Google Insists Panda, Penguin Not Designed To Increase Its Revenue

    June 4, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google put out a new Webmaster Help video, featuring Matt Cutts once again talking about “misconceptions” in the SEO industry. You may recall a while back when he tackled the “misconception” that Google is doing everything you read about in its patents.

There are two main takeaways from the new video. The first is that Google does not make changes to its algorithm (like Panda and Penguin) in order to generate more revenue for itself. The second is that you should focus more on design and user experience than link building and trying to please search engines.

Do you agree with Matt’s statements? Are you convinced that Google is putting user experience ahead of short-term revenue gains? Let us know in the comments.

First, Cutts points out that a lot of people don’t get the difference between an algorithm update and a data refresh, both of which are common terms associated with Panda and Penguin. He’s talked about this before, but here’s his latest refresher.

“The difference between an algorithm update versus just a data refresh – when you’re changing your algorithm, the signals that you’re using and how you weight those signals are fundamentally changing,” he says. “When you’re doing just a data refresh, then the way that you run your computer program stays the same, but you might have different incoming data. You might refresh the data that the algorithm is using. That’s something that a lot of people just don’t seem to necessarily get.”

Cutts put out a blog post back in 2006 on the difference between algorithm updates and data refreshes. He then gave these straight-forward definitions before pointing to a video in which he compares an algorithm update to changing a car part, and a data refresh to filling up the gas tank:

Algorithm update: Typically yields changes in the search results on the larger end of the spectrum. Algorithms can change at any time, but noticeable changes tend to be less frequent.

Data refresh: When data is refreshed within an existing algorithm. Changes are typically toward the less-impactful end of the spectrum, and are often so small that people don’t even notice.

So that’s the first misconception Cutts aims to clear up (again) in this new video. Then he moves on to “a bigger one they don’t seem to get”.

“I’ve seen a lot of accusations after Panda and Penguin that Google is just trying to increase its revenue, and let me just confront that head on,” says Cutts. “Panda, if you go back and look at Google’s quarterly statements, they actually mention that Panda decreased our revenue. So a lot of people have this conspiracy theory that Google is making these changes to make more money. And not only do we not think that way in the search quality team, we’re more than happy to make changes which are better for the long term loyalty of our users, the user experience, and all that sort of stuff, and if that’s a short-term revenue hit, then that might be okay, right? Because people are going to be coming back to Google long term. So a lot of people…it’s a regular conspiracy theory: ‘Google did this ranking change because they want people to buy more ads,’ and that’s certainly not the case with Panda. It’s certainly not the case with Penguin. It’s kind of funny to see that as a meme within the industry, and it’s just something that I wanted to debunk that misconception.”

“Panda and Penguin,” he continues. “We just want ahead and made those changes, and we’re not going to worry about whether we lose money, we make money, whatever. We just want to return the best users’ results we can. And the mental model you should have is, we want to have the long-term loyalty of our users. We don’t want to lock users in, so we have Data Liberation. People can always get their own data back out of Google, and if we just choose short-term revenue, that might make some money in the short term, but historically we’ve had the long-term view. If you make users happy, they’ll come back. They’ll do more searches. They’ll like Google. They’ll trust Google more. That, in our opinion, is worth more than just some short-term sort of revenue.”

“If you look at the history of the decisions that Google has made, I think you see that over and over again, he adds. “And Panda and Penguin are no exception to that.”

We did look back at some of Google’s earnings reports. The Panda update was first launched in February, 2011. Google’s revenue grew 27% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2011.

“We had a great quarter with 27% year-over-year revenue growth,” said Google CFO Patrick Pichette. “These results demonstrate the value of search and search ads to our users and customers, as well as the extraordinary potential of areas like display and mobile. It’s clear that our past investments have been crucial to our success today—which is why we continue to invest for the long term.”

Some other snippets from that report:

Google Sites Revenues – Google-owned sites generated revenues of $5.88 billion, or 69% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2011. This represents a 32% increase over first quarter 2010 revenues of $4.44 billion.

Google Network Revenues – Google’s partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $2.43 billion, or 28% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2011. This represents a 19% increase from first quarter 2010 network revenues of $2.04 billion.

Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our AdSense partners, increased approximately 18% over the first quarter of 2010 and increased approximately 4% over the fourth quarter of 2010.

