SEO Tactic #95: Pleading To Google's Matt Cutts

Jan 22, 2013 • 8:29 am | comments (38) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

beggingI see this fairy often, an SEO who is out of options, a webmaster who doesn't know what else to try, a business owner out of money - their once thriving web site - no longer makes any sales. Why? They did great on Google for years, Google pushed out one of their many Google updates and they were hit. After months or even years of trying to fix it by removing links, adding content, cleaning up code, relaunching a new design and trying rich snippets - nothing has helped and they have no where else to turn.

Many don't bother and just shut down, some make threats but some throw a Hail Mary and hope for the best.

For example, a Google Webmaster Help thread has one webmaster pleading, begging and putting it all on the table explaining how his business, his livelihood, will all be gone if things in Google don't change. He wrote:

ATT: Matt Cutts I would like to know why my website is nowhere to be found for key search words such as Pull Up Banners, Display Banners and a few more. Our business doubled at the start to the middle of 2012 and I employed extra staff members to cope with the new demand. Our website was on the from page of Google and our small business was going NORTH. Soon after, around July Google took our website off and our business took a turn South. I've now had to let 2 staff members go and my business is about to close. I have followed your tips and looked at most of your videos and articles. I've also look at other sites for advice.

The subject of the post: "To Matt Cutts - Business about to close due to SEO"

I hate seeing posts like this, it makes me so so sad. But I don't honestly know how Googlers deal with seeing things like this. I know, they want the best for the searcher, but to see things like this day in and day out - it must be heart breaking.

Would Matt Cutts respond? 99% of the time, he does not. Will it matter if he does respond? Probably not, outside of maybe giving the webmaster and business owner some hope.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for begging man

Previous story: Can Going Responsive Hurt Your Search Engine Ranking?



01/22/2013 01:41 pm

If you rank high artificially for long periods of time you should be grateful that you made all the money you 'shouldn't' have made! Most of the times sites that concentrate on real value-add for users don't suffer from poor SEO and thus continue to rank highly. I feel sorry for people who become exceptions to this rule; but don't put all your marketing eggs in one digital basket! Long-term success sites shouldn't be focused around black-hat tactics. Black-hat is for short-term gain on a high gradient (but ultimately only for throw-away websites). If you have competitors who rank in the SERPs and you don't, consider: Why does my site do more for web-users than those of my competitors? Why do I deserve to beat each and every individual competitor ranking above me?


01/22/2013 02:13 pm

Nothing new here. Stories like this were on air all the time. These guys do assembly line job, but want to be paid as the ideas generators. " I have followed your tips and looked at most of your videos and articles" - this is assembly line job. Everyone can do this. Why should you be paid higher, than others ? Because you hired staff ? This is probably the most competitive market at moment. I hope I don't need to explain what does it mean.

Daniel Carlyon

01/22/2013 02:14 pm

Just been looking at the sites back link profile and it is pretty poor. Clearly unrelated sites linking to his, including movie review sites, bridal shoe sites and all very low quality sites. So that webmaster kind of got what he deserved as they have clearly done some sort or link building that breaks the guidelines. As for matt cutts responding.... no chance and like you said, even if he did respond it would be completely useless and would dodge the hole topic and give a very roundabout answer that doesn't really answer the question.

Diane Aull

01/22/2013 02:43 pm

Why do people put all their eggs in one basket and *rely* on Google search to promote their business? These folks should have many marketing channels going, so that the loss of any one would not lead to a loss of the business. Google's algorithms change all the time, and counting on them as your entire marketing plan is dangerous and irresponsible. If he had strong PPC campaigns and a good offline marketing presence, the loss of Google rankings wouldn't be pleasant, but it wouldn't spell the death of the company.


01/22/2013 02:51 pm

Why not just write good content and do no shady link building to succeed?

Lord of SEO

01/22/2013 03:45 pm

Eh? He's the notorious small biz killer, and his chief henchman, is the gummy bear looking gollum Larry Page. They care not about thy business, they maketh billions scraping your content, sorting it, and making the rules up #muahahahaha

Lord of SEO

01/22/2013 03:47 pm #mattcutts responds

David Iwanow

01/22/2013 04:37 pm

Well damn after reading the responses on the thread I have to admit that guy got a bit a of serve for his rant on Google ending his business as it seems his methods and reasons for all that traffic aren't exactly natural. Sure it's a smart strategy to never rely on just SEO for all your business but it also means evolving and investing in other channels such as content, email marketing, social when the times are good....


