SMX Advanced Q&A session with Matt Cutts from Google and Danny Sullivan

The blog article below takes a brief look at the very entertaining Q&A session between Danny Sullivan and Google’s Spam expert, Matt Cutts which took place on June 20, 2014. The first half hour of the Q&A session was spent discussing announcements from Google, the paragraphs below focus on the three main points, which were scrutinized.

Payday Loan:

A few weeks ago, the Payday Loan Algorithm was released, so it came as quite a surprise that a second part of the Payday Loan Algorithm was set to be released at any point in the last ten days of June. Matt explained that this was a necessary launch since this version is different from the previous one as it tackles different things and contains an update on queries.


MetaFilter has been a big topic of discussion with much speculation surrounding it over the last few months. Matt assured the audience and viewers that MetaFilter, was being affected by a different algorithm; not Panda or Penguin. He also clarified the misconception around Google sending spam, it was in fact sent by another site that switched the links and used a Google template.

Reconsideration Requests:

Some changes are coming along regarding Reconsideration Requests, in the past you could only receive feedback or comments once your request was selected for a ‘higher touch process’. The templates are now being revised to include an ‘open text’ area which will enable the Google Spam Analyst to leave you with comments on how to improve it as they go through your request. The rules are also being changed so that Reconsideration Requests can only be done if you have a Manual Action.

Miscellaneous Announcements:

Some of the other announcements made by Matt were about:

a) WebMaster Tools – he discussed Google Bot and the importance of enabling Javascript and CSS;
b) Robot Stat Testing;
c) No news on any Penguin Updates for the moment as the focus has been on Panda 4.0

The second half of the session was dedicated to answering questions sent in by viewers. Below is a brief summary of some of the questions asked by Danny and Matt’s answers.

Matt discussed that as their personal audience is composed predominantly of people who are already in the SEO industry, Google is working at trying to reach out to small businesses’ as they need to be better informed on what steps to take next.

One of the questions Danny asked him was to revisit the issues of Manual Action Expirations and what kind of timeframe there was for that expiration. The short answer to the question was that eventually the Manual Action will expire, however, the length of time will depend on how simple or complicated the misdeed was. Something like hidden text will have a much shorter expiration date versus an action categorized as a ‘Black Hat’ where it could take years for the manual action to expire.

Danny also brought up the issue of Author Rank; although, Matt was unable to disclose anything more than the fact that personally he is a fan of Author Rank. Asked if sites get a boost for using a secure SSL, Matt responded that he was unable to provide much comment and that it was up to Google to decide. However, he did mention that it was better for everyone to have an encrypted website.

When asked for his thoughts on negative SEO’s, Matt responded that they are very much aware of negative SEO’s and algorithms are being designed to protect against negative SEO’s, for example, the Payday Loan algorithm released a few weeks ago which contained such protections.

An interesting observation made by Matt was that mobile traffic is increasing rapidly ad in the very near future he sees it exceeding desktop traffic. Keeping that in mind, he suggests that everyone; “Get ready for mobile…mobile is coming very quickly… please start thinking about it.”

When asked by Danny to “…summarize the future of Search in one word.” Matt (after much thought) responded by saying: “Quality, because that encompasses everything that you want.”

For SEO enthusiasts who have been wondering what’s going on in Google’s SEO world, this was an interesting and informative Q&A session and while some questions were not answered in quite as candid a manner as some may have desired, Matt nonetheless did a great job of addressing the pertinent issues as openly as he could.