Traveling for next few weeks

I’m going to be traveling for the next few weeks. I’ll be at three different conferences:

I’ll probably be much slower to respond to emails and tweets while I’m on the road.

101 Responses to Traveling for next few weeks (Leave a comment)

  1. The Spam Police session sounds like an interesting one. I’ll likely see you there!

  2. Have a nice and safe travel, Matt.

    Hopefully there would be live bloging for Q&A With Google & Bing On Website Ranking.

  3. he spam police sounds interesting, I won’t be able to attend though. Will you be webcasting or posting the session for replay after SMX?

    Please fire out links if you do

  4. Am making my way from the UK to SMX. Look forward to your sessions and will hopefully get the chance to say hello. I’ll be the jet lagged girl wandering around with matchsticks in her eyes!

  5. Sounds like a busy Month ahead Matt. Any chance of seeing you in Ireland in 2011?

    The Google and Bing Website ranking one should also be interesting. What will you do if Bing just copy your answers ? 😛

  6. Matt,

    I hope your travels prove to be productive.

    On a side note.. This new update you guys have employed… For this message, please make the assumption that the person that is writing this to you has absolutely no interest in gaming the system, that believes only in creating the best content possible on her website, and strives to set a new standard with that quality.

    In the last couple days after your upadete I have seen a lot of sites that publish a lot of poor quality blog posts for the sake of links to their main site rank much higher than my own. I also see content that was scraped from my site rank higher than than the original source.

    Matt, you are smart guy so I am sure you can relate to this:

    I have worked my tail off for more than a year trying to create the absolute best website for my real estate business I possibly could, every single page I created I wrote content that would help an out-of-town buyer really understand the area, the homes available in the area, I even went as far as paying a professional photographer $2000 for the images used on my website. When I compare my content to those that rank above me (as a result of spammy blog posts for the sake of links) I just want to cry.

    It seems all I have worked for has been wasted.

    Because of the trust you placed in many of the article directories I did use them to help promote my site. The quality of the articles I placed on them was consistent with the quality of my site and I enjoyed a very high click through rate because of it. Quality articles will lead visitors to your site, poor quality articles would not…

    Did I like to use those sites? No. I did not like the fact they were covered in google ads and I figured the only reason “you” loved them so much is because they were another billboard for your company to serve ads and generate revenue from your advertisers… But I also felt like I had no other choice because you dont give my blog any trust and the pages I publish on my blog can never be found in search results… so what choice did I have?? I had to publish on those platforms so I could be found because “you” dont trust me and your search engine stinks at understanding a combination of quality and relevance.

    The point I am trying to make is… I published those artices on those sites because it was the only way to get traffic to my site because you do not like me. I honestly feel like it does not matter how good the quality on my site is, unless I resorted to spam tactics like those people that rank above me, or publish articles on sites like ezinearticles, my site will never be seen.

    So now with your latest update 2 things have happened, I no longer have the traffic I had before AND sites that really are crap by comparison are ranking higher than my site… I was demoted.

    How do you think that makes me feel when every article I have ever published, every page I have ever published, the thousands of dollars I have paid for the best web technology, professional photography and professional design to create the best user experience I posibly could…. Just does not matter.

    I know you are trying to do the best you can and it is a very hard job but it seems like every time you guys update something, those of us that do publish the best quality sites and do our best to play by the rules suffer the most.

    It seems the ONLY way to have a successful website is to manipulate the system and that really sucks. I have worked my tail off trying to produce something that is wonderful, offers the best experience to a user and allows me to make a living for me and my daughter and you guys are constantly taking that opportunity away. Its like that mole game.. as soon as you finally get your head above ground level there is this fella named Matt Cutts that comes along with a bright idea on a stick and knocks your butt back down that hole.

    Meanwhile, the ratts are drinking 50 year old scotch….

    My only question is this, if we can not win by creating the best quality site and we can not win by writing the best 500 word articles.. The what are we supposed to do?

    I guess the answer to that is set up a couple blogs, spam the living hell out of them with links and 50 word blog posts like the rats do, and win the search results game.

    Have a look at this blog, this guys website is on page one of Google search results… over 500 blog posts and virtually all of them are posted solely for the links to bost his business website in Google.

    Matt, will I ever win because I try hard to do what is RIGHT and create value for my readers or should I just give up?

    Best Regards,

  7. Any chance to get the sessions on video to watch them later? I’m just a bit further (Barcelona). All the best Matt!!!

  8. Looking forward to live blogging of Spam Police. Which has been your most difficult 30 day challenge Matt? Did you write the book? 😉

  9. I’ll personally miss you but keep us informed by blogging the events. Good luck with your travelling.

  10. I’d just like to offer some thanks to Google for the prominent display of emergency help phone numbers and links to assist people in the aftermath of the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. I have friends and family there, including people in the search and rescue services who are now involved in the recovery of bodies throughout the city.

  11. Matt,

    I’ve been looking through your contact info and can’t find a reliable way to ask you a question, so I apologize if this isn’t the right place.

    With the new buzz out regarding the content farm crackdown, I just wanted to ask if it’s fine for a web dev/marketing company to put out a developer content network. I ask because I have a small firm that does IT consulting, and I really want to teach others about development with tools such as Ubuntu, Zend Framework, PHP, etc etc in my spare time. I just didn’t want Google to think I am making a content farm. For what it’s worth, the developer network wouldn’t have advertisements and would be standalone from my regular website.

    I really love what IBM has done. Example:

    This is exactly what I idolize and wish my owner developer network to be.

