I read a bunch of blogs on search engine optimization and Internet Marketing in general. You have to read and keep up with the top gurus in order to stay abreast of the latest trends and strategies required to compete and excel. Over the years though I have discovered that you also have to filter through user-generated material to weed out the good, the bad and the re-cycled. Lately it seems that a great deal of filtration is needed around the prophetic wisdom spoken by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team.
Recently I ran a test to see how many bloggers re-cycle content gathered from the often ambiguous statements Matt makes to explain certain SEO related questions like linking. I used a very unsophisticated test yet the results were quite insightful. I simply added “matt cutts” as a keyword to my Google Alerts and waited for a whole hour or less to get my first email with over nine listings referencing Matt Cutts (over the past four days, I received over 22 listings.)
The initial email occurred around the time of the SMX Advance conference in Seattle where Matt gave a keynote presentation. The presentation was fairly vague (as usual) but regardless I give credit to Matt and Google. At least they are communicating and helping the SEO industry. What was humorous though was how many listings (either from blogs, news or websites) were attempting to analyze and interpret every word Matt had spoken. After hearing the actual presentation, I was a bit confused how some listings had derived at their conclusions. Although I was reading the listings, I felt like I was watching Hardball with Chris Matthews as his panelists of political analysts were interpreting every word, action and mis-step of a political candidate. And like political candidates (most of whom are lawyers) who speak in vague sentences anyways, I find that often there is no right interpretation. The best solution is either reading/watching the original source or referencing the original work (e.g. Google Webmaster guidelines that Matt refers to often.)
Seeing the alerts and the numerous listings brings to mind Disney’s “The Lion King” video when the Hyenas are talking in a cave. One hyena says, “Musafa” and another one gets the chills. She asks, “say it again” and again the hyena says, “Musafa,” with more chills following. In the SEO world, just say, “Matt Cutts”, and you get a deluge of chills and stumbles. Like soothsayers reading the entrails to find answers behind the answers, bloggers seek to expose the next “big thing.” No doubt, its great fun, mystery and suspense. But when a whole industry tries to decipher every word (often way beyond the point of real value) it really muddies the water and confuses the subject.