Looking ahead to the next quarter’s report, the first full quarter of post-Panda results, Google’s revenue was up 32% year-over-year. Here’s CEO Larry Page’s statement from that one:

“We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32% year on year for a record breaking over $9 billion of revenue,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I’m super excited about the amazing response to Google+ which lets you share just like in real life.”

A few more snippets from that report:

Google Sites Revenues – Google-owned sites generated revenues of $6.23 billion, or 69% of total revenues, in the second quarter of 2011. This represents a 39% increase over second quarter 2010 revenues of $4.50 billion.

Google Network Revenues – Google’s partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $2.48 billion, or 28% of total revenues, in the second quarter of 2011. This represents a 20% increase from second quarter 2010 network revenues of $2.06 billion.

Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our AdSense partners, increased approximately 18% over the second quarter of 2010 and decreased approximately 2% over the first quarter of 2011.

The word “panda” is not mentioned in either report as far I as can tell, but there you do have a slight decrease in paid clicks from quarter to quarter, which given that this takes AdSense into account, and many sites affected by Panda were AdSense sites, could be representative of a direct blow from Panda itself.

The next quarter, however, saw paid clicks increase 13% quarter-over-quarter. In Q4 of that year, they increased 17% quarter-over-quarter.

Interestingly, back in July of 2011, analyst Tom Foremski suggested that Google wasn’t being clear about Panda having an impact on ad revenues, pointing out a “huge disparity between the growth rates of Google sites and partner sites,” which he said was “without precedent for most of its history.”

Cutts actually took issue with some words from Foremski, and reacted in a comment on a Hacker News thread, where he points to transcripts from actual earnings calls, highlighting relevant sentences. Here’s Cutts’ full comment from the thread:

DanielBMarkham, let me try again using quotes from Google’s last two earning transcripts from the last two quarters and see whether that helps to clarify.
I’m loath to go anywhere near a subject like corporate earnings for various reasons, but Foremski says “There is no explanation from Google or Wall Street analysts that I could find,” but anyone can go read Google’s Q2 2011 earnings call transcript, which you can find at http://seekingalpha.com/article/279555-google-s-ceo-discusse… . The relevant sentence is “Network revenue was again negatively impacted by the Search quality improvements made during the latter part of Q1, as you will remember, and know that Q2 reflects a full quarter of this impact.”

Now go read Google’s Q1 earning’s transcript at http://seekingalpha.com/article/263665-google-s-ceo-discusse… . The relevant section is “The Google Network revenue was up 19% year-over-year to $2.4 billion. That Network revenue was negatively impacted by two things, the loss of a Search distribution partnership deal and also, what has been broadly communicated, by Search quality improvement made during the quarter. Regarding the Search quality improvement, remember that we regularly make such trade-offs. We really believe that the quality improvements that benefit the user always serves us well both in the short term and in the mid term in terms of revenue.”

So Foremski claims that “For some strange reason no one has picked up on this or noticed this huge change in its business model. There is no explanation from Google or Wall Street analysts that I could find.” I would contend that Google has actually been quite clear about the reasons for the change in network revenue in its earnings calls.

In particular, Google has been clear in that it’s willing to accept an impact in our revenue in order to improve the quality of our search results.

In Q1 2012, paid clicks were up 7% quarter-over-quarter. In Q2 2012, they were up 1%. In Q3 2012, they were up 6%. In Q4, they were up 9%. In Q1 2013, they were up 3%. So, while there was a short term hit, the long term does seem to see increase after increase in this area.

Now, back to the video. Finally he gets to the topic of what he thinks SEOs are spending too much time doing.

“I think a good proxy for that is link building,” Cutts says. “A lot of people think about, ‘How do I build more links?’ and they dont’ think about the grander, global picture of, ‘How do I make something compelling, and then how do I make sure that I market it well?’ You know, you get too focused on search engines, and then you, for example, would entirely miss social media and social media marketing. And that’s a great way to get out in front of people. So, specifically, I would think, just like Google does, about the user experience of your site. What makes it compelling? What makes it interesting? What makes it fun? Because if you look at the history of sites that have done relatively well or businesses that are doing well now…you can take anywhere from Instagram to Path – even Twitter…there’s a cool app called YardSale, and what those guys try to do is they make design a fundamental piece of why their site is advantageous to go to. It’s a great experience. People enjoy that.”

I think we’ve all pretty much heard this before.

Do you think Panda and Penguin have really helped the quality of Google’s search results and created a better user experience? Is link building still of major importance? Let us know what you think.