    I’ve put my website in the website field so you can take a look. The developer network isn’t up it’s just an idea at this point that I want to get the “that’s fine” certification first before devoting my free time to it.

    Thanks so much.

  12. I like how you answer my request for you to blog by blogging! It’s my first time commenting (I’m normally to web-shy and just lurk.) Anyway, have tons of fun in your travels. SXSW should be a great time. Is there any awkward tension between you and the Bing guy when you’re on these panels together?

  13. Matt,

    Congratulations. Just googled my “laptop repair workbook” and a filestube site listing 25 pirated copies comes up #2, before my site. eHow pages that offer thin, abbreviated rewrites of my pages now appear above me on a regular basis. I hate to even run searches now for the garbage Google is serving up. You may have chased some article farms out with your big update, but it basically missed by a mile and creamed original sites.


  14. Have fun on the trip Matt. It would be nice if you could the the Q&A from the google/bing session on video.

  15. Rock on. Have fun and safe travels.

  16. Looking forward to the session at SMX! It was one of the first ones that I signed up to attend!

  17. Have a great time in Austin Matt.
    Remember to give yourself a mental break and take some time out for yourself and enjoy South by South West!
    Try Rudy’s or the salt lick for some real Texas BBQ.
    Keep killing spam

  18. Its really good to take a break from regular life.

    Enjoy your trip. Have fun.. 🙂

  19. Extremely jealous of the TED attendance. I’m going to one of the TEDx simulcasts here in the UK. Should be awesome!

  20. Google vs Bing.

    Have fun.

  21. Great Matt, I think the TED experience will be one of the main events in your life. I’d like to be there too. 🙂

  22. Matt, I do hope you’ll find some time on the road to write about Google’s latest update and the advice you have for the frustrated webmasters out there. Every one of my blogger friends (more than ten of them) got creamed in this update. Totally creamed. And now sites that are far less on-topic, are thin, or are scrapers are coming up ahead of us. (And granted, some good sites are in that mix too, fair competition, but in many cases, our articles are much better!)

    I read the headlines and know that the big news sites love your update. And I’m sure that for many short, popular queries you fixed a lot of the article spam out there. But you’ve crushed a bunch of blogs that have been independently written for users and replaced them with either off-topic or just plain rubbish information.

    Please give us some assurances that things will be getting better, and some guidance as to how we can improve our sites in Google’s eyes since many of us just don’t understand why this happened.

  23. I’d be interested to view “Spam Cops”

    I think spam and seo are so similar its very hard to separate them at times. That line is drawn by the search engines, but does any seo ever completely follow the guidelines? Most spam comes from the need to generate links to a website and effectively punishing the website that receives links could lead to mischievous competitor adding links. Punishing the website sending the link can also be unfair which I guess is why “nofollow” was invented.

    Whilst their remains a benefit to adding links, which there always will be, a spam cop will never be out of a job. The whole point of seo is to gain an undeserved position in the search rankings so I don’t see a time of seo without spam. Of course that depends how you define spam. “Ethical Seo” is somewhat a paradox and a contradiction,a bit like “Honest Grifter”.

    Have a nice trip

  24. “Ethical Seo” is somewhat a paradox and a contradiction,a bit like “Honest Grifter”.

    This might be the single greatest comment anyone has ever made on here. Seriously, this guy nailed it with this one sentence.

    “Ethical SEO”s are usually either the biggest snakes in the grass or people who heard the term and think it applies to buying links from some PR(x) sites and receiving a subsequent ranking boost. The fact is that most SEO tactics (not all, but most) by their very nature compromise ethics in favor of vested interest, and the ones that don’t inherently do so can be made to do so. For example, including a keyword in alt attribute isn’t inherently wrong, as long as the entire phrase makes sense. But when you get things like “dog, dogs, big dogs, little dogs, white dogs, black dogs”…well, that’s unethical.

    This gives search engine employees more job security than almost anyone else on the planet as a result. You guys figure out how to fight something, you roll it out, people come up with something else, you figure out how to fight that, and now you have to fight the second thing, and so on and so on. The only question is whether a Google webspam team employee gets to retire or is forced to work until (s)he dies in his/her chair after the 1,000,000th SEO get-rich-quick tactic gives him/her an aneurysm.

  25. Hey Matt

    Have a great trip first off.

    Now to the meat of the concern, like many people out there. I do hope you will give all of us a real and concise update with the latest changes that occurred last week. Clearly, your update has impacted some sites, that I am scratching my head about. I know you don’t like content farms and neither does Google, but how come big companies like CNN and other well established organizations can get away with putting duplicate content on their sites in droves, yet suffer no penalty? See my examples below original article posted here note – CNN copied this article word for word from mashable above. – same here – they copies mashable article word for word again same article

    So based on the above information and posts, what they are trying to do, it seems pretty clear that these above sites are just content farms too. Plus, their sites load so incredibly slow with all the ads – which is something you commented about. Yet, will you honestly crack down on these big companies? I seriously doubt it, but hey I could be wrong.

    How can you explain the discrepancy here between going after so called content farms, when those companies above are just giving you at Google the finger by allowing all kinds of duplicate content on their sites, of course minus no time out in the penalty box?

    I am just trying to get some clear answers because so far, their seems to be a huge double standard by you and Google.

    The facts are, articles go viral and so do lots of other stories. So while I do agree that action had to be taken, why would Ezine Articles get hit so dramatically, like losing 71% of their rankings. Now, I am not employed by them, but have written a couple hundred articles over the past 3 years. All of which are unique by the way. I don’t rank for any of my articles that I am aware of as that was not my intention.

