Back on June 12th, I published a story on Search Engine Land on how Google is working on a fix for Metafilter.
Back then, I was under the impression that Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, was in direct communication with Matt Haughey, the co-founder of Metafilter. When I published the story, Matt from Metafilter told me he never even spoke to him directly, only some vague emails about issues:
Here are some tweets:
@rustybrick All I got was vague "maybe someday things might get better" kind of messaging. No change in traffic. No suggested changes.— Matt Haughey ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@mathowie) June 12, 2014
So then when Matt Cutts announces his extended leave the other day, Matt Haughey wishes him a good time and thanks him for his help:
@mattcutts Have a well-deserved vacation! Thanks again for the help the last few months, sorry it kind of blew up in public.— Matt Haughey ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@mathowie) July 3, 2014
Then Matt Cutts says that he always enjoys talking to him:
@mathowie I always enjoy talking to you. Maybe see you at XOXO?— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) July 4, 2014
I thought they only exchanged some vague cryptic emails?
I guess these conversations could have happened after my story? I am not sure. It is clear from Matt Cutts now that this is something Google is updating on the algorithm side, which will not just help Metafilter but other forum sites.
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.
Anyway, here is Metafilter's Google visibility according to SearchMetrics, there seems to be an uptick:
I tend to look into these things a bit too much, so I apologize.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Update: A comment with more details has been added by Matt of Metafilter:
Man, Barry, you're really reading between the lines and trying to make a mountain out of a molehill here. I know SEO people have to read the tea leaves and go over anything Matt Cutts ever said, but this is kind of nuts to make a post about.
I worked with Matt Cutts in 2002 on a Google/Creative Commons project (I was the designer at Creative Commons when it launched and for three years after). I got to know him a bit then, I was still working with MetaFilter as a side-gig. We say hi to each other at technical (not SEO-related) conferences every couple years. That's what Cutts means by it is always nice to talk to you.
When all this stuff happened, I emailed him to ask for more details, and like I said already on Twitter it was very vague. We never discussed specifics, he never said anything about what I should do, nor did he ever say "that's a good idea" if I suggested a change on my part. It was a few vague emails.
I didn't get special treatment, I tried to point out publicly in my Medium post that perhaps my site was unfairly docked, and based on Cutts' comments at that SEO conference it sounds like my site and a few dozen others might have also been hit by something that might vaguely improve someday.
So I think you're reading too much into Matt Cutts being someone I say hi to at random occasional conferences outside of this industry.