SEOs Calling Out Google's Matt Cutts As A Hypocrite?

Apr 7, 2014 • 8:42 am | comments (76) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

two facesOn Friday, Matt Cutts, Google's head of fighting all evil web spam, posted on Twitter an interview he gave to the blog. It is basically a place where a guy named Daniel interviews nerds about what hardware they use.

The latest interview was Matt Cutts and you can read it over here. I read it, included it in the daily SearchCap this Friday and didn't think anything of it.

But Matt got a lot of reaction to the interview, calling it out because of all the keyword rich anchor text and the affiliate link at the bottom linking to the hosting company.

Here is Matt's tweet:

The first response was quick and directed about the links:

Matt responded:

Matt didn't respond to most the other criticism, but when someone said it was a "double standard", Matt decided to respond. Here is the tweet:

Matt responds:

Well, there is one affiliate link in the footer.

affiliate link example

So while it is in the footer and not in the blog post, some SEOs are jumping on that.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Previous story: Google Webmaster Tools Link Count Drops


barrie moran

04/07/2014 12:56 pm

Just another storm in the SEO tea cup ;)

MARK Again

04/07/2014 12:56 pm

If honesty were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse. - George Carlin

Andrew Girdwood

04/07/2014 12:58 pm

Seems terribly petty. What are these SEOs trying to achieve? Trying to force Google to say links in interviews are inorganic?

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 12:59 pm

Lets be honest, Cutts doesn't call the shots @Google. If any entity is to blame for destroying the lives of untold millions of small business owners, the blame should be placed sqaurely on the shoulders of Google, their administration, their decision makers, policy makers and those continuing to work for them knowing that it is an evil company.

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 01:03 pm

Agreed. Google is in the link selling business. All it does is sell advertising with ..... wait for it....... links. All links are bad links except for Google paid links L Freekin OL

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 01:05 pm

Here are the EXTERNAL FOLLOW links on that page referenced in the article

Sundeep Reddy

04/07/2014 01:08 pm

It's all about UX they say... I wonder how those links help improving UX? it looks spammy (affiliate marketing) to me...

Andrew Girdwood

04/07/2014 01:16 pm

Google sells adverts. Google's made it clear if you mark your links as adverts then it has no problem with you selling them either.

The Dude

04/07/2014 01:16 pm

I dont think anyone is saying that links in interviews are inorganic. I think the main concern is how something like this would be perceived by Google if anyone else did something like this.

Andrew Girdwood

04/07/2014 01:23 pm

I think that's a fair point. @disqus_05a9A0GszW:disqus has helpfully listed the external links in the post and that looks like a pretty safe list to me. It's not impossible some of those sites, I suppose, to be collecting dodgy links but that's a risk the site faces because of Matt Cutts not despite of him. Why people are calling out affiliate links is beyond me. This is not thin content.

Mike Weaver

04/07/2014 01:25 pm

Wait for Durant to show up. He'll explain it all away for Matt.

Josh Zehtabchi

04/07/2014 01:32 pm

SEO's are becoming bigger cry babies than professional athletes. In context, there's no issue with these links, most of them are product/brand based. I must be missing something here...

Stuart David

04/07/2014 01:33 pm

I don't see the big deal here at all, the link is full disclosure as well, any little thing people will use as a bat to start whacking I guess

Michael Martinez

04/07/2014 01:35 pm

I pity the SEO who is trying to rank for "works to ensure".

Durant Imboden

04/07/2014 01:48 pm

It probably depends on who the "anyone else" is. If the "anyone else" is someone with a history of unnatural linking and penalties, Google might be suspicious (with good reason). For everyone else, linking is something that's learned in the "Citations" chapter of WORLD WIDE WEB FOR BEGINNERS.


04/07/2014 02:12 pm

I totally agree with this statement. I know some would say Matt Cutts is a demon working for the devil, but I won't go that far (yet). However, I will say that Matt is a highly paid pawn that works for a company that has no problem destroying small businesses so that they can get a cut of every ecommerce transaction online. If it's any consolation, I know a number of SEOs who saw their business dry up when Google decided to rank only Fortune 500 companies. Therefore, I'm sure some SEOs have a lot of hatred built up from how Google adversely impacted their businesses.


