Matt Cutts – Selected Quotes

There was some talk recently whether or not it’s worth it listening to what Matt Cutts says – well he has just proved that he does have interesting things to tell us, and it’s only a matter of us interpreting them and in some cases reading between the lines – or even simply reading.

Here are some interesting quotes from his Q&A session on his blog and what I make out of it all:

1. BigMommy coming soon?

Q: “This datacentre works differently to all of the others. Noticed just a few hours ago. . . . . Where does that DC fit into the scheme of things? Is it mainly made from newly spidered data?”
A: Sharp eyes, g1smd. That wouldn’t surprise me. As Bigdaddy cools down, that frees us up to do new/other things.

and also

Q: “The one thing that seems to be getting to people generally, is what are the post Big Daddy intentions? Fixes, spam issues, regeneration of ‘pure’ indices, supp. issues, PR and BL update, etc.”
A: I can’t give a timeline (e.g. “scaling up communication in April, more work on canonicalization in May”) because priorities can change, esp. depending on machine issues, deployments of new binaries, webspam developments, etc. Short-term, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some refreshing in supplemental results relatively soon, and potentially different PageRanks visible in the next couple weeks.

2. Site Deindexing 101

If you’re really sure you never want those pages to be seen, you can use our url removal tool to remove urls for six months at a time. But I’d be very careful with the url removal tool unless you’re an expert. If you make a mistake and (for example) remove your entire site, that’s your responsibility. Google can sometimes clear out self-removals, but we don’t guarantee it.

OK I see several interesting things about this statement (and the feature itself). First: what stops me from removing competitors’ sites from Google’s index? Second: if I see a site to another person but don’t really want that person to benefit from it what if I submit the site for removal right after the purchase happens?

3. Selling links

Q: “If one were to offer to sell space on their site (or consider purchasing it on another), would it be a good idea to offer to add a NOFOLLOW tag so to generate the traffic from the advertisement, but not have the appearence of artificial PR manipulation through purchasing of links?”
A: Yes, if you sell links, you should mark them with the nofollow tag. Not doing so can affect your reputation in Google.

He doesn’t cover the consequences for those buying links – but the message is pretty clear, buy links for traffic alone or buy links for Yahoo.

5. Google’s Understanding of Spam

I love this one:

Q: “What about the problem of directories and shopping comparison spam overriding real pages?”
A: Fair feedback. I heard that recently from a Googler, too. Sometimes we think of spam as strictly things like hidden text, cloaking, etc. But users think of spam as noise: things that they don’t want. If they’re trying to get information, fix a problem, read reviews, etc., then sites that like aren’t as helpful.

6. A Way Out of Sandbox?

Q: “Would it be possible to add a date range to queries? I might get 91,000,000 results, but the first 200 are 2-3 years old. I would like to limit results to items no more than 6-12 months old.”
A: Check out our advanced search page for this option. Tara Calashain also did some really interesting digging into this too, e.g. this info she uncovered. Google Hacks is a pretty solid book if you’d like to read more fun Google hacks.

And finally, great news for all Adsense millionnaires out there:

7. Your AdSense ID is Safe – For Now

Indexing non-visible things like punctuation, JavaScript, and HTML would be great, but it would also bulk up the size of the index. Any time you’re considering a new feature (e.g. our numrange search), you have to trade off how much the index would get bigger versus the utility of the feature. My guess is that we wouldn’t offer this any time soon.


  1. BigMomma!

    the buying links situation seems like a bunch of FUD if you ask me. “they cannot identify all paid links”:, but i do wonder if they actually watch the larger link markets to hand identify low trust pages.

  2. im used to using textile to write on blogs too much, the link is