Google Says SEO Is Not Spam

Matt Cutts, head of the Google’s web spam fighting team, has gone on record by saying Google does not consider SEO to be spam.

Matt said outright, “We don’t consider SEO to be spam,” and added that SEO is “a valid way to help people find what they’re looking for via search engines.”

He did add that there are bad SEOs out there, typically known as black hat SEOs that can produce web spam. But in general, SEO is not spam and there are plenty of good SEOs out there.

Matt has said several times at conferences that SEO is not spam, but this is the first time he devoted a video to it.

Here is the video:

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Webmaster Central | SEM Industry: General | SEM Industry: Outsourcing

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • John Nagle

    It’s noteworthy what Cutts avoided talking about. There’s no mention of “social” spamming. There’s no mention of “places” spamming. He doesn’t mention link spamming, or even ad-heavy pages. It looks like a presentation to show B-level executives worried that Google will punish them for hiring an SEO firm.

    Link farms have been a problem for a decade, but Google has some defenses against those. “Places” spamming has been a huge problem since late 2010, and Google’s defenses there are weak. Now we have “+1″ spamming. Google is very quiet about their deficiencies in that area.

    Search Google for “buy plus one”. You’ll find many suppliers. One is even running a Google ad. The going rate for a “+1″ is $0.15 to $0.25.

  • http://www.homecliq.com Zakary Venturo

    +1 spam sounds really weird to me.

    Not that people won’t pay for it, but the effect of +1 is heavily related to who the searcher is connected with. So for someone to do this kind of spam for money, to even be effective, would mean they are rather well connected across many different accounts.

    For instance, I follow Danny Sullivan on Google Plus and I have witnessed search results coming up with him noted as someone who +’d an article. That means something to me. I know Danny is unlikely to have followed me in returned-but that reflects Danny’s expert status in field and my comparative obscurity. When I do the same search without signing into Google, I have different results, including the position of SERPs because there is no + data to work with for Google.

    That’s why + spam sounds weird to me. Maybe someone can sell the idea of adding + one’s, but the effect of it wouldn’t stand up well I think.

    Also there is a similar effect going on in Bing because of the relationship Microsoft has with Facebook. A like reflects in the SERPs because the person searching is having his or her results weighted by who they interact with on Facebook.

  • http://www.essexportal.co.uk/ Jon

    It makes sense to clarify this. A lot of people new to the web are totally confused about what is good practice and what is not. SEO gets a bad rep and for good reason too. The bottom line seems to be that there is nothing wrong with doing SEO (which although MC only really talks about on-page stuff he is also alluding to link building in all its forms) if you do not spam and if you site is good. If the site is rubbish then SEO is a waste of time for most people. That, at least, is how I interpreted it!

  • http://www.shellshockuk.com shelli walsh

    I find this comment very interesting timing considering the recent changes with the privacy bombshell last week. If Google doesn’t consider SEO as spam then why has it thrown a major spanner in the works of white hat, ethical SEO’ers who use essential data such as the keyword referrals to optimise their campaigns? This move now makes life a lot harder for the SEO world unless you are paying through PPC of course.

  • http://www.nedpoulter.co.uk NedPoulter

    Good to hear a little bit of positive news from Google over the last few days… Can’t help but be sceptical and see it as a ‘keep going guys’ type PR-stunt.

    That said, I completely agree. For too long our industry has been hounded by cowboys and while it’s interesting to hear everyone’s opinion, I am fundamentally against poor [and destructive] SEO practice. The type that I think was incredibly well articulated in a post by Matt Gemmell entitled ‘SEO for non-Dicks’ http://bit.ly/rt9aHj

  • http://www.playmania.ro P.M.

    Google promotes good seo and bad seo, but there are a lot of eg where good websites dedicated to users, with strong information are low ranked because other websites that buy ads and promote their links for money, are high ranked. Google takes into consideration exactly the websites useful to their self development: facebook, links from google+,youtube. Isn’t this bad seo ?

  • http://www.clickfire.com/ Emory Rowland
  • X.P.

    I think it’s kind of funny that he says there’s a lot of white hat SEO out there, and then ALL of his examples are on-page stuff. Lets face it. The work done by SEO’s is mostly off page , and the only difference between white hat and black hat is whatever the Googles decides the difference is. One day they’ll really nail down personalized search and we can all forget about this off-page SEO nonsense (yeah it’s nonsense). At that point, on-page SEO will just become best practices for web developers to follow.

  • http://seo-alien.com S.A.

    The bottom line is this… follow white hat techniques, don’t use automated software that “spams” directories where you have no business being and don’t use misleading links. It is pretty much common sense stuff, just play by the rules and you will be fine.
    Unfortunately, there is a lot of snake oil in SEO firms that take advantage of people that just don’t know better and it is those companies that make it difficult for the better companies.

  • http://www.makeasizzlingwebsite.com MarkD

    This has all been said before . I would like to hear something new maybe related to their last algorithm change . On page SEO can only do so much so off page seems the way to really promote to get results other than using PPC campaigns.Social signals such as +1 and likes seem to be distorted because of the friend (acquaintance) factor.
    The best white hat methods I find to be found in the SERPs is links. The more links, backlinks, bookmarks pointing towards your site the better.

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