World's Most Popular Spam Blocker


MediaPost recently published an article on Matt Cutts. I think you have to subscribe to view it, but it talks about all the fanfare and crowds around Matt at conferences like WMW. Gord Hotchkiss also mentions Matt's little black book:

Power is intoxicating, and few people are as powerful as the ones that are the gatekeepers to Google's index. This was demonstrated during the lunchroom session, as someone mentioned a few sites, taking out a laptop and saying, "You've gotta look at this one. You're not going to believe it." Soon Matt was peering at the source code. There, all the secrets of a spammer were revealed: 50 title tags, keywords stuffed in comment tags, hidden text. It was a clumsy black hat attempt. As Matt said, "Yes, it's spam, but worse than that, it's stupid." The offending URL was jotted down in a little notebook. A little later I saw him tucked into a quiet corner, hammering away on a laptop. I suspect the site in question was being yanked from the Google index.

Andrew wonders is that is how they really deal with search spam?



What surprises me most in this whole story is people still spamming in this 1998 style... Stupid indeed. The eejits deserve being kicked out.

On the other hand, if that's the technology Google has to reply upon to tidy up its index, it'll take them a loooooong time to get even close to becoming spam-free...

I love the fact that there

I love the fact that there are still ignorant black hats out there. They take the heat off of us white/white-gray/gray hat people.

Matt has his own gravity

If you've ever been near Matt when webmasters and SEOs are present they get caught in orbitals around him like electrons being irresistably drawn to the nucleus of an atom.

Some try to walk past the Matt flash mob in the hall but the next thing you know they're stuck in the gravity and start their descent in a slow elliptical orbit and soon are stuck to the outer rings of the mob.

He has that certain 'je ne sais quoi' that I call "MATTnetism", or maybe it's just his "MATTnetic" personality ;)

not so obvious, eh?

Matt is an "engineer" at Google. I can't say I agree with the theory that "Matt making notes" correlates with "Matt typing on laptop" nor that the sum equals "Matt having site removed". That's not how engineering works. In fact, that's the opposite of how engineers work.

But how engineers work does play into this, and that link is a fair call.

Site must have ranked for it to get such "you won't believe this" attention at a conference, right? I mean, if it hadn't been ranking would anyone have noticed? And if the ones who noticed were the type to highlight it after a talk at an SEO conference, I think it is safe to suppose the site did NOT have many other high-powered attributes (no 2 million backlink splog network, no fancy cannibalistic 301 schedule, etc).

So IF said site ranked, and had 50 title tags plus more, well would not that be interesting?

An engineer would not run to call it in to be banned. An engineer would send in a curiosity note to the team... here's a site that ranks, and has no merit, but has 50 title tags etc. Is this a clue to an exploit?

I doubt very much Matt would spend 2 minutes on any site that was "stupid spam" except for the conversation value, or perhaps comedic value for a presentation.

I would not be surprised if there was some "total quality" initiative in the company that rewards such things as URL submissions to the R&D department, or certain categorical lists (perhaps used as fodder for presentations) etc. I would also not be surprised to hear of some social reward for those who provide the most assistance towards such a Quality Improvement campaign.

So the real question is... is there an artificial upper limit set in Google's multiple title tag detection system, and is that bug fixed yet? Is there still time to spam the title tag? heh heh... if only the game was so easy.

Yesterday's heros

As soon as the accessible front man changes from Matt to someone else [anyone else] at Google, people will not give two shits what Matt blogs or if he is even in the room at conferences.

There is nothing cosmic or magnetic about this guy... 'being in his presence' for fucks sake... as some people say [elsewhere]. If he wasn't the designated person for ongoing dialogue no one would even know he is in the room or care.

Matt is like the diplomat for a foreign nation... in the past, he was like they were - a public servant or company servant ~ engineer... he did a good job with a crap assignment, so now he is the front guy somewhere.

As soon as they put Matt out to pasture and it's some other guy or gal who has diplomatic immunity everyone will change the leg they want to hump and forget Matt.

I have nothing against the guy, I think he does a good job, read his blog... but I think it's pretty pathetic the stuff I read around the traps from webmasters who really want to hump the guys leg.

And no I'm not having a chop at people who circle around him at conferences, because at the moment he is authorised to comment publicly so you know the line of communication open.

Matt is a true ambassador

"An Ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country."

Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639),

.after posting that, I looked it up and found

However, he spoiled his pun by writing it in Latin, thus reducing "to lie" (ad mentiendum) to one meaning only—and thereby ruining his career.

A couple quick points

I mostly agree with Dominic; there's nothing special about me other than I speak on behalf of Google at times. In fact, there are like 100-200 people at Google who could do exactly what I do, and I think it's healthy to get different people doing different parts of communication and speaking at conferences. We're sending a different engineer to SES Chicago, for example.

Just to set this story straight:
- yup, plenty of people give me feedback from conferences, and I try to suck it all down and process it to keep my ear to the ground regarding what types of spam are going on
- plenty of people also show me sites that probably don't rank for anything at all. Usually it's because the original person is in the same industry. I've had people complain about result #56 on a fairly non-competitive phrase.
- the particular site that someone showed me at Pubcon was one of these silly sites that I don't think was ranking very highly.
- I wrote it down because the site was so funny: it had 50 title tags. It had tons of keywords stuffed in the metatags and comments. Just stupid stuff that wouldn't have any effect on ranking.
- When Gord saw me later, I was checking email on my laptop, not taking action on that site. But when I go through my notes, I probably will pass that site on for us to take action on if there's other stuff on that site (I think they had some hidden text, too). Why let any feedback go to waste?

seo-fun, you nailed it when you said that it was mostly for comedic value in a presentation. I like to show my colleagues some of the wacky stuff that people try, e.g. keyword stuffing in comments? C'mon.. :)

result #56 on a fairly non-competitive phrase

That should be a category on your blog, Matt. Plenty of content down the road, and we would all know that-about-which-you-refer :-)

>mostly agree with Dominic;

>mostly agree with Dominic; there's nothing special about me

Matt: BTW, Dominic, all your sites are now toast. (hhh! couldn't resist, matt.)

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