The MetaFilter Google Update Is In Process Says Google's Matt Cutts

Jun 13, 2014 • 8:21 am | comments (33) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

metafilterAs you may remember, MetaFilter got nailed by an unconfirmed update on November 17, 2012 that Google denied.

Google has now confirmed that update, 1.5 years later. Not only that, Google's Matt Cutts said on Twitter, in response to my story on Search Engine Land that they are working on updating that unconfirmed update from 1.5 years ago.

Specifically, MetaFilter doesn't have to make any changes to their site, but when Google releases the update in the next few weeks or so, MetaFilter will see an increase in referrals from Google.

Matt Cutts tweeted these tweets:

The update from November 17, 2012 seemed to have had a major impact on many forum-like web sites. Google wouldn't talk about it then, but now, they are talking.

I suspect any of you hit on that date, will want to follow to see when the MetaFilter update (naming it that) is released and see if you are also released from that unconfirmed update.

Google's Matt Cutts will not give us more details on that update.

Another side note: When Google does not confirm updates, it clearly doesn't mean there was no update. So I will keep reporting unconfirmed Google updates - just in case years later Google confirms them.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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F1 Steve

06/13/2014 12:35 pm

So Google denied an update? Which they now confirmed, is this solid proof that Google lies? But everything else they say is the truth? I guess its okay to lie if your Google?

Barry Schwartz

06/13/2014 12:47 pm

Well, they didn’t outright deny it. They gave the, we do 500+ changes a year line.

Josh Zehtabchi

06/13/2014 01:02 pm

Much like the "we only sort though known terrorist data" - NSA. (Pre-Snowden) Ironic, is it not?


06/13/2014 02:13 pm

So they are lying by omission :)

Yo Mamma

06/13/2014 03:19 pm

Yet another uncool G$$gle move They lie lots Want to be uncool, be like G$$gle


06/13/2014 04:03 pm

Transparency is the single-most important thing in preventing corruption in politics, relationships, and in this case business. I'm glad to see that the changes of the last few years, finally, beginning to clear (and reverse).


06/13/2014 04:26 pm

Google has no idea what sites are effected by their updates. They must have some other metric that they look at because if they were concerned about specific sites it would inherently cause bias. And we know about "Don't be evil."


06/13/2014 05:03 pm

I hope your reporting of unconfirmed updates is better than your reporting on the "Google working with MetaFilter" article. You really seemed to step in it and then track it all over the house, so to speak. I'm kinda surprised there was no follow-up comment from SEL. I do TRUST your reporting. However your initial article yesterday was wrong and apparently wasn't sourced very well.

Barry Schwartz

06/13/2014 05:09 pm

I was in the audience, I heard what Matt Cutts said. Were you there? My impression was he was in communication with MetaFilter and working with them to fix the issue. Only later did I find out from the founder that Metafilter had limited communication with Google or Matt. I am eager to review the video from the session where Matt spoke about this. Until then, I think, I wasn’t off for interpreting what Matt said as I originally did. Either way, I was sitting in the audience, so I sourced it from what I heard and thought Matt Cutts said.


06/13/2014 05:15 pm

Like I said, I trust your reporting. Trust is something that's earned, we all know this. I also know you were reporting from a conference and likely running your business at the same time. Over the years it seems highly unlikely that Google would be working with a specific business and their complaints, so I think getting a quote from MetaFilter would have been something I would do before publishing. Just some honest criticism is all.

Barry Schwartz

06/13/2014 05:28 pm

Well, honestly: (1) I appreciate the feedback. (2) I really really felt Google was working with them directly. I mean, it is plausible. The amount of public comments Matt Cutts made on Hacker News about it and various other sites. He did send emails to the founder, both admit that even prior to this story. The only thing I misinterpreted was the content of their communication. But again, I need to watch the video, I was convinced enough to post it the following morning (I wanted to post it that night). The main point of the story was not this anyway, it was (1) Google confirmed a penalty that they would not confirm 1.5 years ago and (2) they admitted it was not Panda or Penguin and would not tell us which algo it was. The other part was just a rant at the end by me, which I could have left out, and now know I should have.

