Google's Cutts On Content Without Links

Jun 3, 2014 • 8:35 am | comments (48) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Matt CuttsGoogle's Matt Cutts answered a question on video on how Google handles content with little or no links, in terms of figuring out how Google judges the quality of the page.

The question posed was "How does Google determine quality content if there aren't a lot of links to a post?"

Matt's answer was, go old school - go back to Alta Vista, where search engines didn't use linkage data for ranking. Yea, just look at the words on the page and how those words are written.

Clearly, by Matt's expressions throughout the video, he wasn't keen on the idea of ranking pages without any linkage data.

Here is the video, it is good to watch and see his facial expressions:

One senior member at WebmasterWorld wasn't happy with the disclosure in the video, he wrote:

I don't think MC is telling it all in that clip. Nowhere in that clip does he mention on page / website metrics - such things as how long a user spends on a page, how many pages per session the user views and what happens when they exit the website. The very absence of any mention at all (absolutely none at all) tells you one thing, MC is not telling the whole truth. On page /site metrics matter a massive amount, they tell G so much that they never, ever could ignore them but MC still prattles on about links as if (exceptional cases excluded) they were the Holy Grail.

Forum discussion at Google+ & WebmasterWorld.

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Michael Martinez

06/03/2014 02:24 pm

He was answering a very specific question, not explaining how Google handles all its rankings. People in the SEO industry need to pay closer attention to context.


06/03/2014 02:49 pm

He didn't answer anything related to quality. The question was "How does Google determine quality content if there aren't a lot of links to a post?" I think you must be a fanboy if you think that was an answer. All he said was this. 1. Content on high authority domains can be seen as quality because of the links to the domain. (links) 2. When there is no content and you create a page you rank since they want to return something. (doesn't have to do with quality) 3. Don't over optimize your page. (quality assumes this) Show me something that is related to what "quality content" is.


06/03/2014 04:24 pm

What he said about keyword stuffing is a lie. You can measure the practice in HTML source code matches and correlate it with rankings for search terms like Games or Cars or Dentists, etc. The number of matches for top of page one is usually in the hundreds or higher. There is always more average matches per site in the top 5 vs the second five. Other than keywords in the title... keyword stuffing correlates as the second strongest factor in google rankings... the amazing part is that it always has... ( and to all the SEO hatemongers... I'm talking about primary research here... try some before saying I'm wrong because I have data.)

Michael Martinez

06/03/2014 05:19 pm

"...You can measure the practice in HTML source code matches and correlate it with rankings for search terms like Games or Cars or Dentists, etc. ..." You could really only make a valid correlation (showing cause and effect) if and only if you had a list of all the factors affecting such rankings, and no one outside of Google has such a list. NO ONE.

John E Lincoln

06/03/2014 07:53 pm

That looked like a hard one for Matt to swallow. haha


06/03/2014 08:53 pm

No, strong correlation is good enough. I rank #1 for thousands of keywords based on strong correlation. I don't need to know all the factors because at any given time there are only 3 or 4 that matter the rest are rare tie breaker conditions... and basic correlation will strongly hint at what the important 3 or 4 are.


06/03/2014 10:54 pm

..says the all seeing, all knowing, biggest troll in SEO. Thanks for yet another useless, snarky comment.


06/03/2014 11:55 pm

If you see a turtle on a fence post, you can rest assured he did not get there on his own. You must have read the infamous phrase "correlation does not equal causation" and dismissed common sense for a straw man argument.

David Watkinson

06/04/2014 05:36 am

Is it just me or does it seem that for most videos, Matt simply says "back in 199x it was like this" or the answer is a hashed version of "create quality, unique and useful content and people will link to it"? I think the main issue is that so many people what to know "if you do x you will rank first". They want an easy answer and there is no easy answer.

Rahul Saxena

06/04/2014 10:59 am

Yes, Rick you are absolutely right, Matt Cutts didn't answer anything related to a quality. I also want to know the things related to what quality content is?