Image: SerSon Art (Etsy)

  • http://www.cfsearchmarketing.com Pierre Fiorini

    Google not worry about money and the shareholders??? Really Matt??? You are full of shit. Don’t insult our intelligence with this non-sense. These updates *are* specifically designed to augment revenues and profits. Period. Search quality??? What a joke.

  • Tommy

    Yeah and toilet paper wasn’t meant to wipe your a**, Matt Cutts and Google are full of BS. My site is done and recommend others not to try to build one, Google will take it down if your in a profitable niche….. Thanks Google for your Capital Greed! Now time to face the other American Greed which tore this economy in shreads, time to find a job :(

  • http://Sonycameralens woshishuiya

    This Motorola handset brother doing in recent years of development, in fact, been a bit off-line. Will catch up with something a eureka moment, to design a stunning exquisite products, such as the year of the blade V3 phone. Without this point Emmanuel, Moto handset designs are sometimes really a bit miserable.

    Since 2006, Motorola’s handset business started way down. Also called as Xiao, also lost, Motorola, the blade V3 is the “Xiao.” Over-year success of the Motorola V3 lived a “feast” days, “not only did not go further innovation, and then becomes no more vision.” Former Motorola executives Greater China said, “Motorola when up to more than 20 platform, and only a few platforms when Nokia, the cost is low. “Motorola had hesitated, lost its way.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/company/brick-marketing---boston-seo-firm Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing

    “you get too focused on search engines, and then you, for example, would entirely miss social media and social media marketing.”

    I don’t know if it’s that easy to miss social media anymore, but when you get hyper-focused on SEO it is very easy to lose the forest for the trees. You start only thinking in terms of what makes the search engines tick and less about what makes your consumers tick and that’s the wrong way to approach your business.

  • Pat

    “Stop focusing on link building”, Ohh yeah we at Google will continue “selling” the links in our ppc, do what I say not what I do, and by the way you should make really clear what area of your site is paid adverts, we at Google will continue to hide our ppc results for the not initiated, and to increase your click through rate on your ppc campaigns you have to use Analytics, off course we will continue collecting all your customer data that way and use it as we see fit, the same goes to people using Adsense, we will continue collecting this “free” data and using it in Google shopping and “discovering” new niches for us to own, thanks to your collaboration, life is great!

  • conspiracy theorist

    Wow. Apparently anyone who thinks Panda/Penguin helped increase Google’s revenue is now a “conspiracy theorist.” YOU LIE, Matt Cutts. Penguin 1 made Google a ton of $ and that update last September that killed all exact match domains, which coincidentally fell on the last day of Q3, BOLSTERED your revenue for Q4 like never before! This man is a disinformation agent for one of the most crooked enterprises on the planet. Boycott all Google products.

    • Adam


  • http://spec-rite.com Tim S

    Even a small/micro business like mine has seen the *opposite* of what you’d think was intended… if you search for similar business’s to mine… you’ll now see the crummier/small sites and business’s show up in the search results, rather than the more progressive ones.

    What I mean is this… if a small business website has done *NOTHING* not even named their home page… they now rank higher than a non-spammy professional site.

    I understand that websites that are spammy and off topic etc should be pushed down, what about punishing sites in what seems to be an effort to promote PPC?

  • Ashish Chauhan

    Have any one notice background color of top ads coming in SERP? Now, Its hard to differentiate between organic results and paid ads. They have done that to increase CTR on ads. Is it seo misconception Matt? Don’t tell me that I am the head of Search quality team, I don’t have any idea about it.

    • Tim S

      Yes… I’ve noticed that as well.

    • Pat

      This is really funny! In this same site you will find this article: “Google Warns: You Better Adequately Disclose Paid Content”. So do what I say not what I do…

  • http://www.bizwaremagic.com Titus Hoskins – Bizwaremagic

    People forget Google morphed into Goog years ago. The bottom line dictates every move Google makes and if that is not the case, shareholders should demand Matt Cutts and everyone at Google resign immediately. Not sure but I believe I have a few Google shares in my mutual funds… 😉

  • Bob Rodriguez

    There is no doubt whatsoever that the most recent series of updates put web sites like Wiki and yahoo travel above other local vendors (I can speak to the tourist trade in particular).

    Here is a typical case in point. I have a web portal that is extremely popular on Yahoo and Bing. You can not only get local information but you can make reservations DIRECT and get answers straight from the source (people who actually live in the destination location); not second hand from “posts” on Wiki and trip advisor.