    I mean, if they get stung so badly, the question has to be why them? They have a double manual review of articles by real people, keyword density is the strictest I have seen anywhere. Plus, do you realize that because they mostly rely based on my observations only, that they employ 70+ plus people that many might now be out of a job?

    Do you realize this one large change has probably cost thousands of jobs alone in the US. I know that can’t be your problem, but it seems to me that these guys over at Ezine have done pretty much everything possible to ensure unique content, yet they get penalized big time.

    How can you address that problem, because clearly you programmed the changes to impact content farms, although not sure how they fall under that umbrella, given their strict quality controls.

    Cheers and thank you for any assistance and insightful information you can provide would be appreciated. We all want to ensure that we are doing what’s right here to avoid any penalties by Google on our own sites.

  26. When, oh when, oh when are you coming to the UK?
    We are missing out on the Google Analytics GAUGE conference too.

    Plus we have real ale over here.


  27. All the best for your travels and talks. I’m looking forward to hear the online chatter about the “Spam Police”.

  28. Look forward to getting feedback on these conferences.

  29. Hello Matt,
    I have a question to your Q&A session. Why Google doesn’t update website rankings now? Is any idea to introduce new methodology to kill spam?.

    I think recently introduced “Personal Blocklist Chrome extension” is used by small number of web users, particularly this extension plugin used by webmasters and PC owners. So this is not a standard method to kill spam or fight on low quality sites.

    Congrats, a happy spam fight.

  30. Hi Matt maybe we met in Europa, have a nice journey

  31. @Multi-Worded Adam some of us might consider what you just said professional slander 🙂

    I still think it ought to have been the ‘spamish inquisition’ ala monty python rather than the spam police.

  32. have fun. i am going outta town too…I wish I could make it to SMX west but I will make it to SMX advanced in Seattle in June. Hopefully you be there.

  33. Good travels to you Matt, I wish I could see spam cops!

  34. Matt, if you happen to be close to Valencia (Spain), just let me know so I can show you around. I will show you some wonderful typical meals you will never forget in your life 😉

  35. @Maurice: that’s why I used the word “usually.” I didn’t say everyone was. 😉

  36. @Multi-Worded Adam bit like saying ‘some of my best friends are black’ perception is everything

  37. A qualified apology


    I realize that your blog is a mix of work and personal, for you it’s an extension of your living space. For those of us with no e-mail addresses or phone numbers at Google to call, it’s our only Google contact. Yes, there are Google forums to post in and forms to fill out, but there’s zero feedback – it’s like the old Simpsons show where all the men in town call into a dating line that turns out to be a conference call with nothing but other men asking “Are there any beautiful women here?”

    The Wall Street Journal ran an article about the Google update this morning that included one of my web domains, so I got my two seconds of attention and can only hope for the best. But I want to point out how Google’s lack of two way communication hurts web users.

    Back in November, I published a list of free Kindle classics on my Foner Books website and linked it from my homepage. It took me a couple weeks to put together (manually), over 1,400 out-of-copyright titles on Amazon by the most popular 18th, 19th and early 10th century novelists, and it got quite a bit of social network traffic. I never expected it to get any search traffic because it was just an organized list of author names and those 1,400 links to Amazon.

    Yesterday I read something from Singhal saying that webmasters should be cautious about having any low-quality content on their sites, as it can now impact the whole site. Since Google doesn’t “understand” English, I take “low quality” to mean in the structural sense, and maybe Google see over a thousand links on a page pointing at Amazon as “low quality.” Since I have bigger concerns than providing a very useful resource to the community of Kindle users, I took it down yesterday.

    I remember suggesting on this site years ago that Google set up a paid hotline (you could give the money to charity) for webmasters to be able to bring serious issues to a human being at Google, as opposed to filling out forms that go off into the void or at best, generate an automated response. Not SEO advice, the other way around, webmaster calling Google and saying, “This just isn’t right – and it’s so not right I’m willing to pay $100 just for the priviledge of telling you.” I would have called about the Filestube being the #2 Google result for the book in the WSJ article.

    Google has become the utility of the web, just like a phone company, gas company or cable company. And for all of the complaints people have about the utilities, at least the answer the phone (even if it takes a while to get a live body) and at least they have a local office you can show up at and complain. With Google it’s just “Talk to the hand.”

    That or post on your blog.

    Morris Rosenthal

  38. @Morris – What an eloquent and reasonable comment. I really agree with your points. A small site of mine got hit with a 250 position penalty because this “Farmer Update.” Since I did not think I was scraping content I could not figure out why this happened. There was no notice in Webmaster Tools about what happened. There are no new guidelines from Google warning webmasters what to avoid. I can only guess as to why suddenly my site is low value content. I have made some changes and submitted for reconsideration, but the total lack of feedback from Google means I may really never know.

    The $100 idea is thought provoking. One of my competitors is slowly putting my main site (and some other folks) out of business. He has 250+ domains registered all with keywords in them. Most of these he just points to his main site. About 20 of them actually have websites, all on different IP addresses. 90% of these websites have no unique content, just some spun stuff and optimized links back to the main site and some others in his domain ring. Its a very effective method.

    I have reported him as a spammer to Google many times. I solicited some 20 other folks from around the globe to report him as well. Nothing ever happens.

