Google's Matt Cutts: We Don't Like Content Stitching

Dec 5, 2013 • 9:15 am | comments (47) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Matt Cutts stitchingGoogle's Matt Cutts posted a video yesterday explaining that "stitching content" is a bad idea. In short, stitching content is when you take snippets from various articles across the web and place it on a single page, even with linking to it.

Matt explains there is a difference between writing a summary on a topic by using sources. But you aren't simply copying and pasting those sources, you are summarizing them and explaining them in more detail. He cites Wikipedia as a good example of doing this.

But bad examples would be just copying and pasting quotes and adding links to those sources or not.

I joked on Google+ that isn't Google theoretically doing this with their knowledge graph? Basically taking snippets of content and putting it together in a box and heck, they aren't even citing the source.

Truth is, no one likes to read these types of stitched pages - that is indeed true. But the knowledge graph is user friendly and useful.

Here is Matt's video:

Forum discussion at Google+.

I should note, the image is animated but not in a mocking way. I really wish people wouldn't classify all animated images as funny. I just thought it was cool to show how Matt conveyed with his hands how stitched content for the web.

Previous story: Sorry Edmunds & Yahoo Autos: Google Added Cars To Knowledge Graph



12/05/2013 02:25 pm

Google News is stitching. Is that bad quality ? Is manual content curation (Techmeme) low quality content ?

Barry Schwartz

12/05/2013 02:27 pm

Not my algorithm.

John Stirzaker

12/05/2013 02:32 pm

this is just another scare tactic.... "Please don't build this kind of scraper site even if you do see them dominating every SERP."

Durant Imboden

12/05/2013 02:57 pm

1) Matt Cutts and this story aren't talking about Google News, they're talking about Google Search. 2) If Google News and Google Search *were* "content stitchers," that would be an even better reason for them to downrank other "content stitcher" sites. Why? Because sending searchers to "content stitcher" pages would be like sending searchers from one SERP to another (which is something that Google doesn't like to do because it makes for a poor user experience).

Aunty Seo

12/05/2013 03:13 pm

Good Mattanimation!


12/05/2013 03:13 pm

omg ... Google is soooo full of contradictions ... MC is saying all the time : "Don't build website for Google. Build it for people." Then why reply such questions ? Obviously this guy build website not for people. Otherwise, why ask Google such questions ? It seems to me, that after the authorship failure, Googlers realized, that their doctrine of "Don't build website for Google" is not so obvious. If web developers will build websites with visitors in mind only, then Google will be in trouble pretty soon. is my personal experiment regarding this matter. The main idea is "I don't care about Google ". I mean totally don't care. If it wants to crawl it, feel free to crawl. If it doesn't want - I don't care. No any Google services on the website. Nothing. Like Google doesn't exist. Only as the source for the news ) And I can tell you, that I'm pretty much satisfied with the first results. It's quite possible, that there is online life without Google ) So, sorry Matt, but if I will feel, that visitors like "stitching", then I will stitch. Furthermore, I will not force others not to stitch, because I love your statement "Don't build website for Google." Or is it not so accurate already ?

Robert Mangutl

12/05/2013 03:22 pm

I wonder what all the big news websites would comment on this, are they going to be all penalized?


12/05/2013 03:42 pm

I'm sorry, but the credibility of Matt Cutts is severely diminished these days. Yes, content stitching and scraping is bad, but Google condones these actions on their own properties such as Blogspot and even ranks Google's own Appspot proxies. To Google, it appears content theft if acceptable if it is placed on one of their properties. As Robert so accurately pointed out in his comment, big media sites use content stitching without penalty. I think Google is once again targeting small businesses, with the threat of more penalties, to drive them into the over priced Adwords. It is disgusting what Google has grown into and how they are abusing their dominance. :(


12/05/2013 03:44 pm

Which explains why every Forum on the face of the earth suffered under Panda. Silly Google, crawling is for everyone.

Bill Nadraszky

12/05/2013 04:47 pm

This sounds to me like an argument for or against curation. Content curation looks like an easy way for webmasters and SEOs to create content but what Matt Cutts says here is not building a page that references outside sources and adds content and opinion to it. What he talks about is the idea of just getting relevent keyword based snippets of text and throwing them together. Whether the knowledge graph is right or wrong is not relevent to us unless we are competing with Google in the search engine space. I know that the adding of my views and my knowledge either adds to the user experience or I am not really doing my job of putting that page of content out there


12/05/2013 05:12 pm

google need to penalize google for stupidity. It not likes unique hand-written content, it not likes content curation, it not likes anybody. only google (and their coalition friends with wikipedia) can scrape everything, penalize everything and totally ignore all webmasters.