    After this string of updates “general information” sites are now rated on top and above them (pay per click sites). These top site are now those who are harvesting their information from the very locals that they are charging to be on their sites (like flipkey and trip advisor). If you want to get in the game you MUST PPC. And as a local vendor you can not compete with these larger concerns (unless you buy a space on their site).

    This is a slick move by Google but so very obvious! Prior to these updates we enjoyed over a decade of informing our customers and making their reservations.

    I am absolutely certain that I am not the only example.

  • Bob Rodriguez

    Google knows the truth but they are laughing all the way to the bank. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • http://brazilintro.com Normand Carriere

    Well, I am in total disagreement with Google statement.

    There is a monopolistic approach to Panda, Penguin since last summer 2012.

    These changes where designed to move site owners away from what used to be good ranking into forcing them to buy pay per click keywords from Google.

    It is a matter of dying as a business or staying in business.

    And to survive, the sole option left following the negative impact of those changes is to buy pay per click. There is no other way to drive traffic.

    The alternative is dark to say the least.
    In our case, we use to rank constantly among the first 2 of 3 hit for all keywords combination related to the business we are in.

    Since the summer 2012, our ranking as dropped as fast as a 747 from the sky. The net result is a rapid dive to bankruptcy.

    To survive, we let go staff from our business.
    There is no more staff to let go. Except perhaps the site itself.
    After 12 years in business, we will hold on for a few more weeks, hoping for a miracle in the search engine ranking. A miracle. That all it is.

    Unless of course, we decide to spent our last business pennies on Google pay per click service to drive some traffic.

    So, one does NOT need to be a genius to understand what the Google drive is all about: making more money at the expense of small site owner like us.

    Normand Carriere

    • http://www.usmilitaryhelicopters.org Mike


      I read you post, but I don’t see where you mention how to attained those rankings? Did you get it through White Hat/Grey/Black? Was it mostly organic? Did you leverage other methods of driving traffic?

      If you site was that popular, why do you feel like it lost it’s ranking?


      • Pat

        In the real life of a small business, networking and promotion of your business is vital, you have to print lot of business cards, flyers, banners, etc, you can not depend on a single marketing company to drive traffic to your business. But that is exactly Google’s goal and preaching, you have to “hope” for them to drive traffic to your site, or use ppc the only sure way to get traffic from Google, you could be number one today in the organic results, that means that you really are number 4 or less in real results, be aware that more than 99% of people can not differentiate between paid and not paid results, but tomorrow if Google consider that you may have enough funds to fund a ppc campaign or Google do not like some of your hard earned links then you could be sent to the page 2+, welcome to the club …

      • Adam

        Who is telling you what is white, gray or black hat Mike? Google is the know all be all search library that should be able to determine these things for the betterment of the people? Read animal farm, that is far more interesting……….. CLONE

    • http://www.usmilitaryhelicopters.org Mike

      I looked at your site. Would you consider it keyword stuffed and well written?

  • http://www.bing.com Bill


  • http://www.escalateseo.com Prabhat Saini

    Well I checked couple of Matts videos and he surely says indirectly that they are stuck at finding paid links {ummaaaahh} and wants web masters to mention it explicitly that the content in link is a sponsored link and also mark it NO FOLLOW. Pity equation…

    Next, they have released both their birds without much problems. But third bird if ever it comes will surely bring downfall of Big G. I can see a blunder around the corner.

  • http://www.netviperinteractive.com Dave Fogel

    I personally think the biggest reason behind these algorithm changes is to push more people into PPC. Google makes not money off SEO and then make it harder and harder to do SEO. Eventually the only thing left to do is PPC if you want to shown on the front page.

  • http://www.enviroequipment.com/used-environmental-equipment.html Enviro Equipment Inc.

    “There are two main takeaways from the new video… that you should focus more on design and user experience than link building and trying to please search engines.”

    Really Matt Cutts? Ever try getting someone to visit your website without caring about link building and pleasing the search engines (especially Google)? The most beautifully designed and user-friendly website in the world is going to generate $0 in revenue if no one finds it in the SERPs.