    @Matt – How do I report spam in the index so that something is actually done about it? I don’t have any friends at the New York Times to write me an article to get your attention. That seems to be about the only way that works now days.

  39. I hope you going to be speaking at South by Southwest Interactive? Thanks Matt?

  40. I’m posting this comment/question here since I didn’t see a specific post dealing with the new “Farmer” update. What bothers me about such a major change in Google’s algorithm and policy towards websites is just how vague any description of it is. After all, most webmasters strive to follow a good practices policy when it comes to optimizing their websites for Google. Things like the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide let us know what anyone designing a site should do as well as what they shouldn’t do. However, with this update there was no notification as to what Google considers bad practice.

    First off, what does Google consider to be a content farm? What does Google consider to be a scraper site? What makes a site low quality? Aren’t some Google services (like Google Places) act as scraper sites themselves? After all, Google Places simply takes information that’s found on other websites and simply repackages it. Doesn’t that qualify as scraping? So what is ok and what is not ok?

    The same question goes for “content farms”. I’ve been hearing reports of sites with all original content being hit by this update. If I create a site what can I do to make sure that it won’t be affected? Where can we go to find out any sort of information concerning this?

    While I realize that the specific details concerning the various aspects of Google’s ranking algorithm are proprietary what I (and I’m sure other people too) am asking does not relate to that. What does Google consider to be good content? How can I make sure that my site is not seen as being a content farm if all the content on the site is original? Does Google penalize sites for having too much content?

    I’m very curious as to what the answers to all this are. Could you please shine some light on the issue?

  41. I don’t agree with Morris. I understand the frustration, but I don’t agree. There are three simple reasons why:

    1) If Google charges for such a service, then those with the most money have the most opportunity for influence. That’s a deadly proposition from a search point of view.

    2) If Google doesn’t charge for such a service, and they’ve shown in the past they usually won’t charge for things (yes, I know there are things they charge for, but most of their services are free), then it would be abused by the SEO who wouldn’t understand the true intent of the service and would use it to bitch and complain and talk about how great their sites are and how they don’t rank and how Google is evil and etc. and so on. Why would Google want to deal with this on a one-on-one basis when it already happens on a public scale?

    3) If Google charged for such as service, the people who would want it the most would, in a lot of cases, be the same people who would say that Google forgot not to be evil and how dare they charge for things and why aren’t you making this information available for free to the public?

    Google’s not a public utility from a search point of view, either. They’re a free, as-is service provider. You use the service with no expectations stated or implied and at your own risk. If you lose money because something didn’t work the way you should…well, that’s your own fault. If anything, they’ve become more like a drug…people grow so addicted and irrational in their thinking they don’t realize that the best thing they can do is to reduce their dependency on the drug and make strange decisions and backdoor purchases (hello, third-party link vendors!) to satisfy their craving (in this case, for high rankings).

  42. @Maurice: agreed, but when Johnny can’t read, that’s Johnny’s problem.

  43. I think a $100 bill for one phone call might present domestic problems. Is any partner REALLY going to believe you were phoning google………..

  44. @Morris – In regards to his comments above, this seems to be one of the biggest issues by far with people online, just trying to get a bloody human at Google. The company makes billions of dollars, but can’t afford to invest in a call center of some kind to handle important issues from their customers? Honestly, its mind boggling that you and the others at Google have not set up a way for people to physically contact you.

    You all talk about how great its to work at Google and that’s a good thing to hear. We have heard about how you get some much time to work on your own projects. Why not add in there, say 5% of the time, all you employees spend half a day talking to real people with real complaints and incorporate that as part of a company wide initiative?

    I know Matt you do address issues and that’s great and people appreciate that honestly. But, the time has come that you have some corporate responsibility and set up a way for people to contact. Forget the paying to call you – that would be over the top hubris if Google ever did that.

    I left another message in here a few days ago, but seems like you didn’t publish it. Not sure actually why as it was well written and not nasty or anything like that.

    Just remember, we are all your customers if we use the Google search engine and if this were any other company and you treated your customers like that, they would not be back. You are not invincible and some day, another company might just come along and beat you at your own game. Its been done before and it will be done again.

    Have a great day by the way!

  45. I think a $100 bill for one phone call might present domestic problems. Is any partner REALLY going to believe you were phoning google………..

    But honey, it’s not 976-4664. It’s 976-GOOG…as in GOOG-ull. You know. That search engine. Well, if you’re that upset, MAYBE YOU SHOULD MAKE MORE TIME FOR ME AND BUY ME THINGS.

    Come to think of it, that phone number isn’t such a bad idea. A hundred dollar phone call could be worth thousands in ROI from the wife. Set it up, Matt.

  46. @Darrell: if your comment was published just now, and a previous comment wasn’t, that’s usually not on Matt. I’ve had a few end up like that, and it’s usually because there’s a word or something in it that WordPress and what I’m guessing is Akismet doesn’t like. I’ve got one in moderation right now because I used a four-letter “d” word that rhymes with “rug”.

  47. Matthew Ramirez

    Matt, I want to get your take on this “Junk Food Algorithms and the World They Feed Us”
    Are Google, Bing, Facebook immoral because of these practices or does it come down to just good business?

  48. The SSI and SMX conferences sound great. I’m going to the Distilled conference in late March. Great job on the new Google update by the way. I’ve seen some hate blogs about it recently but I’ve only seen positive results. Happy Travels.

