Anyone who knows the Google Web Spam team well, knows that they all have a huge distaste for link manipulation. In my opinion, it is more than just a distance for some of the web spam team members, specifically Matt Cutts.
Matt Cutts, a great guy, Google engineer since January 2000, has a strong, deep, gut wrenching distaste for link manipulation, in my opinion. Where do I get this opinion from? I don't think from our conversations but from watching Matt write and communicate with webmasters on link issues since early 2003.
Let me pull out one recent post by Matt Cutts that demonstrates it. A Sphinn thread, Matt writes:
Todd, what about a query like [symptoms of a heart attack]? The searcher wants accurate results ASAP, and might not have enough time or patience to research the subject thoroughly. We think about searches like this and issues like this all the time, which is why Google may come across as humorless when we talk about some linking issues.
I thought Eric made a pretty compelling argument. When you search, you don't want a search engine that is "fooled" by lower-quality links. And if you're trying to compete for search rankings fairly, you don't want a site that takes short cuts to do better than your site. That's why it's so helpful to have great content first and foremost and then promote that content well as opposed to just building links to low-quality content.
Just read that. Do people search for such things? I would think so. I don't think heart attacks are sudden always and I hear many people get them without knowing, they just feel discomfort. So Matt takes this stuff beyond seriously, but sometimes, I feel, personally. Imagine, spending eight plus years working at a company to build out a search experience that provides as much help to the searcher as possible. Now, imagine you have people come in and try to manipulate that? In my opinion, it would take a strong man to not take that somewhat personally. Of course, Googlers can't take it personally, but in some cases - it can be hard not to.
Forum discussion at Sphinn.