  • Paul


  • Barry

    Hogwash. Google claims it is targeting spam websites. This is a smokescreen for their real agenda, which is domination of on-line content, a worrying trend towards a corporate kind of Fascism. My site has been decimated by Google – it have none of the features which Google claim would mark it out as a spam site and yet it has been blown out of the water as a result of the latest algorithmic tweaks to Google’s search engine. What Google is doing, and has been doing for the past 2 years, has been NOTHING to do with spammers, content, or user experience. It is all about Google boosting its revenue and achieving ever greater control over the data that we all make available to it, data which it can mine, package up and make as much money from as it can, whilst shirking its tax obligations. It’s time we all woke up to what Google is REALLY about and told them enough is enough.

  • http://thegrcbluebook.com james

    Google is not being totally honest about Penquin given that there is no monitor or oversight designed to audit what Google is doing with the terabytes of data they are collecting on internet entrepreneurs. No for profit firm should be able to dictate the terms on “free speech” the way that Google does.

    Free speech is a constitutional right. Google has effectively preempted free speech by becoming the judge, jury, and enforcer of internet behavior. How is it that a firm that benefits directly from the internet can determine what goes on in a free enterprise society. We don’t give the US government this level of control over our lives entirely why has the entire internet community laid down to the whims of Google?

    There should be a nonprofit collaborative of internet professionals willing to oversee Google and all other web entrepreneur behavior and open up the data that Google has claimed as proprietary information. Google has no right to solely claim the internet their domain to control.

    This is dangerous in a free society and dangerous in that the original owners will not live forever leaving open the possibility of misuse in the future assuming current owners have no negative purpose in mind.

  • http://www.bridgingfinance.org/contact-us/about-us.html Jon McMullan

    Focus more on design and userbility? As long as links are the underpinning thing in ranking, design and userbility are secondary. Even if you have the nicest looking site in the world, with high quality information, people in your own industry are not going to link to you. That’s a fact.

  • Cheriezson

    That statement is a bald face lie; as anyone paying attention to Googles’ finances know that after the 1st quarter of last year:

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – April 12, 2012 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.

    “Google had another great quarter with revenues up 24% year on year,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google.

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – July 19, 2012 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2012.

    “Google standalone had a strong quarter with 21% year-on-year revenue growth

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – October 18, 2012 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2012.

    “We had a strong quarter. Revenue was up 45 percent year-on-year, and, at just fourteen years old, we cleared our first $14 billion revenue quarter,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google.

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – January 22, 2013 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced financial results for the quarter and the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012.

    “We ended 2012 with a strong quarter,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “Revenues were up 36% year-on-year, and 8% quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half. Est. ($140,000,000 Per Day in Profits)

    Absolutely not is wrong with making money but when the facts clearly showing forcing everyone to use PPC instead of free organic listings was the strong objective for this move. But the biggest move in which I call all of us SEO/Webmasters dummies for the reason that Google is at some point going will not need you in organic search by providing their own results. Keep falling for the “User Experience” excuse!

    Google wants to be Amazon “why”? Every single listing on Amazon is paid!!! Time will tell.

  • Randy Fox

    Yes they have improved the internet. I was just thinking when I want to find some bags for my Dirt Devil Hand Vac that I want flash and to read the Gettysberg Address while buying vacuum cleaner bags. Yes more content. Thank you Google, wait I forgot what I was trying to buy. Sometimes no all the time I want fair simplicity in buying. The internet is not a blog, I don’t want to worry about Penguin, Panda, Spider Monkey, sewer rat or any other goofy algorithm.

  • HJ

    Who makes Google big? The quality of search results? I doubt that as I have not really seen any improvement in the quality, rather the opposite. So what makes google big is the brand name created and the publicity the webmasters give to them. They are equally dependent on the webmasters. Why doesn’t everyone starts promoting, for example Bing, in all their News Letters (“WE Use Bing”) and sites. Create the right balance of competition… and I tell you that it is in the hands of you and me.

  • John Murphy

    The interesting thing that Google never ever mentions is pure online product retailers. google pushes Panda & penguin out there by using Quality Content as the benchmark for us all to follow and for some reason kills the little guys and gives all the big companies the money positions on page 1 of the serps. In the Uk for the search term televisons for sale 9 of the top positions are multi nationals, and 2 of them are supermarkets. How could this possibly help the user experience if all people get are the businesses they see everyday when out and about. what happened to the world wide web. Google have made the world wide web into the shop around the corner. The reason revenues go down at times is that most businesses compliment their organic results with adwords, yet when their organic business dies they have to cut back like in any normal business and spend less. its nothing to do with their changes impacting revenues due to changes in the quality of results. Google has a monopoly and is now using its clout to force websites to design and develop the type of sites they want to see. I would love to see amazon develop a search engine purely for ecommerce sites using the same format as google and the world would see google collapse. Come on Amazon & take Google crown. That would be a little bit of sweet justice.