  49. Safe travels…
    Will you be doing any SEO presentations in the Bay Area any time soon?

  50. Hey Matt,

    Will you be doing any ‘unofficial’ events around SXSW, would love to hear you speak in person, and if you could find time in your schedule I would really like to ask you some questions about SEO!

    I know chances are slim, but I have been at this game for a lonng time now and really would like to know a few things to really help me explain why my clients should go 100% whitehat.

    If you have time you might want to get in touch with David Gonzalez, he leads one of Austins biggest interent meet ups, and it would be awesome to have you speak there! (search for Internet Marketing Party on

    If you have a free half hour or so during sxsw 2011 please get in touch, there are some questions I would like to ask, and probably uniquely at the momen, none of them are to do with the latest Google update!

    Kind Regards


  51. Matt,
    Here a few random thoughts on the farmer massacre. Results are better but it’s like saying we killed all the poor people and crime went down. Algo changes are a mess but we’re talking livelihoods of people. I know you don’t like Brett from WebmasterWorld but he had it right (paraphrasing) “if you penalize 30 small sites so Amazon and Walmart get more traffic is not a zero sum game.”

    — How can you penalize people for using adsense too much when Google sends emails to add more units to our pages (I had mine commented out but probably got hit anyway, based on what string you used for the algo.) But we are separate…blah blah, is not going to fly, it’s one company. It’s like IRS telling you to do one thing, only to be arrested by the FBI for listening to the IRS.

    — Not all sites are created equal. If you have a page titled “Ipod review” and all you have is 5 sentences all linked to an Amazon page…BAD. If you have a page titled “Flight deals for JFK – San Francisco” and all you have 5 links to different airline sites with actual deals–GREAT. Why should one have to write about when was JFK built or how far San Fran airport is from another city. I don’t care about that and I don’t want to scan a 1000 word page with stupid content to find what I am looking for. As a side effect: If you keep sending people always to Amazon and Walmart, they’ll learn to go there eventually and skip google when they want to buy a product.

    — House wife spends 4-5 hours a day posting crafting tips or how to save with coupons at Walmart–GOOD. Mahalo like company uses scrapper, feeds etc and makes it clear the intention is to cheat Google –BAD. So if /you are taking intention into consideration, why did, eHow etc rise in traffic??? People are trying to make a living Matt, it’s tough out here and having their income cut by $100 or $2500 cut all of the sudden is a tragedy. I understand the “we don’t owe anyone anything..don’t depend on…” etc but have some compassion. If you weren’t at Google and were making $60K (if that) a year, had 3 kids and a wife at home, that $250 you would make by writing a blog post here and there is nothing to laugh at. Looks like press pressure forced you to release prematurely, because it’s clearly broken.

    P.S. Read your disclaimer, so great job with the foundation. Very cool that you gave a very chunk of money to good causes.

  52. The spam police. Im all for it. Get these idiots off the first page of Google!

  53. Is it true that if you want to break a panda out of jail you have to stop it bouncing first?

  54. Need your Help!–

    Matt, my website has been mistakenly removed from the organic listings by Google. A competitor sent fraudulent information to Google in an effort to have my site pulled down. I have all the appropriate legal paperwork showing that Google needs to reinstate my site but no one at Google is responding. Meanwhile I am losing a massive amount of money every day that customers can’t find me. I’ve been working for years to build this business and now because Google isn’t responding I may lose my whole business. Please help!! Please email me what I need to do– by the time the standard procedure people get around to my case I’ll be out of business. –Please Help.

  55. I heard from some guy who made some scraping articles tool that Google launched another algorithm change. That’s really great. I hope Google can slap those content farm sites with their great ability!

  56. Have a good trip, I would love to attend the spam police, sounds very interesting.
    Stay Well, and Have lots of laughs!


  57. Hey Matt,

    I wish if i was there on TED. We are planning a TED event and a SEO event to talk about Google Farmer Update and How to Control Web Spam, soon. Hope we get better ideas at TED about Entrepreneurship, Ideas and social media revolution.
    Anywyz, safe journey comrade.

  58. Hi Matt,

    This is my first post in your personal blog. You are the kind of guy that deserves my respect on contemporary computer science, when comes to fighting web SPAM. I have been following your work current/past work in the last six months over the web (reading about the famous Google Guy).

    Currently I am a software architect not working for any search engine or web business. Although I do have plans to initiate some 3-5 web business to have my money freedom. And that’s why your post, specifically “The Spam Police” got my attention.

    I begin thinking: Is initiating a web business is really worth nowadays? Since the only way to get results is to rank well on SERPs.

    With all this WEB SPAM, algorithm changes (that also creams honest people rankings – black hats will always find their way back gaming the algorithm), SE deciding who is a brand or not, SE using other’s content (Yelp’s content for example – what I personally think it is fair due the traffic sent to it), SE fighting Content Farms and also owning versions of them (Eg. Google Knol).

    The algorithm (from any SE) punishes people and fixes are made manually. Why not the opposite? Real people figthing spam manually and the algorithm protects people”s business.

    I don’t know if this is a fair game anymore. Is it really worth? I understand the pressure that is on your shoulder. But I also know this is a big challenge – and I like those. I bet will do also.

    I do believe in your work. I have a great respect for Google ( one of the few web business the add value to the internet world) and for you (for what I had read about you). I know you are in a difficult position as all other SE and spam fighters.

    I hope your blessed mind come to a solution to the web soon – now ruled by a spam “party” and flooded by how stuff works articles…

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share some deep thinking.

    Congrats one more time for your good job! People should know that is not easy to be a cop (spam cop) in the middle of a heavy shooting. Have a safe trip.

