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Google’s Matt Cutts On SEO Industry Misconceptions: Updates, Revenue Goals & Link Building Obsession
Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, released another video today named What are some misconceptions in the SEO industry? In short, Matt outlined three topics in this five-minute video.
(1) SEOs confuse algorithm updates with data refreshes.
(2) Panda & Penguin algorithms are not about making Google more money in the short term.
(3) SEOs spend too much energy and time focused on link building and only thinking about search engines.
Here is the video and my summary will follow:
Algorithm Updates Versus Data Refreshes:
Matt explained that one of the biggest misconceptions he sees in the industry is that SEOs often confuse data refreshes and algorithmic updates. This is a topic we covered before at least once, but in short, here is the difference. An algorithm update is when Google changes the algorithm on how the search results are ranked, indexed or filtered. A data refresh is when Google updates the data where the algorithm runs. For example, we had a Penguin update recently; and, that last update was an algorithm update. There was a change to how the algorithm worked. Prior to that, Penguin 3 and 2 were mostly just data refreshes.
Panda & Penguin Updates Are Not About Revenue Gains For Google:
There are many people in the industry that feel Google releases algorithm updates, such as the Panda and Penguin updates with short-term goals of increasing their revenues. Matt said that is absolutely false and the algorithm and organic search results are completely separated from revenue goals.
Matt added that in one of the older earnings report, Panda was listed as a reason why Google’s revenues may not be as high in future quarters. Simply because Panda may have short-term negative impact on Google’s revenues. Why? Because Panda’s goal was to eliminate low-quality content sites that monetized mostly over AdSense revenue.
Then, Matt goes into explaining how Google looks at long-term goals, making the searcher happy, so they come back and search more. Google has methods for letting users take their data and leave. Google is rarely interested in short-term revenue goals, Matt added a few times.
Clearly, this is the PR side of Matt talking; but in my opinion, he 100% believes it.
SEOs Focus Too Much On Link Building & Search Engines:
Matt’s final point in the video is discussing what SEOs spend too much energy focusing on. They include link building and search engines, as opposed to their users. Matt said they can spend more time on social media and other areas to help build awareness of their sites.
He then discusses how the history of great sites, those sites generally focus on design and user experience first. This way the user is happy and recommends it to others. Matt added that Craigslist is a great site; but, their user experience is not great. So, there are many startups that come in and beat them on user experience to take over in some niches.