  • http://gastricbandfrance.co.uk Geoff Lord

    Yeah and camels can fly !! we all believe every word that Matt Cutts speaks dont we !! can we really be lead to believe that they make the changes purely to improve the user experience…So how come the “Big Boys” always end up at the top of all the search results !! Most of the ‘Big Boys” are the worste offenders in applying “Black/Grey Hat” methods by employing teams of people to write articles and comments to pad out there websites and increase traffic….

    When the 2nd penguin update was made a few weeks ago some of the “Big Boys” sites dropped to lower results in my main Niche, However the “Big Boys” have already started to work out how to “play the system” and are rapidly re-appearing back at the top of the search results. Coincedence…I think Not.

    Geoff Lord

  • http://www.mybidmonster.co.za South Africa store

    Who are they trying to fool. They keep on doing what they are doing and their revenue continues to shoot up in geometric proportions! Give it to them that they are the largest search engine, but not in the life of any search engine has their been so much change in so little time.

    Why is Yahoo and Bing not doing the same. We are getting to the point where we see not what we want to see but what Google wants us to see. Over rocking the boat will lead to some reaction from the people in it.

  • http://town-court.com Traffic Court

    I like his suggestion about focusing on user interface. But … it’s awfully hard for some of us to figure out what would improve user experience and how to implement it.

    We spent a lot of time and money redesigning our site. Our revenue dropped, which might have been acceptable in the short run. But our pageviews per visit also dropped, which was not at all what we were shooting for. Painful experience. We went back to the old ugly design.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RankLocal Chris of Rank Local

    While the question of why these updates are made looms in this thread, I can guarantee you that the potential side effects of such updates are analyzed carefully before implementation. It’s a business and they have a fiduciary responsibility to their their shareholders that they must uphold.

    Fact is, SEO has gotten a lot tougher recently. It consumes much of one’s time to do it the right way. What no one is really talking about here is that its true side effect will be the shrinking of the SEO community. And, from what I hear through the industry grapevine, it’s working.

    And yes, they’re even manually removing sites that don’t have designs up to snuff or could be considered stagnant, even if the sites are of super high quality content. This may be why there’s so much talk from a design and usability standpoint. All of this is something to consider from a branding standpoint along with the move towards Authorship.

    Problem is, even the latest algo updates don’t take care of some of the more serious issues, most notably the constant evolution of the “Google vs. Black Hat” battle. The difficulty of obtaining rankings will indeed move some to PPC and some to other forms of website promotion, whatever those may be.

  • http://www.solutionsresource.com/ Vincent-Seattle-SEO

    Its 80% true and 20% lies, I believe Matt Cutts when he says user experience and quality content is a must for a website and one factor to increase your search ranking in organic search, but Google is a business and they want revenues in return so don’t make us stupid Matt Cutt.

  • http://KeithJamesDesigns.com Keith James

    Total BS! Don’t focus on link building? Really? Create great content but don’t worry if no one links to it? This is getting ridiculous. Every few months its a new story. What’s worse is that crappy sites like about.com still rank. We are now telling our clients not to focus on search results. It’s just to volatile. We have been pushing our efforts to display ads on hyperlocal site and completely bypassing Google PPC and PPM. I can get display ads MUCH cheaper by buying directly and they are having much better results.

  • http://come2india.org Lewis

    I will provide one example here – One of my sites under my name here is run by a team of volunteers who share a common passion – traveling in India. They seek out travel destinations, temples and churches from all over India, photograph them and write interesting titbits of information. This site was not making much of money in its 13 years of existence – just enough to cover the hosting costs. Google claims that it is improving the quality of search through these animal-named algo changes.

    Really ? All I can see now is the sites which copied our pages – verbatim and our images outrank us. This site doesn’t have any budget – so no question of soliciting paid links or other deprecated techniques. Still it is buried now. Only conclusion I can draw is – Google wants to kill off small sites to make way for profitable big corporate sites.

    Take a look at their results. It has reached nadir in terms of quality. Bing/Yahoo may not make tall claims about their quality of search results, but surely their results are a lot better than the much hyped Google.