    Luiz Silva

  59. Matt:

    Safe travels. Just found your blog via the TED talk you did on trying new things for 30 days. Very psyched to see this idea being spread.

    Just left a comment on Boing Boing – thought you’d like to see what I wrote so I’m copying it here:

    I’ve long been using 30 day periods (and 7 day periods) as a means of trying out new things I’m thinking of doing long term. The process is a very effective means of self-guided behavior mod. It seems to rewire the brain, in the sense that it makes us either want to do the new thing we’re trying (e.g. a new way to exercise), or not want to do the thing we’re not doing (e.g. not eating sugar). I wrote about the process here here: (section 2).

    I’ve found that the harder the thing is that I’m trying, the more important it is to let myself feel something called mastery – that little micro-feeling of “wow, I can do it.” It’s a very powerful, internal self reward I’ve read about that makes us want to keep going with whatever it is we’re trying. I wrote about it here:

    I hope people will give this process a try and comment and tweet all about it. It works well for just about anything. A friend of mine did a 7 day challenge of not yelling at her kids, and it worked wonders. It broke the cycle for her and made her much more mindful of her words and reactions to things. Very cool – for her and her (much happier) kids.

    Way to go. Awesome talk. I look forward to reading your blog and I hope you’ll check mine out sometime when you have a chance – it’s about the process of personal change.

    Susan Alexander!/SusanRPM4

  60. Have fun! 🙂

  61. The Q&A on website ranking sounds cool. I wish I could attend. Safe travels.

  62. Hi Matt,

    In the process of trying to learn SEO (the right way) and found your video posts on You Tube which are really helpful.
    If you have the chance and time can you help me out with the following question …

    In today’s ‘spammy world’ what information/pages does Google recommend i have available to my visitors and engine like Google? for example should i publish our address on every page? telephone contact number?
    The main reason im asking is because as a ‘web’ based company, most of our work is done from home offices? hence multiple addresses (possibly) and telephone numbers? so todate as we do not offer a b2c service (in the traditional sense – bricks and mortar) as everything is purchased through shopping carts and emails to confirm etc.

    I want to avoid being classed as a ‘spammy’ web site which is easy to do from a client point of view but im worried im not telling this to Google?

    Thanks inadvance.

  63. Try to squeeze in some fun between the conferences…go find another mountain to climb. Mt Kilamanjaro looked awesome.

  64. Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.
    Enjoy the trip dear

  65. Hope all goes well Matt!

    I cannot wait to here about Q & A on Google & Bing.

  66. Sorry to put this here, but I’m at the end of my tether. For over a year I’ve been trying to fix this. My Google Places listings don’t show up. However someone else (a speculative SEO outfit) has added a Google Place for my business which is not under my control. HELP! HOW DO I GET THIS FIXED?!

  67. Matt,

    Danny Sullivan says you’re going to put me on the Panda whitelist.

    OK, he didn’t exactly say that, but he paraphrased you so I figure I can paraphrase him.

    I’ve spent the last week chasing copyright infringers who appear before my own pages in search now, even found a a couple thousand word article from my site with a dozen pictures on eHow. It’s the highest quality page on their site!


  68. @Morris

    That sounds like great news and now you can move on with your site and get back to what your good at, creating content. I certainly wish I had Danny Sullivan on side in the past. But hey maybe things play out how they meant to be…..

    White list on Panda, well I suppose the only problem with Panda’s are they are a bit Black and White.

    Good luck Morris with the site and looking forward to reading new content – they can’t take that away from you.

  69. Ps @ Morris in your htaccess

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,NC,L]

    RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9} /.*index.htm HTTP/
    RewriteRule ^(.*)index.html$ $1 [R=permanent,L]

  70. @Morris
    correction last line should be
    RewriteRule ^(.*)index.html$ $1 [R=permanent,L]

    Ok now to prevent proxie hijacks add this to htacess

    order deny,allow


    ### rDNS Lookup to prevent bot spoofing ###


    BrowserMatchNoCase Googlebot rDNSbot

    BrowserMatchNoCase Teoma rdnsbot

    BrowserMatchNoCase Yahoo! Slurp rdnsbot

    Order Deny,Allow

    Deny from env=getout

    Deny from env=rDNSbot

    Allow from

    Allow from

    Allow from

    Allow from env=allowsome


    ### End rDNS Lookup to prevent bot spoofing ###


    Lots more stuff if you need it , I would hate to see someone else go through what I went through.

  71. @Morris
    correction last line should be
    RewriteRule ^(.*)index.html$ $1 [R=permanent,L] – should read
    RewriteRule ^(.*)index.htm$ $1 [R=permanent,L]

    This rule prevents home page from proxie hijacks in htaccess

    order deny,allow


    ### rDNS Lookup to prevent bot spoofing ###


    BrowserMatchNoCase Googlebot rDNSbot

    BrowserMatchNoCase Teoma rdnsbot

    BrowserMatchNoCase Yahoo! Slurp rdnsbot

    Order Deny,Allow

    Deny from env=getout

    Deny from env=rDNSbot

    Allow from

    Allow from

    Allow from

    Allow from env=allowsome


    ### End rDNS Lookup to prevent bot spoofing ###


    htaccess stays secure with this code.

  72. Am making my way from the UK to SMX. Look forward to your sessions and will hopefully get the chance to say hello. I’ll be the jet lagged girl wandering around with matchsticks in her eyes!