Mark Warner

06/13/2014 07:00 pm

No. But thank you for asking for opinions.


06/13/2014 07:14 pm

so does Matt answers and cares about big companies problems only ?

Josh Zehtabchi

06/13/2014 07:15 pm

You're welcome.

Durant Imboden

06/13/2014 07:22 pm

I thought Google confirmed an update, not a penalty.

Goto guy

06/13/2014 08:55 pm

Don't be evil, don't be liars, don't be google!

Maurice L. Robinson

06/14/2014 02:28 am

Lying is to be expected, it's these silent updates that should bother you most.


06/14/2014 04:42 am

And losing your organic search traffic for 1.5 years is a spiffy new feature!

Durant Imboden

06/14/2014 02:10 pm

You think so? I don't.


06/15/2014 05:47 am

I never thought Metafilter was a quality site in the first place. Why should Google waste their time on this site in particular?


06/16/2014 09:06 am

google become churn & burn search engine where people unable to find what they want. good, google. Make people understand what your search engine is not search engine at all (or adwords search engine).

Bhaskar Dihingia

06/16/2014 11:18 am

Well, I guess if you have to police spammers at scales in which Google does, you cannot be truthful about everything! For example, you will not state openly where your anti-burglar system is placed or how it works.


06/16/2014 03:32 pm

So, when you change your house alarm, do you put up a big sign for the burglars that you have done it and which exact system you have installed?


06/16/2014 03:35 pm

No, lying by omission is when you imply something by leaving out a vital piece of evidence that disproves it. This isn't that at all, this is them refusing to answer as normal.

Maurice L. Robinson

06/17/2014 01:59 pm

This is more deception via long-range proactive truth. They tell you in 2014 that they are going to start silent updates so come 2016 you will have accepted it as normal practice.


06/17/2014 02:21 pm

Semantics, they omitted there was an update until now by not telling us.


06/17/2014 02:51 pm

You didn't tell me the last time you went to the toilet. Does that mean you are lying by omission? Of course not. Its the same thing. You have no right or reason to be told about it. Not telling you something you want to know but have no right to know is NOT lying by omission.


06/17/2014 03:13 pm

You didn't ask :p When someone asks and you don't answer it is lying by omission if it is to intentionally mislead someone. And that is exactly what they are doing. Oh and please define what gives me the right to know or not know :)


06/17/2014 03:25 pm

"When someone asks and you don't answer it is lying by omission if it is to intentionally mislead someone" Exactly, you can't show there was 1> Any attempt to mislead, 2> Any omission that would have caused someone to believe it wasn't underway. They just refused to confirm. Thats very different. Right to know stops at the door of privacy, since the Google algo is private, its covered by privacy. Same as for everyone else ;)


06/17/2014 04:36 pm

Oh no Google isn't intentionally misleading webmasters at all LOL. Are we playing the game of who can give a better lawyer definition? This is all just opinion not proving anything legally. They can legally lie if they feel like it. That is your definition not mine :) When it affects someone directly then the right to know changes.


06/18/2014 09:11 am

Nope, it doesn't. The inflation rate directly affects you, you don't get to know after its decided. Your banks internal policies affect you directly, you'll never get to know about them. Lots of things affect you directly that you have absolutely no right to know about because they are part of someone else's private business.


06/18/2014 09:51 pm

Well that is nice that you believe that but I don't. A company is not a person. If it affects me I should be able to find out about it in my opinion as long as it does not directly affect another person. Thee End :)


06/19/2014 08:26 am

Well, I don't disagree that might be nice but thats not what the law or the term lying by omission means :) If you feel you should have the right to know, thats fine, but you don't.

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