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Why Matt Cutts’ Causation is Caca

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I logged on today to find Inbound, Twitter & Google+ (because no SEOs use Facebook) afloat with information about the Moz study of social signals to ranking correlation, then around an hour later it lit up even more with the rebuttal from Matt Cutts on the issue.

Inbound Shares

Other than the fact that normally Moz and Cutts get along perfectly fine and both like to reiterate each others garbage, this seems almost odd?

Then I remembered that the post was by Cyrus Shepard who has some form of dignity behind himself as a former “white hat link building expert” and had (notice the had) one of the best blogs on link building I’ve seen, not quite on Jon Coopers level, but then again Cyrus doesn’t alienate the entire female SEO community in the space of a few hours.

So, why is it “Caca”?

Well, the first point I’d like to bring to le table is Jacob King – He made the post SEO Assholes, which saw in the first day alone a gigantic almost spam like amount of social signals come in via Twitter, Google+ and even the odd share on Facebook!

Surprisingly enough the day after, he magically jumped into every single keyboard (bare in mind that Ahrefs, OSE Discovery & Majestic NEW collectively only picked up 1 backlink in that space of 24 hours)



Now that’s really just one example and I know it can’t show the true results and to be quite honest, I don’t have the time nor resources to properly or efficiently look into it. So, I thought I’d diagnose Matt Cutts “de-bunks” overall. It’d seem he loves to de-bunk theories that do really work and as I’ve said before and will say again: He’s a fear mongerer (I think he gets a kick out of it, plus.. the money ain’t bad)

Thi was made in 2010, it shows Cutts actively saying Google seek to correlate signals to the quality of the author and the article itself.



Why does Cutts want to “de-bunk” this correlation then? It’d seem he hasn’t tried to actively go out and target specifics before, more looks to be mysterious with his ways..

Well, it’s because he, yet again.. Doesn’t want to let you know how to rank. If you want to really rank a website, don’t listen to Google, don’t follow their guidelines – heck, I’ve never even read them..

Test, run case studies, follow people that are testing and see what works from your own initiative. Cutts might not always be there to disinform you!

“Do companies ask their suppliers how to sell goods?”

So, what have we learnt?

Well, I haven’t learnt much, but I think you should have by now: Take your own initiative. Don’t be another carson ward..


I’m not saying to go out and do tons of black hat spam, but don’t discredit “creative” ways to game google 😉 after all, that’s what you are trying to do isn’t it? Get to the top of Google..

Qasim Majid About the author
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10 years ago

Charles, while I would agree with taking Cutts statements with a healthy dose of salt, I remain skeptical about plusses and likes per se having much search value in and of themselves.

Side note: the Cutts video you display is from 2010 and much has changed since then. Facebook and then Twitter became much more closed to Google since those days.

Aside from that, in the video Cutts says that LINKS from those social networks had some ranking value, not “Likes” or “Favorites.” Cutts has said more than once that signals like that, including Google’s own +1, are fairly weak signals, and I agree. It is hard to gauge user intent with Like-like actions, and users tend to do them for a lot of reasons and even quite casually. For example, Cutts has said that back when they had 1’s on serch results for a while, they found that many people plussed every result on the first page!

That’s why I think Matt told the truth yesterday…but only some of the truth. I don’t think he lies, but he never tells the whole truth. His campaign yesterday in Hacker News was, I think, cleverly devised to use a truth (+1’s are not a DIRECT ranking signal) to turn attention away from Cyrus’s REAL point: the featured links in G+ shares are followed and thus pass PageRank value.

10 years ago
Reply to  Mark Traphagen

I’ve noticed from my testing that social signals like +1’s, tweets, FB shares/likes definitely have a short term ranking effect. I’ve found that over time (as soon as a few hours) the effects decay – but when a new post is released on my blog and it receives a load of social shares, I can see my post ranking extremely well for competitive terms for a few hours. Then, over the proceeding hours it seems to drop gradually, before the effect of actual backlinks help it to rise organically.

I’m in the process of testing so should have some results to show soon. I get what Matt was saying, that they don’t have a lasting DIRECT effect on rankings but they definitely have a role to play.

Charles Floate
10 years ago
Reply to  Mark Traphagen

Firstly thanks for commenting Mark 🙂

I think the overall value of them as an individual may be pretty low, then again so are links (I very much doubt the link I got to my blog from the author section is going to put my blog on page 1 for internet marketing blog).

I think the main points Cutts got at were slightly wrong and I agree with you about Cyrus’s real point.. All of Cutts points seem to be diversion tactics to be honest, watch all of his WMT videos and you’ll never get a straight up answer.

On the point that he doesn’t lie, I’d disagree.. I’m sure he’s done plenty of lieing in the past and have actively seen it. *cough* http://www.mastergoogle.com/blog/matt-cutts-lies-about-google-seo-at-smx-advanced-2013.php

10 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Barby

Matthew, I agree with that experience. If social signals have any effect in search,I’ve always felt it was a) to help identify “what’s hot” and maybe deserving of a trial run high in the SERPs and b) an overall confirmation of the trust level of the site and/or page.

Time and again I’ve seen my blog posts with high Google+ engagement shoot to the top of search. But whether they stay there, as you said, seems wholly determined by whether they subsequently get some good links.

10 years ago
Reply to  Charles Floate

Charles, I agree with you there. The main problem I see out of this whole debacle is that people always want a vitamin pill. They don’t want to eat a balanced diet and exercise. They want their SEO’s to tell them “just get a lot of +1’s” or “just use Authorship” or whatever and have that one thing make them magically rank.

As for Cutts “lying,” we can quibble over semantics. I think all the examples in that linked post just demonstrate what I’ve always thought of him: he’s a very clever marketer for Google. Google allows him so much freedom to speak and be in public because he’s so talented at saying something without saying anything at all.

Charles Floate
10 years ago
Reply to  Mark Traphagen

I’d call him the Politician of SEO 🙂

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