  • TK

    One thing is confirmed, yet again. Matt Cutts is a liar and a plausible deniability expert. Make changes, take measurements, put faith in reproducible results. Everything Matt Cutts says is bound to be at best a half truth and should probably be ignored.

    After online retailers lost 80% + of their long tail search traffic to Panda their only recourse was PPC. It was brutal and many small and midsized retailers closed down. It might arguable that they even effected the unemployment rate in the retail sector. Since they have the data and write the algorithm that makes or breaks Q4 retailers I bet it also influences their corporate investing policies in the stock market.

    They are just a few more exploits away from requiring new regulatory laws. Their horrible customer service , considered nonexistant by many, is very suggestive of a hostile monopoly.

    Thats my opinion at least. I remember when Microsoft was the bad guy… I am really beginning that Google is far worse.

  • John

    It was probably a balancing act with a redistribution of revenues first lost from PPC spam sites but made up for with an increase from small businesses who got hit due to cheap SEO tactics.

    Had Google only hit real PPC spam sites revenues would have dropped. As it is it seems to have increased 20-30%.

    As it is big companies will top the rankings as they can afford an expensive SEO team. One of my friends is paid full time by a large company as well as several others for the sole purpose of tweating. Question is are these SEO tactics really natural??

  • http://www.run-it-direct.co.uk Dave

    Hahahaha, what a “great” video. Lets have a look at the facts here. First they make search terms SSL blocked in the name of “privacy”! My ass, more like so Google can see what search terms bring in the $$$.
    “We don’t want to lock users in, so we have Data Liberation.” Yep, blocking search term data was sure liberating for us all!!

    Couldn’t make this shit up.

    Next they make massive algo changes. At the same point in time many small business owners start complaining of all kinds of problems. Traffic loss, junk foreign traffic, “zombie” traffic, bounce rates through the roof. Then they make what was a FREE tool (Google Shopping) a PAID service in the name of “quality”!! BULLSHIT Matt Cutts, if I look in Google Shopping now all I see are links to eBay & Amazon!! That has really levelled the playing field & cleared up the results as you claimed was the reason to going paid hasn’t it!! Oh, & now you decide to shut down Google Checkout, I wonder why? I’ll bet my last $$ on your next move is to be just like Amazon & eBay. You & your greed driven company SUCK, a lot of people stopped believing your bullshit videos a long time ago (& quite rightly so). The only people who believe them are fan boys & share holders. You are slowly but surely KILLING the internet. RIP The Internet as we fondly remember it….

  • Disilussioned and failing business

    I find it an insult to the intelligence of existing advertisers and professional SEO companies. Google is a business. MC would be sacked if he was not improving revenue. BS through and through and adding isult to injury !!! I actaully use Bing now or Yahoo. MC you remember the phrase you scratch my back and we’ll scratch yours, not particularly transparent but that is how the worlds business operates like it or not. It is naive and amateur to think otherwise.

    Stop searching with Google, hit em where it hurts.

    • http://www.sboag.com Peter

      Google is a business indeed, and their objective is to make money.
      BUT it is wrong to make make money over the backs of people who made them big in the fist place ( you, me, small business owners and the little guy on the street).
      Their policy is a cost to society and lots of people are losing their jobs over this. The only (short term) winner is Google, and the multi million dollar companies with Huge sites like Amazon, Facebook, Ebay ect..

      You are right: people should stop using Google, ive switched to Duckduckgo myself.
      But id like to take this a step further and try to gather as many people as i can to let people know what the business ethics of Google are.

  • Disilussioned and failing business

    Oh…. plus there is one deadly thorn in the side of Google’s plans… and to the dismay and probably failure of many a small hard working professional….


  • http://www.josephlowe.co.uk Joe

    What Matt Cutts forgets is that Google wouldn’t be making all the shed loads of money it makes without ‘SEO’ companies championing it to businesses day in day out. For every client we sign up for SEO we are literally ‘selling’ the concept of ‘Google’ for Google for FREE. Perhaps it is Matt Cutts who needs THAT explaining. Keep offering your ‘Adwords’ to the ignorant and let them spend spend away…cos ‘For Google, Its Always a Sunny Sunnny Day!’

  • http://searchengine-socialmedia-optimization.blogspot.com/ Kajal

    OH!! They says ” you should focus more on design and user experience than link building and trying to please search engines”.

    Then why they have started Advertise(PPC)? Answer is simple – Every one wants to increase their business.