01/22/2013 04:46 pm

It's a very sad thing to have to give up on your business. However when it comes to those companies that have “worked the system” through illegitimate link building I have no such feelings. Think about all the other companies that didn’t have the understanding/ability to “work the system” and lost their business because of it. Personally I don’t think Google has done enough to punish these types of link tactics. In my industry specifically 95% of the top search results for the most searched keywords have link profiles with lots of spammy links.

Dipta Malik

01/22/2013 04:52 pm

Agree with eggs and baskets comment here - you wouldn't see someone invest all their money into one stock... This is no different. Have to feel for the people losing jobs etc, but cannot rely on one tactic alone all the time - one day, the goose will stop laying golden eggs. Think I've just over-egged the word "egg" in this comment. Clear breach of keyword stuffing rules, sorry about that. Fact is, there are still spammy links all over the shop - it's like the Lance Armstrong/drugs thing... Unfortunately, the cheats always seem to be one step ahead of Google... But I'm glad that Google try and do something about it, even if there appears to be collateral damage a lot of the time.


01/22/2013 05:02 pm

idiot.. he is #1 for pull up banners melbourne in what a waste of my time..


01/22/2013 05:03 pm

p.s. i left a comment on the thread g thread.. lol.. enjoy

james egan

01/22/2013 05:05 pm

There will be a reason that Google took his site off the grid, and using webmaster tools he would have been notified of that reason, I am willing to place money on the fact his SEO was done out of house by a self styled "expert" or by himself to save money. Google do not indiscriminately punish sites for no reason.

Ben Guest

01/22/2013 05:09 pm

Maybe he should do some "hangouts".

Ben Guest

01/22/2013 05:11 pm

LOL Nice find! That's why I don't look into things unless friends, fam or I get paid. ;-)

Lord of SEO

01/22/2013 06:17 pm

Hi Matt.

Jesse Friedman

01/22/2013 07:19 pm

I don't believe in fairies.


01/22/2013 07:20 pm


Winson Yeung

01/22/2013 07:33 pm

I doubt Matt would reply to that...

Alexander Hemedinger

01/22/2013 07:33 pm

I agree. I have all my clients expand their efforts in other areas. Social marketing and even Yahoo/Bing isn't horrible. Always have to think outside the box I guess. Not many small business owners do.

Alexander Hemedinger

01/22/2013 07:33 pm

If you gave Matt a cookie he would.

Lord of SEO

01/22/2013 08:30 pm

like the YT video that ranks #1 for 'make money online'?


01/22/2013 10:29 pm

m. cutts and google just not cares. They earn money by hiding information from us.


01/22/2013 10:31 pm

i think google is biggest content penalization engine in the world. And we don't know all factors which it used to penalize site. Here is also manual actions which can help you to lost your brain. I still not understand why google not providing list of penalties for site in GWT.

Connor Bringas

01/22/2013 11:27 pm

I wouldnt bet on hearing anything from Matt Cutts. Its sad that these updates destroy businesses, but what can he do? It would be unfair for him to just bring up their rankings, let alone anyone elses. Great post thanks,


01/23/2013 12:37 am

The webmaster who complained to Matt Cutts is probably just one of a million people in the same boat. Especially with regards to the sales of products, small mom and pops can't compete against fellow Internet Association member Amazon. Like Google, who monetizes the work of millions of webmasters, Amazon has the product sales market corned and charges excessive listing fees. Now, the question is what value does Amazon offer in many of Google's product searches? Does Amazon own the products that Google is ranking them for? Does Amazon even possess the products they are selling? Does Amazon support the support the products they sell? The answer is no in many cases. While no algorithm can rank the value of actually being able to speak to a person when you have a pre-sale question about a product, I know the difference and spend my money accordingly. The broader implications of ranking Amazon so well on most product searches is that it does have an impact on the economy, as the complaining webmaster eluded to. Although Amazon does not appear to have his keywords bagged yet, the consolidation of wealth on the internet shall continue. That I am sure of.