Suraj Rai

06/04/2014 12:13 pm

Matt cutts did not say all things in one video. He keeps something hidden for next video, so we should wait for upcoming video. Again old wine "just look at the words on the page and how those words are written." in new bottle.

Michael Martinez

06/04/2014 12:16 pm

You must have decided to bring illogic and non sequitur to a rational argument.

Yo Mamma

06/04/2014 12:30 pm

I once knew a TROLL named Martinez Who ....

Michael Martinez

06/04/2014 02:55 pm


Michael Martinez

06/04/2014 02:57 pm

"strong correlation is good enough" Nope. "I rank #1 for thousands of keywords" So do lots of other people. You just don't know why all those rankings happen.

Anthony Thomas

06/04/2014 03:02 pm

It makes you think "is content really king" as google seems to keep saying? keep writing quality content, keep writing quality content... a contradiction maybe? obviously without visitors in the first place there is nobody to share and promote your content... which takes us back 5 years to link building again lol


06/04/2014 04:05 pm

I take empirical measurements daily. It is observational field science. I suggest you use a spreadsheet and make a high competition search on google and plot some data on keyword matches in HTML versus rankings... Do you realize that when you hold onto a belief and refuse to look at the evidence that you are a faith-based fundamentalist?


06/04/2014 04:39 pm

matt cutt algorithms rank sites only according to money in google pockets.


06/04/2014 06:32 pm

Wow, they are are a troll. How do you afford to pay your internet bill? Oh yeah, your one of the guys who teach "theory" because you can't produce in the real world Move along now, no more nuggets for the troll.

Art L

06/04/2014 06:53 pm

IMO, anyone who hears Google saying "create useful websites with quality content" and thinks that Google means that is the only thing you have to do to succeed is a fool. BUT - that does not mean that spam or even legitimate link building is the only way to get an audience. An online business is really no different from offline in the sense that you can have a great product that nobody knows about. You have to do some kind of promotion whether that is social media, email marketing, outreach to well known publications & media (PR), paid ads (online or off)... or just waiting for word of mouth to work.

Art L

06/04/2014 06:58 pm

There's no fun in fundamentalism. Just ask the "Google is destroying thousands of innocent small businesses" crowd. No proof, but they "know" it is true.


06/04/2014 07:39 pm

Testimony is a form of proof. :) There is other proof too... Caffeine/Mayday update killed long tail traffic from Google... this is measurable. Google instant quantized searches into shorter tail search terms driving up CPCs... also measurable. Going out of business and laying off employees...also measurable. Lost revenues also measurable.

Anthony Thomas

06/04/2014 09:21 pm

in content is king i meant there is a queen and a .. and a.. it didnt mean that content is the one and only...I said "obviously without visitors in the first place there is nobody to share and promote your content" .. ?

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 01:32 am

There is no such thing as "observational field science". Maybe you mean "observational field research", which is fine but your research doesn't prove anything. You have to develop the proof through solid reasoning and since you and everyone else outside of Google don't know what they use to determine rankings we're all at the same severe deficit when it comes to developing that solid reasoning. In other words, you have no solid reasoning to back up your claims. That's not an insult, it's just a fact that applies to everyone who thinks he has found the reason why page Alpha ranks over page Beta.

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 01:33 am

Seriously, Jim, you should let your dad have the keyboard back. I am sure he got a jolly laugh from all that but you're not fooling anyone.


06/05/2014 02:04 am

"solid reasoning"? Really? What school did you go to? I was taught that science had to have controlled conditions and you have to be able to get the same results over, and over, and over. Could you show me where you get you your "solid reasoning" standard from...or did you simply make that up? I am betting on the latter. We are talking about an algorithm, a mathematical equation, it is as absolute as 2+2, not reasoning...unless you are taking philosophical situations. It simply runs program, nothing more. It has no emotion, doesn't care if you can't get a girl or even what colors you have on your site. It simply runs program and you act like it is some mystical creature.


06/05/2014 02:14 am

"So do lots of other people. You just don't know why all those rankings happen." Lol Yep, it's an accident that I have 30 or so sites that rank for millions of keywords, have high conversion rates and I have no clue as to why? You are seriously funny.

