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Matt Cutts Debunks SEO Myths

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about SEO myths in his latests Webmaster Help video where a user writes in to ask:

What are some of the biggest SEO Myths you see still being repeated (either at conferences, or in blogs, etc)

Ad-related Myths

There are a lot of SEO myths, as Matt is well aware, and he says one of the biggest myths he always hears is “if you buy ads you’ll rank higher on Google.” There’s also an opposing theory where people think if you don’t buy ads you will rank better on Google. Another common one is that some people think Google makes the changes it does to drive people to buy ads.

Matt debunks all of these theories by describing the rationale behind the changes Google makes. Google wants to return really good search results to keep users happy and keep them coming back. Happy users are loyal user, and that’s why Google does what it does with search results.

Of course it’s great if ads get clicked on, but Matt says they would never make an algorithmic change to try and drive people to buy ads. Buying ads won’t help or hurt your organic rankings.

You Can’t Buy A Solution To Good Rankings

Matt says that you should never be afraid to think for yourself. He says this in reference to the discussions he sees on black hat forums where they also sell software packages that claim to be able to help users make money online.

Matt poses his own theory: “If someone had a foolproof way to make money online, they would probably use that way to make money rather than packaging it up in an ebook and selling it to people.” 

The idea that you’re going to be able to buy a software package or an ebook and solve all of your problems is a bad idea, Matt says. A lot of the tools sold on forums have the potential to do more harm than good, and just because someone claims to have made a lot of money online doesn’t mean they really did.

Matt suggests the best solution is to align yourself with Google’s goals, which is to return the best search results to users. If you align yourself with those goals then Google will want to return the high quality pages you’re making. If you don’t align yourself with those goals and are intent on using black hat tactics to earn rankings then you’ll constantly be in opposition with Google and angering users.

To hear Matt’s full response in his own words, please see the video below:

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

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Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert articles he contributes to many well respected publications across the web. Contact him via his website if you'd like him to write for you.
Matt Southern

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10 thoughts on “Matt Cutts Debunks SEO Myths

  1. Ok, we’re gonna listen to what Matt says. Don’t buy links – for example. And than just watch your competition outperforms you, because they are buying links and they’re enjoying good rankings and you are not. So, Matt, should I buy links if I know that you can’t catch me?

  2. I heard of a foolproof method to get to the top of search results to make money. I’m now going to cancel the account. Bloody AdWords ripoff.

  3. Poor Cutts, he must be fed up of all the spam and endless, paranoia driven questioning. Mind you it is his job, so perhaps he loves it. Quite a powerful position to be in.

    He’s right about the fads, though. It was all about infographics at one point, now they are largely ignored. You just have to be yourself, I find, and don’t resort to cheap tactics.

  4. I have to go with people who believe that buying ads on Google will improve their ranking because in the past, there were some major changes made to search algorithm to only highlight the sponsored / affiliates of Google (you remember Google shopping results?). However I personally have a firm belief that buying ads would not do any good to organic results but still, people need words to live by; right! Just my two cents.

  5. no matter how much explanation and justification is given by Matt, SEOs will never accept that the site buying Google Ads performs better than the one not doing so.

  6. The best solution to align yourself with Google’s goals is create a high quality page and give all of your online marketing budget to adwords …. and then say good bye to Mr. Panda, Mrs. Penguin and Matt Cutts Twitter.