12/05/2013 05:15 pm

yes, problem what google care only google and google properties, internet coalition and big brands. it go away from search engine to local "business, software&social" directory with lot of ads. But as search engine it becoming useless.


12/05/2013 05:21 pm

google like or not like. it like money, but hate webmasters. all other things are just decoration to "keep good face". At first they destroyed unique hand-written content, now will work hard on destroying all other types of content. Soon will videos (because of youtube), later will images (because of picasa), later will services (because of google services and google not need competition). Soon we will need to buy organic top10 in adwords.


12/05/2013 05:27 pm

Does Techmeme do well in Google? I tried some key terms I thought might apply towards it and wasn't terribly impressed with its rankings despite how big of a site they are. Instead they may just be an example of doing well despite Google considering them lower quality.

Gareth Mailer

12/05/2013 05:34 pm

I think the most hilarious thing about the comments to this post is that people still actually, genuinely, listen to this guy for sound, actionable advice for search marketing campaigns? It's a bit like listening to the car rental guy when he offers you renter's insurance - Google is all about misdirection, misinformation and a whole lot more; take it all with a pinch of salt.

James R. Halloran

12/05/2013 06:16 pm

This should be a no-brainer -- don't plagiarize or stitch from other sites, and you should be fine.


12/05/2013 07:51 pm

Yes, there are more penalties to come.


12/05/2013 08:11 pm

My point is Google considers curation to be low quality. Thus, it implies Google News sucks. Anyways, what does "quality" really means ? Building search engines food from content scraping never implied to link the sources. The question doesn't suggest a BH strategy. I think MC's statement is a stretch, mixing up curation with BH scrap.


12/05/2013 08:12 pm

And you wouldn't wear a tee shirt stating "we love webmasters" :-D


12/05/2013 08:22 pm

I guess Panda killed


12/05/2013 10:12 pm

Google Says: Don't scape content or we'll penalize you. Google Does: Adds stitched content on Knowledge Graph, without citation. Google Says: Customize ad style, but make sure it's clearly visual as an ad. Google Does: Makes ads identical to content, except for small yellow icon. Google Says: Don't fill area above the fold with ads. Keep focus on content. Google Does: Serves 9 ads above the fold, and 2 search results. I get that it's their search engine, and they can do whatever they want, but at what point does the hypocrisy get too much? Surely they must look at their own search page, and realize it breaks their own user experience factors worse than any site out there.

Yo Mamma

12/06/2013 04:25 am

Hey Ethalon, Bing doesn't do this

Soni Sharma

12/06/2013 05:46 am

I think he is saying right just copying and pasting snippets from here and there is not useful. If you are really want to provide useful information then writing in detail will be useful for users.


12/06/2013 09:10 am

yeah, the ads now look almost the same as search results. next move is to remove that micro Ad icon from the ads...

Soni Sharma

12/06/2013 09:45 am

Google has recently updated page rank December 2013 check out my blog post. Earlier Matt cutts said that it will be updated in 2014.

Arpit Agarwal

12/06/2013 10:43 am

Yes Soni, I checked my all website page rank. They all is being updated. This seems to be silent update from Google..

Rahul Mishra

12/06/2013 11:29 am

I don't think so.


12/06/2013 11:30 am

Why is he still employed by Google if he is as shit as you say he is? Just because the guy is not so comfortable via camera doesn't mean he is not doing a great job. Cutts is part of a bigger machine neither he nor us can control.

Gareth Mailer

12/06/2013 11:57 am

Where did I mention anything about his camera skills? Where did I say he wasn't good at his job? I didn't. I actually think he's very good at his job i.e. containing webmasters and getting them to do what's in Google interest, rather than their own. Unfortunately, the two aren't always aligned - increasingly, they're not. Read the comment again.


