Listening to Matt Cutts

August 15, 2006

Topics: Search Marketing.

So, it’s taken me awhile, but I’m finally listening to these famous video clips from Matt Cutts, and trying to draw some kind of conclusions.

Basically, as far as I can tell so far, he’s not suggesting anything really surprising. It’s essentially a beginner’s guide to Google’s search guidelines presented via video. Why is Matt doing this?

There have been a number of discussions about the value of these videos, and one big criticism has been that he really doesn’t handle anything higher level, anything really complex, etc. Well…here’s a big question:

What audience are these videos directed at?

Is Matt speaking to the professional SEO’s like those at SEOmoz, elite professionals like Aaron Wall, or Ammon Johns, Danny Sullivan – or anybody else discussed here? Or, possibly, is Matt speaking to experienced webmasters with little search engine optimization knowledge, mom and pop shops, and other beginners?

I’d argue that the entire point of these videos is to create a version of information which is more accessible to beginner SEO’s. Yep, it doesn’t cover the really in depth, difficult issues. Yep, it’s pretty basic. Yep, it may not be for you. I think that Google really wants to connect to the average webmaster – one of the many millions of designers who may be doing the wrong thing purely out of ignorance.

Does Google want to take people’s sites out of their index just because they didn’t know what was "black hat" practice? No way – they’d rather be able to focus on the real problems – people spawning thousands of spamsense sites, etc. If they can educate more webmasters about their activities and policies, they will (ideally) have fewer and fewer suspect sites due to ignorance. Problems, therefore, will become more transparent.

So, in summary, the fact that some SEO experts were disappointed in Matt’s lack of comprehensiveness is probably pretty insignificant. Matt wasn’t talking to them.

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