    The first panda & penguin was necessary because there was lot of spam in work(SEO&Developing). But Now everything is working fine no spam by SEOs and sites are updating continuously, the user experience has been increased so now they says as above!! It simple means that Google forces site owners to pay to developer & directly to Google rather to hire a SEO!!

    I think within 5yrs there will no vacancy/post for SEO in any company!!!!

  • Robert

    Back in July 2010 using Alexa I had a Traffic Rank in the US of 80,740 . I was really proud of myself
    for being to accomplish this on my own doing my own SEO, Social Media etc. I was right up there in search pages 1 – 3 for many things.

    I stayed true to my niche selling items I built myself, purchased from Whole Sellers, being a publisher for Affilates linking “ONLY” to related product of my site and exchanging/Linking to other related niche web sites.

    I had found Adwords to be a ridiculous bidding war and Adsense a good way to send my Customers off else where. Needless to say I didn’t go for any of that.

    Now I did find Google Merchant Center beneficial, a little of a pain with feed data having to be just so but hey I was getting traffic and it was FREE !

    I was doing ok too for a small one man business, made enough to cover my all overhead,material and equipment, buy beer and smokes and maybe a treat of some sort here and there.

    Then came all the google updates, penguin & Panda 2011. That was a stuggle and sales plunged. The nail in the coffin to me was when Google decided to tie The Mercant Center to Adwords. Yes, just like a “HEROIN DEALER” Google now wanted me to “PAY” for it !

    I don’t have an Alexa US Traffic Ranking any more, my World ranking is some where near the end of the numbering system and maybe I get 1 sale a month to cover web hosting.

    I’m sure you SEO guys will comment “I can get get you back up in Search yadda yadda ya.”, BS you can’t even keep up with Google so why should I waste money that I can’t afford nor even have funds for if I wanted ? Time to change it up and buy cheep crap to resell on eBay for 4 times plus !

    BTW Google sucks !

  • http://www.graciousstore.com Gracious Store

    Whatever Google’s revenue is has nothing to do with struggling webmasters. What is important is that Google makes clear its expectations from webmaster who in turn do their best to do all in their power to get traffic to their websites

  • Sammy P

    MC doesn’t see SERP messup wearing googlass.

    MC advice improve UI – use our JavaScript API, Fonts and Analytics give me gi me gi me big data…..

    G is dipping hand in Webmaster pockets too obvious. Who will win? my bet is with Webmasters they create websites and control them – not Google. We will see goog 600 soon.

  • https://www.searchen.com John Colascione

    It does sort of seem like Matt is talking about the old Google. Maybe he thinks nothing has changed and the financial end just lets him keep thinking the old way. It is actually good to keep the PR guy in the dark,.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNgFcYH7GxA Daniel

    Definitely seen a huge shift in recent times, and my own main site that has never had any issues has been totally whacked out of the search results across the board…

    Also, had my Adsense for that site disabled(got a notice) then magically re enabled, without any clear explanation why!

    All earnings for that month were scrapped across all sites(though, sites not in any way connected or related)….

    Though, for me personally it was the massive drop in my rankings that hit very suddenly, that was the biggest pain in the butt.

  • Peter

    Google has been preaching that creating high quality content that people share will be rewarded. There is no reward, there is penalty.
    The ONLY reson for these constant changes in their policy is to drive more and more webmasters into using Adwords.

    These updates do not have anything to do with quality: The Serps got worse, and the only thing that ranks is big business sites.
    Google has been hammering down on Small Business sites for years, and this is just another step against the people who made Google as big as they are now: You, Me, Small Business owners and the little man on the street.

    Google gets away with it becourse it knows the little man doesnt have a voice. Well its time to change that, and to remind Google who made them this big in first place.

    out of frustration i created a little site called Small Business Owners Against Google http://www.sboag.com If you like visit, or better contribitute. If you dont want to, sit around, complain and do nothing. If you disagree, disregard.

    Google is not cool anymore. Google is a Greedy organisation that makes money over other people’s backs.

    Google’s Strategy is a cost to society. Its time to let people know.

  • Dave

    How about stop putting the same big brands in the top spot in commerce terms… Getting tired of searing best buy, amazon, ebay, sears, etc. We listing after listing, page after page…how about bringing back some diversity, god awlful the way these serps look now…if you want to find anything worthy seems you have to go over to bing any more…or find an alternative rout.. think I’ve decreased my google use by more than 50% over the past year… Aweful..

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