04/07/2014 02:33 pm

If you look at Google's search engine mission statement, selling links was never mentioned, or advertising. What was and still is a priority in their statement, but not in their actions, is superb CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE when searching. Google's search results are abysmal. Have been since 2012

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 02:33 pm

If you look at Google's search engine mission statement, selling links was never mentioned, or advertising. What was and still is a priority in their statement, but not in their actions, is superb CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE when searching. Google's search results are abysmal. Have been since 2012...

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 02:38 pm

This is better because it explains why Cutts and Google support the blog. Its called negative seo. "30 day challenge to stop using Microsoft software completely"

Mukesh kumar

04/07/2014 03:29 pm

i am agree with you ? What we can do to survive our families , most of the time my rankings fluctuate and now a days i feel my heart rate goes up bcoz of this ... i don't know what to do ?

Nicholas Chimonas

04/07/2014 03:34 pm

Isn't this how 99% of legit articles written with zero SEO goals generally look? Tons of external links, DoFollow, to several high authority and well known sites.

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 03:51 pm

What you can do? Pray to your god that Google goes the way of the dodo. I on the other hand believe that praying is not a commandment of my god and yet another man made, feel-good, brown nosing ritual.

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 03:53 pm

I guess you have no pro football friends because if you called one a cry baby you wouldn't have an unbroken finger to type that

John Britsios

04/07/2014 04:46 pm

Barry are you sure that those guys calling out Google's Matt Cutts as a hypocrite are SEOs? Come on brother...

Jeff Ostroff

04/07/2014 04:51 pm

If you haven't already, you should be making Google traffic irrelevant by getting your traffic from as many other places as possible. It can stink when the Walmart affect that shuts companies down happens on Google as well. Let your traffic from Google be the icing on the cake instead of it being the cake.


04/07/2014 05:02 pm

Do as I say and not as I do. If Matt wants to link out to spam, porn and gambling then he is free to do that. Matt can do whatever he wants because Matt is the god of the internet and you bunch of crying fools can go hang.

L Figarero

04/07/2014 05:32 pm

I have 'pro football' friends and they are some of the most nicest respectable, decent people that I know and there is nothing you can say to them that would cause them to break your finger. Especially, something as mundane as 'cry baby'.

Mark Warner

04/07/2014 06:34 pm

Do you think he linked to those websites to help them with SEO? It's unlikely. Most of the people who have taken issue here have merely heard what Matt has said in the past. You're about 2-3 football fields away from actually understanding it.


04/07/2014 06:55 pm

I don't think all of these people are SEOs, and I have been following the Twitter discussion closely. The real message behind the 'accusations' is: why can Matt Cutts link to whomever he likes and we get a penalty whenever we do the same? That's why Google search marketing ended up in the recycle bin a long time ago, but even more so after the recent events. Not that it was that important in the past either... it was only important for my advertisers and never got over how silly it was to see them running after PageRank when the real value of my sites was in the content and in the readership. Oh well. :) - Luana

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 07:11 pm

I was not talking about under the cover friends. Yes they like pain too, but steroids work contrary to their manhood

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 07:13 pm

I think it was not MAtt at all. I think someone broke into his house and used his computer. OR, he was drunk and has no recollection of riding the telephone pole or the post.

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 07:15 pm

So you are saying that smaller less known sites should dump hundreds of corporate sites on our blogs to improve their SEO? Now that makes it totally clear. All the small sites are just cannon fodder

Nicholas Chimonas

04/07/2014 07:21 pm

No... I'm saying that real humans that know nothing about SEO tend to link out to well known sites several times in articles they write. It's a very natural thing to happen, and only a bunch of SEO minded people would say that 50 some DF links to well known sites is something worth noting or out of the ordinary. Small sites that want to promote themselves would go under the radar if their "guest posts" linked out to other relevant and authoritative sources in the niche they reside. When an article only has 1 or 2 DF external links and they are both keyword rich commercial oriented anchor text pointing to the same site... it's an obvious, unnatural, and easy to detect pattern for Google to target.

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 07:32 pm

What is an affiliate link? "In affiliate programs, it's a special URL that contains the ID or username of the affiliate. This URL is used by the advertiser to track all traffic the affiliate sends to the advertiser's site as a part of the affiliate program" This link is on that page That looks like an affiliate link to me. To quote Cutts "None of those links are affiliate links" Gotcha sunny boy The CODE.... I added one _ to show the code Hosting provided by DigitalOcean Duh, now I see Barry got it hours before me. Gosh I am so thick sometimes. But that would only be right, because he wrote the article. I need a vacation. Donations?