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 03:39 am

"I was taught that science had to have controlled conditions and you have to be able to get the same results over, and over, and over." They also should have taught you about the Conjecture --> Test --> Observation --> Analysis part. That's where the solid reasoning comes in. Acting like a rabid dog in these discussions is clearly not helping you.

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 03:39 am

Geeze, only 30. Welcome to amateur hour, folks.


06/05/2014 03:53 am

Yes, only 30, I have the decency not to experiment on others sites like yourself. And even more so since you are charging for it. You really sound like a snake oil salesman.


06/05/2014 03:54 am

Oh, so you operate your clients sites on incomplete data? Good for you.

Najam Un Nisa

06/05/2014 04:09 am

@rahul ,quality content is the content that is more related even absolutely related and describe the worth of your blog ,your site .You Know that quality is matter rather than quantity

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 12:36 pm

"I have the decency not to experiment on others sites like yourself" You really have no clue about anything.

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 12:37 pm

Jim, maybe you should just give it up. Lying about people and attacking strangers on the Internet has obviously made you a very bitter person.

Art L

06/05/2014 03:38 pm

OK, I didn't think YOU thought content was the ONLY way, but you seem to think that is what Google is telling people. You did also imply that the only way to get an audience is through link building. It isn't. It may not even be the best way for many sites.


06/05/2014 03:49 pm

Gathering measurements and plotting charts is no solid reasoning... Dude... I don't know what to say to that other than I feel bad for your clients if you even have any.

Ashish Ahuja

06/05/2014 04:42 pm

So finally Matt took up one of my questions whew! just joking its somebody else most probably unless its very old.

Ashish Ahuja

06/05/2014 04:56 pm

btw, there is one big takeout from this video that Google looks at Domain Authority and Niche Authority of a site to rank its pages (at 0:50 in the video)

Ben Guest

06/05/2014 06:45 pm

Guys, guys, guys. It's not "quality content", but "high quality content." See? I come with sources:

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 10:40 pm

Good Lord, you think long tail traffic is dead? Sorry, that dog won't hunt. Long tail queries still return plenty of results. For everyone who loses traffic there is someone else who receives more.


06/05/2014 10:44 pm

You don't understand what was lost from caffeine/mayday updates and you don't understand what google instant does to long tail searches. And no... ads steal more from organic today than 4 years ago. All sites get much less long tail traffic than they did 4 years ago. Instant pulls long tail search intensions into shorter tail searches. These points aren't debatable... they are facts. You can go to google with the intension of typing "free online board games" and see how you get pulled into shorter tail search queries. If you have only been running a website for a short time then sure... you don't what you're missing... You think dictionary sites and knowledge sites are doing well with google knowledge graph. Google isn't singling out specific sites... They play a much bigger game than that... They are gunning for entire categories of websites.

Michael Martinez

06/05/2014 10:47 pm

And why do you think that? I've been involved in all this since the 1990s. Just because some people lose traffic doesn't mean everyone does. Most of the people who do well don't even know anything about SEO. But the people who complain the most -- they rarely demonstrate any real understanding of OPTIMIZATION. Just throwing links at your Websites because you read on blogs that is what you should do -- that isn't SEO.

Ben Guest

06/05/2014 10:47 pm

I think he's talking big eCommerce sites because I've see it tucked away on page 4:


06/05/2014 11:06 pm

I think that because caffeine/mayday and instant are the BIGGEST updates to effect WHITE HAT GUIDELINE FOLLOWERS and as someone who has been involved since 1990 you are denying a lot of HISTORY. And when people deny HISTORY it is usually because they don't know HISTORY.

Michael Martinez

06/06/2014 05:10 am

The only denial in this discussion is the denial of the success that many have enjoyed through those updates. "White hat" you say? I rarely see it.


06/06/2014 04:24 pm

You confuse your beliefs with history...

Michael Martinez

06/06/2014 05:55 pm

Nope. You confuse whining with fact.


06/06/2014 06:08 pm

I am enlightened! Your SEO skills are so awesome! Your clients are very lucky to have you! Have a nice day.

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