  73. Looking forward to the updates on your return, especially the Google vs Bing Q&A

  74. I was there for the Spam Police – it was an awesome session! Good job once again Matt. I don’t think there are many as knowledgeable guys as you are aout there.

  75. @live4life

    I was joking about Danny Sullivan, “paraphrasing.” I’m not an SEO guy, didn’t know his name before seeing his article where Matt talked about the potential of a white list for Panda.

    No idea what you’re talking about with hta access. I believe I have an hta access file, server doesn’t support it. Which is a hassle since I’d really like to 301 redirect the old Blogger blog on my site to the new WordPress blog, but can’t figure out how to do it.


  76. @live4life

    Typo – that should have read “I don’t believe I have an hta access file”


  77. Matt, is there going to be any comment, official or not, on the Google thread on Panda at For anyone that wants to see the impact of the Panda update its a great place to start.

  78. I cannot wait to here about Q & A on Google & Bing.

  79. Hey Matt, I hope you had a good trip. I hope you will give some kind of penalty to auto-bloggers. It doesn’t make any sense to steal other’s people content and monetize it. We as bloggers have put time to create this content! You are doing a good job so far, keep it up.

  80. Spam police sounds interesting, but I’m afraid it’s just a catchy name. Spam reigns supreme in the serps for almost all searches. I hope there will be some progress soon. Anyway, have a good journey.

  81. The spam police sounds intriguing, particularly how it can be stopped.

  82. @Multi-Worded Adam – Hey Adam, while you did use terms like “usually” and “some” in your points against “SEO” – I think the problem is that people are still stuck on the old methods that “SEO’s” used to game the system in the past.

    Ethical or not – if you’re trying efforts are beyond ethics then you’re a spammer – not a real SEO. The reason a real “SEO” will take offence to your comment is because they see the trade completely different then you, with different overall objectives.

    You see SEO’s as – “we’re traffic hungry, SERP-lovin, forum-spamming marketers” – where we see it as “optimize landing pages for user experience, ensuring webmasters employ best practices (not spamming content/keywords, effective link structures ect.) and of course bringing in qualified organic traffic.

    The web has evolved. So has Google, and so has “SEO.” While some are behind, we all need to move our perspective forward as well. The reason I am putting quotes around “SEO” everywhere is simply because maybe we need a new term. The negative connotations attached to that acronym are hell on earth for anyone trying to do decent work in the trade.

    From now on instead of Search Engine Optimization… Let’s call it Experience Optimization.

    Optimize the experience, perfect the content and make the outside connections seamlessly drive qualified (people who have a reason to really be there) visitors to related content.

    I do understand where you’re coming from – and there are too many spammers giving us “experience optimizers” a bad wrap. Let’s hope we can all move forward into a better web experience in the future, one built on ethical and equal opportunity foundations.

  83. sorry misstake i didnt want to paste that! please remove that comment!

  84. Matt, I hope you have a great time traveling. Be safe and have a fun time! Road trips are so much fun. Make sure to take lot’s of photos and share them with us if you like.

  85. Does anybody know where to find the summary or video for “Q&A With Google & Bing On Website Ranking”? That would be a nice fresh update on the content farm thing.

  86. Hi Matt,

    I realise that you have been away on business and travelling recently, and so haven’t been at leisure to answer queries or perhaps consider messages left for you, but I thought I would ask you a question about something which has affected me personally but also is, I am sure, a problem which exists in a much wider scope than that which has personally affected me.

    My partner and I had a little business which, up to last November, was not exactly bringing in much money but which was at least helping to pay the bills and keep us in shelter. We had a little site which made a few pounds every day.

    Around the last quarter of last year we were looking at some of our web stats when we noticed a large rush of links from sites we didn’t recognise. Being naturally curious as to what these were we had a look at their source and found that they were each and every one a ‘junk’ site of many, many links, each with just our domain name as the anchor text.

    We asked a few questions on Google and SEOmoz to enquire as to what these might be and why they had appeared, but information was scant. Then, just in the run up to Christmas, we dropped out of the Google search results. Things where we once were on the first page now we were no longer to be found at all. Not the second, third, twentieth, seventieth page.

    We again, rather panicked, contacted Google, but never received any answer as to what might have happened. For months now we have been trying to find out if it had something to do with those links when finally one of the people at SEOmoz said that it looks like we have been hit with a ban for purchasing links.

    We had asked about this at Google before now, and asked if it might be an act of sabotage by a competitor, but information on the subject wasn’t forthcoming to our questions. Obviously, Google must receive many hundreds of thousands of questions every day, and so such questions may seem small, but to individuals who rely on such things for their livelihood such changes are so devastating. I wonder if it might have been avoided if, when we noticed these links and asked for them to be disregarded, someone had replied with some information, if not advice.

    So, I was wondering (and sorry if this message is now running on to an essay) if there is a way that Google can (or may be able in the future) to determine which are links paid for by people trying to cheat the system, and those planted as an act of underhand sabotage? Is it a problem which you think might ever be solved, or is it one of the pitfalls? Also, d you have any advice to those who feel that they have been targeted.

    Also, (and this is probably a longshot) is there any way, do you think, of identifying the source of the campaign against us? Naturally we have suspicions, but they are not founded on anything more than general patterns.

    You will notice that I have not entered our website address, but Watson would not need to call upon Sherlock Holmes to decipher it from the email address I have entered :o)

    I don’t know if our site shall ever recover now, so really I am casting around for, I suppose, some kind of explanation, if not advice on how to perhaps guard ourselves against such things in the future if our site does manage to continue.

