Matt Cutts Answers Tough Questions June 12, 2013

When Matt Cutts speaks, the search industry listens.
Yesterday at the SMX conference in Seattle, WA, Danny Sullivan  interviewed Matt Cutts in their annual “You & A” keynote session.

The session started out with a light joke by Danny Sullivan asking, “Will PRISM allow us to see ‘not provided’ search terms?”

Matt Cutts did state that they were “getting ready to pull in a new signal that should get some people out of the grey zone.” which was really exciting to hear.

Matt also stated that Google stopped announcing new updates all the time, and that it was tiring and difficult to execute.  He said that most of Google’s search updates were quite small and that most changes were barely noticeable.

Danny asked the question a lot of search marketers wanted to know: “Why is spam still getting through?

Matt replied that “no update will be able to target every situation.”  He stated that the first Penguin went after the home page and the second generation of Penguin went much deeper in the site.   He also stated that there will be another update coming soon to go after SPAM from hacked sites.

He also specifically mentioned that they would be going after payday loan sites today.  Also mentioned was that most future updates would not be named.

Only 15 minutes into the session Danny asked Mr. Cutts “Why doesn’t Google just disavow all the bad linksfollowed by a roaring applause from all of the SEO’s in the room.

Matt replied that “this should be seen as a temporary market correction.” and that “you have to go after good links now.

We’re moving to a healthier world in search, spamming is getting harder and harder.”

Matt followed up to his own response that “People are much less likely to pay for links,” and also stating that sites are cleaning up and going white hat after getting penalized (and that it is more of a sustainable business  model).”

Which again reinforced Google’s code of usability.

Next, Danny asks “How can we know what works anymore?” (which I felt was kind of a boring question)

Matt’s response was typical “Our standards have been pretty consistent from the beginning, If you aim for fantastic user experience, you will find it easier to get traction and links and everything else.”

Matt also stated that they were going to be testing sending example URLs in messages to webmasters in WMT. So if you get a penalty in WMT they will include some example URL’s to show you exactly where you’ve messed up.

Again, this really doesn’t seem to be a big deal.  If you don’t know what SPAM looks like by now then you shouldn’t be here.

We learned from Matt that penalties do vary in severity, and that some domains you might have to wait until the domain expires!  He also stated that the length of penalty matches the severity of what the site is doing, and how often it is repeated.  Penalties will automatically expire, but the web spam team are finding new ways to “take a second look.”

A few audience questions

One very interesting tidbit Matt shared with the audience was that we need to consider mobile problems, “such as all mobile URLs redirecting to one mobile URL.”  If Google sees this, they might lower your rankings for your site for mobile searches.  He added that slow mobile sites could be penalized and that these updates may be out soon, and are already implemented in Japan.”

An audience member asked Matt if he should disavow right away when they receive the WMT message.  Matt responded that you should do some cleaning up before hand, and that Google wants some help cleaning up the web.

He was also asked by an audience member why all data isn’t available in WMT, Matt replied that you should download it as you go (even though he agreed it would be nice)

Matt replied to the “why is Google so big brand focused” with “it is not.”


Matt answered more questions we already knew, such as slow sites get ranked lower, they like sites that add value, and there are tons of bad affiliates.

Something else that I’d like to note that is a common misconception amongst webmasters: bounce rate does not affect rankings, and that it is way too easy to manipulate.

Cliff-notes from the Matt Cutts SMX Interview

Bounce rate does not affect rankings

They are going after pay day loan sites specifically

Penguin 2.0 targets more inner pages

Update coming out soon that will target hacked sites

Make good sites

Do good SEO

Penalties automatically expire

I just want to see the Google Shoes: A fashion rundown

Matt Cutts rocked the Google loafers hard.  Nothin’ better than a pair of white white slip on’s with some jeans.

It appears as though Matt had trimmed down in his waistline significantly.  He wore a distinguished dark blue polo with a pair of tailored fit dark denim jeans.

We dig your look Matt!

google shoes

The infamous Google shoes.

Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe is the founder and CEO of Elite Strategies Llc. Patrick takes a hands on approach to managing Elite Strategies and loves to get involved with technical projects relating to clients inbound marketing needs.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe

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