Better to understand users than search engines, says Google’s head of webspam

Posted on June 6, 2013


In a recently published video, Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, addressed a number of misconceptions regarding SEO.

Posted on the YouTube channel GoogleWebmasterHelp earlier this week, the video clarified what some believe has become one of the more commonly misunderstood aspects of Google – the difference between data refreshes and algorithm updates. Cutts explained that while algorithm updates are key changes to the way an algorithm ranks, filters or indexes pages in the search listings, data refreshes are just minor revisions to the way an algorithm works.

Cutts also used the five minute video to dispel claims that Google’s Penguin and Panda updates were released only to drive the company’s short term revenue. He said that Google works to keep its algorithm and search interests separate from the goals it sets for revenue, further pointing out that the latest Panda update may even have the opposite effect – since the changes mean that low quality, spam-clogged sites, which bring in money through AdSense, have been targeted.

Supporting the view that marketers should choose to improve their websites’ standing through more organic means – such as the delivery of quality, engaging and industry relevant content – Cutts went on to say that search engine optimisation companies should try to understand users instead of trying to understand the search engines. Rather than focussing too much on link building, Cutts said it would be in companies’ interests to focus on improving user experience.

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