Winson Yeung

01/23/2013 04:09 am

LOL! Where shall I send the cookie too :D


01/23/2013 07:14 am

lol. Glad so see we are all seeing MR Anti-SEO for whatever he is.

SEO Workers

01/23/2013 08:49 am

I can understand the pain of that site owner, but I cannot understand how can he or others expect search engines to tailor their algorithms to conform to their practices. And when it comes to Matt and his team I honestly can understand how horrible they should feel being blamed for something that it is not their fault. I think what we are missing is an IQ toolbar and not a PR toolbar. Geesh...


01/23/2013 11:33 am

Everything is much simpler. Millions of people constantly return to Amazon. Google can measure this. Obviously there is something why people do return and it can be helpful/useful/interesting for others. That's why Amazon is ranked higher. Google doesn't know why people return. All it knows - people return ! This is a good sign. But the most important SEOs can't fake it.

Sid Porter

01/23/2013 12:38 pm

WOW, wait just a minute!! We, too were hit hard. Enjoying top serps wasn't achieved by 'worked the system'. It was done by following the guidelines set up by Google. However, Google changed the guidelines and WE didn't adapt in a timely manner. It's not like we all practice black hat seo plans. We played by the rules and the rules changed. Should that be a death sentence??

Ranu Jain Gupta

01/23/2013 12:51 pm

Seems based on everyone's feedback you have made some changes on your website. Looking at your current site I would recommend to re-write the titles and meta tags. If I talk about the meta description of your homepage it is stuffed with the "Banners" keyterm - "Pull Up Banners Melbourne specialise in a wide range of banners, pop up walls, fabric walls, bow banners, flag banners, pull up banners, tear drop banners, vinyl banners and corflute signs." Also, make the title descriptive not like the present one - "Pull Up Banners, Pop Up Walls, Retractable Banners, Melbourne." Over optimization with keyword stuffing is penalizing your website. I am sure if you follow all the recommendations and suggestions your site will be recovered from this awful penalty.


01/23/2013 12:56 pm

His real name is Richard but we prefer to call him Dick for short.

Wendy Bauer Piersall

01/23/2013 02:59 pm

Unfortunately, this is also a fairy tale. My network of sites is 100% original content written by me, or one of my two well-educated and talented writers. We shoot our own photographs. I've never bought or sold a link in my life. I don't even solicit links from friends. Our readers link to my sites frequently, almost weekly. Our content is shared daily on Facebook, Twitter and mostly Pinterest. We do none of it ourselves - it's all earned based on the quality of our content. And last week my traffic tanked to 40% below of last years' numbers, when historically I should be 20%-65% above. Forgive me for ranting and throwing a pity party for myself, but my husband quit his job 8 months ago to start his own business. After 4 years of solid income from my sites built based on everything Google has told us, we thought it was a safe time for us to rely on my income for our family of 5. Now I'm ready to have a nervous breakdown.

SEO Professional

01/23/2013 04:55 pm

It appears as his rankings are fluctuating, which leads me to think his link building is not all that secure. Poor link building structures will do this to any website.


01/23/2013 05:27 pm

I can understand your frustration with Google. But Google's guidelines never changed - they have always advocated for high quality content. The only difference now is that Google is actually following through on their guidelines. If you ranks were effected by Panda then you were most likely participating in some type of Black Hat SEO technique (crap directories, gone with a shady PR service or blasted out crap articles via article distributors).

Brad Dalton

01/23/2013 10:57 pm

The attitude at Google is to use the shotgun method. Doesn't matter if they take out some qaulity content and good domains suffer, as long as they get some of the spam and don't hurt anyone that has the power to do anyuthing about it. There's NO way a change in the algorithm like Penguin or Panda won't also negatively effect qaulity content as well. Its Russian roulette. Matt Cutts and his team are wiping out some good domains and there's nothing you can do even when they get it wrong unless you have friends in high places. If this ever happens to a site like search engine land or SEOMoz, it would be reversed within days.


04/20/2013 03:21 am

Using one of the best seo tactics could really give you more benefits from it. If you were doing your seo campaign on your website the it's very ideal that you have to make use of the very competitive methods and tactics to obtain your goal in a very easy way.

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