Infographic: The Matt Cutts Debunking Flowchart

Officially, Google distinguished engineer Matt Cutts heads Google’s web spam fighting team. Unofficially, he’s Google’s chief debunker. If someone seems to be talking crazy about Google, Matt may turn up with a polite clarification. When does Matt react? This is Search Engine Land’s guide, based on years of observations (you can click to enlarge it).

The Matt Cutts Debunking Flowchart

Origin Of The Flowchart

This flowchart originally appeared two years ago, on May 31, 2011. I was delivering on a promise I once jokingly made to Matt, that I would outline his debunking process as I’d observed it from afar to work. Matt hit three debunks on that day, so I quickly punched out a flowchart, a simple version, made in about an hour. The original can still be seen here.

New & Improved!

The flowchart became more popular than I ever imagined. That made me want to get a nicer version made. For its two-year anniversary today, I’m happy to present the updated infographic from the folks at Column Five Media, who do great work (thanks Travis, Jason & Kelsey). The content is the same as my original, but it’s more fun and more colorful (except for the language — I changed one word to be more office-friendly).

Get Your Copy

Want the infographic for your site? You can also directly host the flowchart, as long as you credit this page and link back to it in some way that seems reasonably appropriate. Here are two sizes:

Even easier, just use our embed codes below:

Small PNG – 600×464 (104k)

Large PNG – 1000×773 (177k)

Want to print a copy? Here’s a PDF version suitable for that.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Features: Analysis | Features: General | Google: Critics | Google: Employees | Infographics | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • ELLO

    This is perfect, I was already a fan of flow charts, but this goes beyond.

  • Thomas Rosenstand

    This is just my kind of humor :-)

  • Matt Cutts

    I totally just made this my desktop wallpaper. ;)

  • Kevin Burke

    My chart would end at “Is he a nutjob?” Yes. They’re all nutjobs.

  • Michael J. Kovis

    I spit my drink all over my monitors when I got to, “#$&^. Is it true?”

  • Dugdale

    Danny I love it!

  • Nicholas Orr

    This is a fantastic flowchart, well done :)

  • Marj Wyatt

    Thanks for putting this flowchart together. My truly laugh-out-loud moment arrived at “am I bored?”

    While I do have respect for Matt Cutt’s authority and knowledge, some of the goings on with Google’s methods of separating wheat from the chaff are so subjective that I’m not sure how they could program the fuzzy logic.

    Like it or not, Google is a force which we must handle.

  • B.C.

    Love it give us more!

  • Haiqal Egan Rao

    Frankly, the flowchart is too complicated… can you make it much simpler version?

  • Igor Mateski

    This was a great read. Quite a way to start this day. Thanks for the fun stuff!

  • I.H.

    Seriously man! This flowchart is amazing!

    Coming to think of it, isn’t this the most common strategy for everyone including politicians?

  • Aniruddha Badola

    Very soon we will see a Matt Cutts video debunking this Flowchart too!

  • I.S.

    @ Haiqal Egan Rao ! Flow chart is to give simple view of complex question. Not sure how the flowchart became complex to you. lol !

    I love this flow chart :)

  • Pat Grady

    If I’m a paid member, do I need to add rel=nofollow to your embed code?

  • Danny Sullivan

    Heh. No :)

  • Durant Imboden

    Nicely done!

  • Ash Vyas

    LOL. My day always stars with searchenginel. But today it was searchengine land + laughter ride. Today have few crucial meetings and such laugh ride actually made my day. still giggling.. I would love to see Matt’s reaction on this

  • Gagool

    I’m amazed about how the lionization of Matt Cutts, an unscrupulous manipulator in a nice-and-helpful-guy disguise who caused much more harm throughout the years to the target audience of this site than any good, just keeps going on and on.

    The flowchart would be funny if it weren’t (perhaps unwittingly) reflecting the sad reality about the basic insincerity of this guy.

  • Kushal Biswas

    Nicely done. Made my day :)

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide