Matt Cutts, as you may know, is the head of Google's “search SPAM” team. He's really the face of Google to all us “SEOs” out here in internet marketing land.
- SEOs confuse algorithm updates with data refreshes.
- Panda & Penguin algorithms are not about making Google more money in the short term.
- SEOs spend too much energy and time focused on link building and only thinking about search engines.
Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land made the following comment on point #1:
Gee, you wonder why SEO professionals confuse algo updates and data refreshes? Because you, Google, name them the same!
On point #2, of course, Cutts is going to say that. There is an opposing perspective on this: Google wants companies to stop paying for SEO and instead spend that money on…you guessed it, AdWords! Since Google is trying its damnedest to obliterate search engine optimization, and especially link building, who really doubts their intentions?
Point #3: Follow the logic. Google's algorithm has, at its core, backlinks. The number, quality, and relevancy of backlinks is the single biggest set of factors in their algo. Everybody knows this. Google may be attempting to change that perception; hell, they may even be trying to change it in fact.
But taking backlinks out of Google's algo is similar to Windows taking out Explorer (remember those lawsuits?)…it can be done, but it will take time and the “user experience” that Google is so prone to carp on about incessantly will suffer for their own users.
Here's a tidbit: People don't bookmark sites nearly as often as they used to. They simply “google it.” Now, what happens when Google makes a wholesale change to its algorithm, say, from counting heavily on backlinks to–oh, I don't know–number of Justin Bieber fans who +1 your site on Google Plus–and you looked yesterday for “hampsters with machetes” and then today because you naturally didn't remember the URL to that awesome site Google pointed you to yesterday so you go back again and…can't find it?
SEOs focus on backlinks because Google said so (not in so many words but definitely with their actions)…
Now, I am not one of those SEO guys who gets thousands of backlinks from all over god's green earth. I have always believed that quality and relevancy trumped (or should) quantity…Google didn't always agree with me on this, but they came around to my way of thinking!
Everything matters when it comes to SEO and getting sites ranked highly on Google! But backlinks matter a lot (more than anything else) and probably always will.
So, is Matt Cutts full of shit or is he not?
I happen to think he's just Google's spokesperson and tows the company line. After all, Google pays his salary. He has a vested interest in doing what they want him to do when they want him to do it, which is to say, “create great content and your SEO is done.”
I call BS.
If Google's results bore this out, that would be one thing. But I constantly find crap listed at the top of their results. How could this be?