, all in one place - and especially to see Google addressing continued issues of SEO for reference.

Good one Aaron

Definitely a good interview. Noticed you never asked him about bacon and he's now famous for it.

SEO's should become

SEO's should become marketers or diversity the skillsets. I can't say if it is the inteviewer or the interviewee causing the bias, but it's certainly there.

Some of my questions were probably a bit biased. Not against SEO gurus like DaveN, JasonD, Oilman, Greg Boser, who love to solve for the algorithms and will always stay ahead. For those types of guys algorithm advances just mean fewer competitors and more profits.

But, my current job (hate to use that word) is writing an ebook about SEO and internet marketing. Many people who read it have never done SEO before. Keeping true with Matt's "A toolmaker succeeds as, and only as, the users of his tool succeed with his aid." I have to realize that eventually the market may be too complex to be able to teach well without a good amount of interaction (ie: my current biz model could likely become crap).

With that in mind I think it is useful to learn other topics such that the sum of the pieces still add up to something if one does not do well with SEO. Long before I had many site visitors I wrote an article about delusional self reinforcement. The more people claim to be something the more suspicious of the claim you should become. And yet there are still many people who do well because people buy self appointed authority. Not the best route for all, but it works for some, and any way you slice it that is interesting. I still believe that people can do well even if they do not know what they are doing, so long as others believe in them (I think many people think I know much more than I do). That is a lesson that is often overlooked. It is so much easier and cheaper to create what people want then to sorta create something kinda cool and then try to make up for it by being semi aggressive on the marketing front.

Some of the more indirect methods of SEO work exceptionally well, and are far cheaper than some of the direct ones. I try to emphasize thinking beyond just counting links and looking at the mechanical aspects of SEO, because most people are probably not going to be able to do well longterm if they are mechanically focused.

Not sure if he mentioned it when I interviewed him, but even JasonD stated that the phone was one of his most important tools in the SEO game.

Noticed you never asked him about bacon and he's now famous for it.

Well, I recently asked a friend about bacon and got a totally different answer than I expected. Am steering away from bacon, as it apparently remains a touchy subject, as it was in the past (I got an entire submarine put on rations for how much bacon I ate).

Bacon and tomatoe...who would make a good lettuce interviewee.

All SEO is not spam...

Just sites made in the last year.

LOL

Quote:
Just sites made in the last year.

And then after the year, they're suddenly not. Very good. :)

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