Why Listening To Matt Cutts Is A Bad Idea

Look, we all hated the dark days when Google was uber-secretive about everything, and we cheered up when first “Googleguy” and then Matt Cutts (aka Googleguy) started giving us a few glimpses of veiled instructions. Later Matt began to give exact instructions for things that were on Google’s agenda. In other words, if Google wanted to control our actions, Matt pulled our little puppet strings and gave us specific instructions.

Two examples?

  1. He specifically told us to either use nofollow or javascript for paid links so that we wouldn’t pass link juice through.
  2. He specifically told us that nofollowing our own internal links would be a good way to sculpt our link juice so that it flowed where we wanted it to.

Now? Both of those specific instructions are null and void. If you followed some of those directions, you now have to start over. Why?

  1. At the Google I/O conference recently, Vanessa Fox learned that Google can now understand more Javascript and that those links pass both anchor text and PageRank. Uh-oh. If you followed Matt’s instructions and used javascript on your paid links, you now have to go back and change them all – AGAIN – now that Google has changed things on their end.
  2. At SMX today, Matt Cutts basically let everyone know that PageRank sculpting is now dead. He said “Suppose you have 10 links and 5 of them are nofollowed. There’s this assumption that that the other 5 links get ALL that PageRank and that may not be as true anymore (your leftover PageRank will now “evaporate”). So now, all that work you did to sculpt your PR throughout your site, which Matt earlier suggested was a good idea, is work that is down the drain.

puppetonstring-9653276-3651162See folks, Google used to tell us that we should design for our users and NOT for the search engines. But then, they realized that they could manipulate us by giving us nuggets of info that we would chew like cows chew cuds, so they did. Unfortunately, that ends up hurting us in the end when they change their tactics every few months, and it may end up hurting our users as well, as we keep jumping every time we’re told to jump by the mighty G.

I think we all have enough information now that we can make wise decisions on our own. I think I’d rather go back to the dark, secretive days before our puppet strings were being pulled. At least then we’d be pulling our own strings rather than being manipulated like a bunch of muppets.

Matt, I appreciate the efforts and all, but I think maybe I’ll just go back to making decisions based on what my user needs. They are less likely to change their minds than Google is.