Josh Zehtabchi

04/07/2014 07:38 pm

I have no idea what's going on anymore.

David DuVal

04/07/2014 08:42 pm

1000 Points for "Gotcha Sunshine Boy"

Durant Imboden

04/07/2014 09:32 pm

It's amazing how few people here understand that the interview wasn't published on Matt Cutts's site, it was published on What's more, citation links are part of the interview format (the point obviously being to make it easier for the reader to learn more about the hardware, software, etc. that the interviewee uses).

Yo Mamma

04/07/2014 11:10 pm

I already told myself I am thick, but I don't need DURANT telling me the same thing, which makes me think he's thick too. The title suggests Cutts is a hypocrite. He isn't, he is a liar. Because he stated "None of those links are affiliate links" Clearly as Barry indicated, ONE LINK IS AN AFFILIATE LINK You need to shave and get your glasses checked or at least do as I do - Call yourself thick

Michael Martinez

04/08/2014 12:20 am

"...why can Matt Cutts link to whomever he likes and we get a penalty whenever we do the same?..." I'll be concerned when someone produces ranking reports that show his links were manipulative.

Durant Imboden

04/08/2014 01:29 am

He obviously was referring to affiliate links in the interview itself, not in the publisher's page footer. (It's also worth noting that there's nothing inherently spammy about an affiliate link.)

Ahmad Wali

04/08/2014 04:24 am

First of all, so many people calling here that I'm an SEO or not. It's my right to express my opinions on anything I think needs explanation. It is irrelevant to the discussion because it was about massive links going out. Try it yourself and I'll sit back and eat popcorns while your website is penalized or not. Think of a small biz owner and he links out excessively?

Patrick Coombe

04/08/2014 06:03 am

Makes zero sense. "Called out" more like embarrassed themselves.


04/08/2014 06:53 am

I've said this before in some forum, citation "By the way one of the biggest problem with Google is they don't want to share profit with anyone (metaphorically). If we all use to buy links / AdWords from them then it's OK, but if we use to buy on person A or person B's website then it's a problem. Now tell me, is it natural if some websites appear prior to others no matter the quality of the content ? Answer: It isn't because money rules everything. Just pay to Google." It seems true now.


04/08/2014 07:56 am

Because you run a link selling business, which is against Google's guidelines, it is obvious you will attack Google. Your comments are biased and rendered irrelevant.


04/08/2014 08:29 am

Any link (without a rel=nofollow attribute) can be potentially manipulative. There are website owners who link out without second purposes, yet they get penalized. At the end of the day, Matt is free to link out to whatever page he finds relevant. People just want to enjoy the same freedom.

Allie Patchell

04/08/2014 08:54 am

For anyone wondering about the footer "DigitalOcean" link, it does a 302 to a subdomain on Digital Ocean that has the robots set to Disallow: /. So basically the link is going to a page that can't get indexed. No "link juice" is being passed.


04/08/2014 09:37 am

Open your eyes.

Ahmad Wali

04/08/2014 10:05 am

Maybe you've just read the small portion of the replies or maybe not willing to go through the whole discussion. Point is when you can link freely why can't a normal webmaster? I am not talking about paid links or no-follow. I've been helping people to get penalties removed and in most cases they are shocked because they never "purchased" or placed links in order to manipulate search results. Everyone has the right to express their opinion.


04/08/2014 10:39 am

I know one thing...if you posted this interview to Google Webmaster Forum and covered Matt Cutts name and told them why this page was penalized, all of the "experts" there would tell you you have too many links in the article...

Blaze Arizanov

04/08/2014 11:18 am

Come on.. Does @Matt really has the need to .. affiliate?

Jithin Chandrababu

04/08/2014 11:26 am

Come on... Its not a big deal.. Stop blaming Matt for everything...

Michael Martinez

04/08/2014 12:47 pm

"Any link (without a rel=nofollow attribute) can be potentially manipulative." Much to learn about the ways of search engine optimization you have yet....

Mark Warner

04/08/2014 01:16 pm

Yes, but not everybody has a right to be correct:)

Ahmad Wali

04/08/2014 01:22 pm

Are you talking about Google :P


04/08/2014 01:24 pm

Don't defend Matt just because he's nice or cute, or don't know what. The truth is that there are many sites that break more than half of Google's Guidelines and still do way better than they should. That blog post looks like it's bleeding with all those links. And that's an affiliate link.