12/06/2013 12:08 pm

Ah so now you admit Cutts is good at his job despite you asking, why do people actually listen to this guy? Great misinformation you've got there. Oh no sorry, that's what YOU said about Google. :)

Kamaldeep Singh SEO

12/06/2013 12:39 pm

Yes I know Dear :) New Google Toolbar PageRank Update – 6th December 2013

Gareth Mailer

12/06/2013 12:46 pm

Troll, much? Go on then, I will feed you again. As far as Matt Cutts job is to contain webmasters and get them to act in Google's interest, then yes, he is good at his job - very good at it. It would help if you actually read my comments.


12/06/2013 01:23 pm

Google cites wikipedia with a link directly to the page it populated the graph with. Not commenting on my opinions of the graph itself, but to say it is without citation is not correct. You mean the bright yellow button that says 'Ad' right next to the URL of each above-SERP ad and on top of the side board ads? I think it makes it clear that the ads that could possibly be confused for organic results (those above the organic SERPs) are in fact ads. No confusion where the organic results start when a bright yellow icon says 'Ad' next to the URL. Please tell me how Yahoo is making their ads stand out (PS: They barely stand out at all). Bing does a better job than Yahoo differentiating their ads from organic results. They were better than Google at showing this before, in my opinion, Google made the change to put up the bright yellow ad icon. I think they are about equal, with different methods, now. Point three: I never see 9 ads above the fold (I rarely if ever see more than three), but your point is, again in my opinion, a valid one.


12/06/2013 04:24 pm

Yeah, I guess I should say they cite sometimes, but was just referencing Barry's comment in the article about no citation. Their ads blend way to well now though. I'm a pro at avoiding ads, and even I've accidentally clicked one of the new ads. Bing and Yahoo are almost just as bad, but at least they still have the light color backgrounds. Point is, I've had FAR more obvious ads on my own site, and still gotten complaints from Google's ad team about them blending too much. It's really just the hypocrisy that bothers me. Not that their any better or worse than others, just that they can't follow their own rules that they claim are vital for a great user experience.


12/06/2013 05:12 pm

Nice to have this clarified but I think it has always been obvious that Google don't like stitching.


12/06/2013 08:32 pm

next move is to sell organic top10 at adwords


12/07/2013 03:05 am

I find it hard to believe you can just be this naiive dude. For goodness sake, open your eyes man! Webmasters pander too much to Google and increasingly so. Sad state of affairs it is. But as James R. Halloran says up above, just don't plagiarize. Simple. I just shake my head at stuff like this because really this is all just commonsense. I don't know if it's laziness and folks just don't want to do the hard work creating, fresh, creative, "original" content. I've got original in quotes there because let's face it, is anything really original these days? It's all been done already. Nothing new under the sun. Just innovation to package stuff up into ways that adds more value. But I just don't understand how hard it can be grasp some of these seemingly basic concepts. Really, it just baffles me sometimes. Anyway, 'nuff of my diatribe now. Good day to all.

Gracious Store

12/08/2013 03:34 am

Stitching contents will not give any added value to readers but you can do a good job of synthesizing the information you get from other websites to form a completely new content for your audience


12/09/2013 05:41 pm

(answer by webmasters) - Webmasters: We don't like google!


12/09/2013 05:43 pm

google need to put 25 ads and make it red color. and block scrolling navigation bars.

Jitendra Vaswani

12/10/2013 06:04 am

Yes soni you are right. taking excerpt from other website in a meaningful way can make your content look good.


12/12/2013 02:07 pm

lmao - I am sure Matt is just put in front of 'us' to do one thing... take this piss so that Google can just laugh at 'us' - look at his t-Shirt.... he is trying desperately not to laugh. Please Matt, no more, stop,,,my sides are hurting


12/12/2013 02:11 pm

"people don't want to see an an excerpt" is that right Matt. Google results are nothing but 'excerpts' Google News is nothing but 'excerpts'. Your video's should be on 'You've been framed'


12/16/2013 01:43 am



12/18/2013 09:24 am

Troll? Crawl back under the rock you came from and go and spill your sycophantic back tracking bile on Matt Cutts's official blog. He will appreciate it much more than me.

Mailbox Spain Mail forwarding

12/23/2013 11:44 pm

It looks panda dont affected much to techmeme


05/23/2014 09:24 am

These days expressing an unpopular opinion leaves you open to being labelled a 'troll'. The definition has become blurred, rather than a title reserved for those who offend people for kicks, it now extends to those who offend people simply for having a different view also.

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