    Best wishes in your travels and your return home, and thanks for the chance of a sounding board and the hope of a reply, or at least an understanding ear.

  87. PS: I meant to say that I had not entered the email address in the URL field as it is perhaps natural to feel a little paranoid. Perhaps it is also a small element of pride that makes abhorrent the idea of your competitor revelling in your distress.

    Perhaps all this has left me feeling a little suspicious of everyone :/

  88. Gagandeep Singh

    Have a great time matt, take care of yourself while traveling and looking forward for latest updates from you.


  89. Hi Matt,

    I know this isn’t related to your current blog post, but I thought you might enjoy seeing it. It’s a reddit post titled “What worthless site frustrates you with its high google rank?” The poster suggest because it is littered with inaccurate, one-word answers and is filled with ads.

    I know googlebot is automated, but does the google spam team listen to people’s opinions on these kinds of threads. It’s not true spam, but perhaps some of these less-than-useful sites sholud be bumped down the rankings a bit, wouldn’t you say?

    Anyway, just thought you’d like to see the thread. Thanks for reading.


    P.S. How exciting to see my questions answered in your webmaster videos. Thanks!

  90. The entire 50,000 pages in the “neighborhood” sub-domain section of are cloaked. The content in the cache pages shown on the SERP’s is what the Google crawler saw.

    None of the content contained in’s “neighborhood” sub-domain is available to real users. It is Google crawler bait. The keyword traffic derived from the local business name directory content is the economic driver.

    If you compare the cached page to the preview page or the the results shown on the SERP the cloaking will be immediately apparent. (you will be redirected to page.) The information shown in the cached pages to the crawlers cannot be found anywhere on the website

    BTW. The content on the neighborhood.getoutofdebt subdomain is very low contrast (almost unreadable by humans) which clearly shows what the intent was when the content was created.

  91. Matt, so much has changed recently within Google’s natural SERPs for many of us. We’re eagerly awaiting some updates from you to hear your personal take on the changes that Google is making.

  92. Any plans for the Seattle area? I am new to seo and would like to attend your seminars.

  93. Hi Matt,

    Have fun and safe travel. Can you please make a post on Panda update. I really want to know more about Panda update.


  94. I agree with Andrew. Hope to hear fresh updates and some good news soon. Hope you had a safe trip home Matt. 🙂

  95. please remove my comments up here they were a misstake!

  96. It’s that time of year for conferences and I’m sure there is lots to talk about this year. With the advancements we have seen in search and social there will be no shortage of discussions.

  97. Hi Matt,

    I hope to see you in Toronto, Ontario, soon I cant wait to hear what you have to say, love that new Google Shirt!

  98. one of the above posters is right. spammy blog posts with backlinks are completely out of control. but worse than that, on one of my targeted keywords, keyword stuffed domains with no quality, backlinks, authority are all over the place. i am #100 for a nice keyword that i have much original content for. who’s above me? top five, usual suspects. top 6-99? every possible combination of keyword stuffed domain possible.

    cutts saying they are “thinking” about “dialing back” the keyword domain weight is like saying i am “thinking” about lusting after sophia vergara. it’s kind of like the government cracking down on online poker? possibly you should have seen this coming 2 years ago? wth?

  99. Been online with many sites on the-web starting in 1996, which was long before Adsense started in 2003. After going with Adsense soon after it was launched in July 2003 we started to earn steady and significant money every month for going on 8-years, with relatively few problems and no major issues over all that time. We were running approximately 2,000 developed websites (mostly small targeted keyword sites in various niches).

    Out of the blue Microsoft/Bing ran an advertisement advertising their search engine in Feb and March 2011 and obviously in error used one of my URL’s (which was a generic search term) in the ad which traffic went to my site when clicked on. Thus we received lots of traffic and significantly higher income than normal, including CTR and EPC much greater than usual.

    AdSense did not pay or schedule a payment from that one site and when I politely asked about that they closed our account for Invalid Click Activity. I gave the Adsense Team my Cpanel login and other information so they see the alleged invalid activity had absolutely nothing to do with us and that the traffic was genuine. However, they denied my appeal anyway and also kept almost 10k in regular income, in addition to the revenue from the one site under scrutiny, which was well into 5 figures revenue.

    All my attempts at personal communications failed. It seemed like I was dealing with a machine as not one of the communications from Adsense used my personal name or addressed the issues. Now our account is banned and the Adsense Team is ignoring our latest emails.

    This is sad but true in that we can get better and friendlier communications and service from a one-time visit spending a single dollar at the local Dollar Store vs the many 100s of 1,000s of dollars involving Google for so many years. I fact, if you count the Google share and Adwords client revenues it likely adds up to a few million dollars!

    Since by removing the Adsense the webpages look terrible with large area where the Adsense once was displaying a page error message. Because the sites now look so terrible we have been more or less forced to tale all the sites down and send the traffic to a parking firm, thus destroying our 15-years of ongoing site development!

    In effect, Google Adsense has literally put us out of business and stripped away a substantial steady income source and destroyed our hard work and effort in developing valuable website assets, which we have been working on night and day over 15 years.

    Adsense does not permit any more communications so at this time we are asking Matt Cutts to please look into this. Since Matt is an expert he should be able to confirm by accessing my Cpanel log files and looking at other evidence we had provided the Adsense Team to verify we did nothing wrong.

  100. busy as i can see. do you expect to come to Paris anytime soon ? we would love to see you for LE WEB 2011 !