04/08/2014 01:39 pm

It's also nofollow... No idea what people are bitching about. Nofollow affiliate links aren't against Google's guidelines. If they're complaining about the multitude of links and/or the BRANDED anchor text most of them use, I think this is a fine example of natural, editorial links. He's linking to those sites because he finds them valuable, worthwhile, high-quality. Nothing to see here.


04/08/2014 01:41 pm

Cutts is just bad at saying what he means. None of the links HE put there are affiliate. He didn't write the footer or decide it needs to be there, the publisher did.


04/08/2014 01:50 pm

much to learn about the ways of personality you have. humble you are not.

PM Fiorini

04/08/2014 02:02 pm

Nothing here. Sorry folks.

Luana @ n0tSEO

04/08/2014 02:53 pm

Don't worry Michael, I have learned enough about SEO (and psychology) to know that, no matter what might happen algorithmically, human interpretation of the value of a link varies and it takes many social factors into account. So no matter your efforts, there will still be someone who considers what you do 'spam', even though in your mind it's not. Anyway, SEO for me is not about Google, but more generically about search engines. I only adopt basic, common guidelines in my optimization plans, to leave the remainder in the webmaster's hands.


04/08/2014 03:39 pm

That's a damned lie! There is a lovely flame war going on below :)


04/08/2014 04:03 pm

Come on Josh, "SEOs" is too generous of a term. "Amateurs that can't look beyond buying links" is more appropriate.

Josh Zehtabchi

04/08/2014 04:03 pm

Ha! Good point, very good point.


04/08/2014 04:08 pm

matt cutts using subdomains and interviews to spam their own website. I not think anybody have interest to that person, except the fact what him provide some google news.


04/08/2014 04:09 pm

they will even can find some natural "unnatural" link...


04/08/2014 04:11 pm

it just matt cutts trying to save face. When him checked our comments, him trying to hide his own spam.


04/08/2014 04:13 pm

I am agree with you. All these updates only to increase google profits and increase ranking of google own & internet coalition sites. There is no other reason than money.


04/08/2014 04:15 pm

i think it looks truth even for peoples who not sell any links and never spam.


04/08/2014 04:17 pm

matt cutts know well how to spam their own website. May be him unable just to fix "relevancy", "pagerank", "ranking", or "white-list" values, so need to spam their own website.


04/08/2014 04:19 pm

matt cutts is liar, seoroundtable poll show before what more than 85% of webmasters not trust to google co & matt cutts.


04/08/2014 06:19 pm

him clearly cheating us, but still try to prove us what him is innocent. So, it very easy to get idea how him "handle" websites made for google. That matt cutts is spammer and affiliate marketer and have a big knife for good really innocent websites.


04/08/2014 06:58 pm

Well, I personally don't have anything against Google nor Matt. I am just saying what is the current situation. I'm not the only one who share this opinion.


04/09/2014 01:52 pm

Really? The only affiliate link there is in the footer, not in the interview. The links are appropriate, editorial and relevant. Again, nothing bad there. If my only concern was ranking THAT page as highly as possible, I might consider putting a nofollow on a few of them but thats about the only thing I see even slightly wrong with the article. There is nothing wrong and never has been with linking from your posts to other valuable content despite some 'SEOs' claiming there was . Now if he had simply linked back to his own website to his own products, that would be link building. Clearly this wasn't the case here. So what exactly are they complaining about? There isn't a single thing in the interview itself again the WMGs, there is a single link on the site itself that is affiliate which is against the WMGs, but its a very minor infraction.....

Michael Martinez

04/09/2014 04:31 pm

Best I can recall, no one ever thought to call me "humble". :) Keep those enlightening demonstrations of your superior personality coming.

Michael Martinez

04/09/2014 04:32 pm

" So no matter your efforts, there will still be someone who considers what you do 'spam', even though in your mind it's not." That is true.

Spook SEO

06/04/2014 06:45 am

Very interesting and valuable blog post, Barry on this post the share link of Matt Cutts that is very helpful. And well described in his interview about the keywords and affiliate links these are important for link building for the guest post and gain traffic from it to get high rank in search results.

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